Trumplandia: July 25 — Aug. 1, 2020

Aaah, Shut Up Already Edition

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APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
FiveThirtyEight Poll: 41.2% — up from 40.2% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 50% — up from 49% last week

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 Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make  more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.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:

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White Noise

The week of our Trump — July 25, 2020: When we encounter ceaseless talkers, the ones who talk so much they lose relevance,  at some point you simply just stop listening to their endless chatter, which becomes the white noise in the background of your work day.

Such is true for our favorite tweeting Twitter twit, Donald Trump. But in a twist of irony, the narrative this week was set by entities who quieted all things Trump.

Confronted with novel coronavirus cases that increased to an estimated 4.7 million across the country, the worst GNP collapse in modern history, an election he is losing and the prospect that schools cannot open in the coming weeks, Trump just kept on talking and talking and talking.

Rarely seen in the protective mask he told his followers to wear just last week, Donnie Dimwit returned to the podium in the White House Press Briefing Room and jump-started his 5 o’clock follies with the illusion that he was presenting updates on the spread of the virus.

When he wasn’t running away from reporters, Trump focused his briefings on accentuating the positive he finds in the surging pandemic. Death rates are expected to decrease despite what has been a 6 percent rise in fatalities in recent weeks that has deaths increasing from roughly 127,000 at the end of June to an estimated 156,000 at press time.

Despite his perceived awesome job stemming the virus, Trump’s bullshit was finally stopped in its tracks by the irrefutable death of 2012 GOP presidential hopeful and fellow billionaire Herman Cain on July 30. Cain, a supporter of Trump’s anti-mask campaign, had been hospitalized since July 1 with COVID-19, after attending the president’s ill-fated campaign rally on June 20 in Tulsa, Okla.

Maskless at the Tulsa event, the death of the 74-year-old business-man was confirmed on his Facebook page by staffers.

Whatever doubt might have existed about whether he died from COVID was suspended by Trump at the Thursday evening briefing where he described his friend as a very special person:

“I got to know him very well. And unfortunately, he passed away from a thing called the China virus.”

Cain’s death was announced on the same day the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was laid to rest during a ceremony at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church that was attended by former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama . . . but not Trump.

Cain posted the tweet seen above just two days after he announced his hospitalization in support of Trump’s maskless July 3 event at the foot of Mount Rushmore. Cain did not attend and was hospitalized for the Independence Day celebration, but the tweet was removed from his account shortly after his death.

Cain’s passing highlighted another week where COVID infections increased exponentially in the hot spots of Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. Overall, infections in America rose from 4.2 million last week to 4.7 million yesterday.

When the week began, rather than unveil a plan to stem the rise in cases, Trump again focused on reopening schools in coming weeks and support for a group of doctors backed by conservative Tea Party Patriots for their touting of hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment for coronavirus.

The group, America’s Frontline Doctors, live-streamed a press conference on July 27 where members, dressed in white lab coats gathered on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to tout use of the malaria drug to treat coronavirus, a practice that has been repeatedly panned by most of the medical community but has been promoted by Trump and fringe members of the medical community.

Dubbed as the “White Coat Summit,” the media event was carried by Breitbart.com. The event and the subsequent social media post was shared by Donald Trump, Jr. and then retweeted by the president, who commented, “Must see.”

Twitter removed the video and placed Trump, Jr. in the Twitter Pokey for 12 hours, accusing him of spreading misinformation about hