Trump’s Balloon is Empty

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Six months after the beginning of the COVID pandemic and 144,000 deaths later, on Tuesday Donald Trump said at a press conference: ‘We are in the process of developing a strategy.’  It was news of the worst possible kind, because it confirmed that in spite of all his bluster about ‘doing a great job,’ his predictions that the virus would ‘just go away,’ his suggestions about various ‘medications‘ and his constant lies about the seriousness of the corona crisis the president had nothing but failure to show for.   His handlers did a relatively good job in keeping the crazy stuff off the teleprompter, although some blatant lies still remained, for instance that the US has the lowest COVID mortality rate in the world, something Trump also said in a Fox News interview on Sunday, while in reality it’s the 16th lowest and the 6th highest compared with other industrialized countries.  The president still maintained that he had done a great job at the beginning of the pandemic but acknowledged that ‘it will get worse before it gets better’ and urged Americans to wear masks.  Looking back on his presidency at Fox News he said he had been treated ‘very unfairly.’

Both the rambling Fox News interview, where Trump repeated that he may not accept the result of the November election, and the press conference, were attempts to give him an audience while his poll numbers are tanking.  Recent attempts to have the kind of mass rallies Trump thrives on failed, and it’s unlikely that any rallies will be held in the near future.  Even the Republican Party’s convention in Jacksonville is in doubt, now that the local sheriff has said that he cannot provide security.  The president chose to resume the daily pressers because 5 pm is ‘a good slot’ and they had ‘great ratings,’ but his staff remembers that his poll numbers sank with every insanity he produced, such as injecting detergents or disparaging Dr. Fauci – something Trump still did on Fox, calling Fauci ‘a bit of an alarmist’ – so it’s unclear what he can say from now on, other than reading depressing numbers or lying about them.   It is possible that Trump will use the press conferences to provide the promised details about the ‘very powerful great things’ that ‘nobody has ever thought of’ he announced a week ago, but he has probably already forgotten about that.

And while the president tries to present a more sensible version of himself, if only for one day, he continues to push policies that go straight against what the US needs and a large majority of Americans want.  In negotiations about the next corona relief bill the administration tries to reduce spending for testing and tracing, and Trump has promised to veto a military spending bill that includes the removal of the names of Confederate generals from military installations.  He also claimed as a major achievement having undermined the National Environmental Policy Act.

Trump’s racism is on full display in ads predicting that Joe Biden will desegregate white suburbs and bring blacks into the neighborhood, and he threatens to expand his ‘stormtrooper’ operation that started in Portland into large cities with Democratic mayors, first Chicago, which has a black female mayor.  The president thinks that he’ll benefit electorally from chaos in the streets and he knows that federal bullies in unmarked camouflage gear acting illegally will generate a response.

Asked about the upcoming trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, who recruited young, vulnerable girls and groomed them for sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein, Trump said ‘I wish her well,’ which sent a shock through DC and the media, and the New York Times revealed that in 2018 the president instructed his UK ambassador to ask the British Government for help in getting the Open to his Turnberry golf resort.

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