Let the Masquerade Begin Edition
APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
FiveThirtyEight Poll: 40.2% — same as last week
Rasmussen Poll: 49% — up from 45% last week
ABC News/Washington Post Poll, 7/19/20: For president — 55% for Biden, 40% for Trump
Welcome to Trumplandia, a place where with a bit of wit and snark, we keep the world caught up on all of the tasty Nuggets-O-Trump you may have heard about, but were too busy to care. Because most of this minutia occurs just below the massive headlines about the POTUS, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.
So just like the president, we start it all with a little tweet like this:
Hiding Behind a Mask
The week of our Trump — July 18, 2020: It only took five months, but U.S. President Donald J. Trump has finally admitted what the world already knew, that not only do face masks save lives, but they’re also kind of cool to wear in the middle of a growing pandemic.
Tragically late, Trump finally realized that coronavirus, the illness formerly known as the “Democrat Hoax,” was not only killing off his supporters in red states like: Florida, Texas, Arizona and Kentucky, but it was also murdering his chance at smooth re-election in November.
Some are hailing it as a “change in tone,” others are saying, “Trump has turned the corner.” Here at Shinbone, we see it clearly for what it is: the last gasp of a desperate man and an even more desperate Grand Ol’ Party.
Faced with the very real possibility of losing both the presidency and the Senate in one fell swoop, there has been a circling of the wagons among leading Republicans this week to get Demolition Man Donnie on message.
No one has spoken of the emergency skull session, but actions always speak louder than words and Donnie began ignoring his gut and listening to his advisers sometime between the demotion of campaign wiz Brad Parscale, the hiring of Bill Stepien, and the mysterious resurrection of his daily COVID-side chats (thank you Stephen Colbert).
On Monday, Trump released the tweet above showing him wearing a mask, which he’s only done in public twice. Why that did not concern all of the anti-maskers pissing in protest in the middle of cellphone stores or marching on state capitals with guns, I don’t know, but it didn’t.
Donnie then returned to the White House press room without his medical professionals and began doing his best imitation of a president by first, almost responsibly, instructing his legions to wear masks to help stem the tide of the pandemic that he at first said would be gone by Easter.
“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,” Trump said prior to giving the directive he’s been urged to give since February. The mask-less Trump droned:
“We’re asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact, they have an effect. We need everything we can get.”
However, the kicker was the giveaway when Trump reminded his followers that he and they would fight the “China Virus” together as “one family,” and that no one cares about them like he does.
Oooh, it sure looks like someone just learned about the “is he someone who cares about me” portion of the “fake polls” he’s been losing in since Memorial Day! Since at least June, the polls show former Vice President Joe Biden handing Trump his lunch in swing state after swing state, but most resoundingly in the all-important category of compassion.
According to a June 2020 Pew Research poll, only 41 percent of those believed Trump cared about people like them, while Biden drew a much higher 54 percent. The astounding part of that June survey is that the perception that Trump cared was up one percentage point from a Washington Post Poll in March.
Could this tiny nugget mean so much that Mr. MAGA decided he had to actually speak truth to power? Of course not, but with 10,491 new infections just yesterday, California surpassed New York as the most infected state in the United States, a position the Empire State had held since the beginning of the pandemic in February.
However, Trump hates left-leaning California, so maybe it was the 385,948 COVID infections in Texas, or maybe even the 156,301 infections in Arizona. A little birdie tells me the 402,312 total infections in his new home state of Florida, the new epicenter of the worldwide outbreak, may have finally awoken Mr. Wonderful.
Overall, Trump’s America is still number one with 4.2 million infections and almost 150,000 deaths since February. Yesterday, 76,937 new infections and 1,101 deaths were reported by Worldometer, which tracks novel coronavirus cases worldwide.
Because wearing masks is thought to decrease the spread of the virus by 88 percent, you would think the practice would be applauded. But that’s only if such sound advise hadn’t been the centerpiece of a push since day one to politicize the wearing of masks.
As insulting as Trump’s contrived about-face may be to us haters, it should be even more disheartening to Trump’s legion of faithful followers. Part of the president’s allure has been imagining the billionaire reality television star as a rebellious bad-ass, who is a devoted Christian who uses Twitter as his lifeline to the “people.” His supporters don’t need him to be good guy because he’s their guy.
It is for this reason that Trump’s cultish followers should be truly upset over the last couple of days when non-cool, Republican hacks like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) obviously forced our bad-ass president to tone it down a bit and tell his people to wear a mask and social distance.
Don’t believe me?
Where is the Trumpian retort to the opening of Major League Baseball’s season with all of those “SOB’s” kneeling during the National Anthem? The guy they voted for would have addressed this right away, with some obscene reference to violent thugs, Antifa and Black Lives Matter. But two days into the season nothing from his tweeting thumbs.
In fact, on Day 2 of his COVID-side chats, Trump even canceled his coronation at the upcoming Republican National Convention, set for next month in Jacksonville, Fla. Trump moved the convention to Jacksonville in June after the original venue in North Carolina wanted it scaled back due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Citing the exploding cases in Florida as more than “embers,” and acknowledging the spread of the virus as a bona fide “flare-up,” Trump read a statement that would have us believe it was him advising his team that packing a bunch of people in a crowded arena would send the wrong message:
“There’s nothing more crowded than a convention. I think we’re setting an example by doing it.”
I’m sure the decision had nothing to do with his falling polls numbers or the plea of Sheriff Mike Williams, who worried he did not have the necessary resources in Jacksonville to keep residents safe from COVID-19 ahead of the planned convention celebration.
Before the decision, a lawsuit was expected to reach the court next week asking the RNC and the Trump Campaign to “present a comprehensive plan to avoid or minimize the nuisance” during the convention.
The move surprised Trump puppet and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who two weeks earlier assured Floridians that the massive convention in the middle of the coronavirus epicenter would be a “safe environment.”
For his loyalty, DeSantis was allowed to join Trump yesterday to watch him sign four executive orders aimed at lower prescription drug costs. Neither DeSantis or Trump wore the masks he asked people to wear just days earlier.
While Trump backed off his push for an in-person convention, he turned up the heat with the use of badge-less federal troops in military gear to quell peaceful protests for racial justice.
Dubbed “Operation Legend,” Trump announced this week he planned to send more troops into cities whether or not they asked for help from the federal government. He announced plans to send federal troops into cities like Chicago and Albuquerque, N.M., where protestors have demonstrated since the death of George Floyd on June 25.
Trump’s use of anonymous troops came to light a little over a weeks ago when a video of protestors appeared to show storm troopers shooting tear gas, rubber bullets and concussive rounds at protestors in Portland, Ore.
Additional reports showed them arresting protestors and placing them in unmarked vans before transporting them to unknown sites without telling them what crime they were being accused of committing.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear-gassed by federal officers while he talked to a crowd of protestors, who were calling for police reform. Prior to being gassed, Wheeler had spent hours speaking to demonstrators, who allegedly set bags of garbage on fire and tossed them toward the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse.
Wheeler had spoken with leadership among the demonstrators and members of Black Lives Matter in hopes of striking a dialogue:
“President Trump needs to focus on coronavirus and get his troops out of the city. My biggest fear is that somebody’s going to die. I want them to leave. This is going to come to a city near you if we don’t stop it.”
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said 100 federal investigators from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives along with 100 agents from the Department of Homeland Security are already stationed in Chicago.
The DOJ said 200 federal agents have been sent to Kansas City and others are on their way to New Mexico to suppress protests in Albuquerque. During a news conference this week, Trump said:
“This rampage of violence shocks the conscience of our nation and we will not stand by and watch it happen.”
Trump said he believes mayors like Wheeler are asking federal authorities to leave because they are frightened by the protestors.
The New York Post reported the president spoke with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on July 22 to confirm his plans to send federal agents into the city, which has experienced an uptick in violence in recent weeks. Lightfoot, who had criticized Trump’s use of heavily armed government troops in other cities, agreed to accept federal agents into Chicago to assist with existing operations.
The federal agents will work in partnership with the Chicago Police and Lightfoot’s office under the direction of U.S. Attorney John Lausch, who is a former federal prosecutor the mayor trusts.
Lausch, during a meeting this week at the White House, said the 200 federal agents will be “folded into” the current FBI, ATF, DEA and Department of Homeland Security teams that already operate in Chicago. He said the federal presence will not resemble that in Portland, and stressed that federal authorities will work with local police to stem the staggering amount of violent crime Chicago has experienced in recent weeks.
“The Mayor has made clear that if there is any deviation from what has been announced, we will pursue all available legal options to protect Chicagoans,” read a statement from Lightfoot’s office in the Chicago Sun Times.
Nothing says “F.U.” more than players from your national pastime countering your message by kneeling in homage to Black Lives Matter (BLM) and supporting the struggle against police brutality.
Players from the New York Yankees and the World Champion Washington Nationals knelt before the singing of the National Anthem when they opened their season on July 23 in the nation’s capital. Later that same night, members of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants also knelt.
For a guy like Trump, who labeled BLM a terrorist organization and who bristled against kneeling during the Anthem since it began with the NFL back when he first took office, the uniform display by baseball players had to be unsettling,
Major League Baseball debuted a ”BLM” stencil on pitchers’ mounds across the league for the opening week. Players were also allowed to wear a social justice message on their jerseys for Opening Day. “United for Change” and “BLM” are among the messages approved by MLB to support social justice.
MLB’s stance is far different from that taken by other professional sports, which have been fighting the kneeling protest started by then San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick back in 2016. The NBA, WNBA and NFL all opposed players speaking out against social injustice.
Baseball is the first professional sport to attempt to begin normal play following the outbreak of coronavirus and the death of unarmed, black motorist George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis Police officer. His death and that of others unarmed black motorists have touched off months of protests in city streets across America.
Early on Opening Day, many players and even Yankees manager Aaron Boone and Giants manager Gabe Kapler — who are not African-American — wore “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts in support of the movement.
An additional slap in Trump’s face came from silenced director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, who delivered the ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Obviously utilizing the extra time he has had over the last few weeks, Fauci was cheered and threw a less-than-perfect pitch to start the 2020 baseball season.
The Nationals said Fauci was selected for the honor because he has been a true champion during the fight against COVID-19 and throughout his medical career.
Although seemingly benched by Trump as a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Fauci’s appearance on the mound come amid a sharp increase in the spread of the virus throughout the country.
Meanwhile, Trump held a separate event celebrating MLB’s Opening Day on the White House lawn.
Booed during his last visit to Nationals Park, during Game 5 of last year’s World Series, Trump held an awkward opening day celebration of his own on the White House lawn with Little Leaguers while playing soft toss with Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera.
Trump said he was excited about bringing baseball back in his push to reopen the country despite the continuing spread of COVID-19. He said he was enthused to watch the Yankees vs. Nationals game later that day.
He said he hopes for no protests on Aug. 15, when he is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium prior to a contest against the Boston Red Sox. He not surprisingly criticized the protests before the National’s game during a Thursday night appearance on the “Sean Hannity Show” aired after the Nationals-Yankees game had begun:
“It’s great that baseball is back, and other sports are back. I hope everyone’s standing. I hope they’re not going to be kneeling when the flag is raised. I don’t like to see that. That would hurt a lot of people in our country. They don’t want to see that with the NFL, or baseball, or basketball, or anything else. There are plenty of places you can protest. You don’t have to protest on the raising of our flag.”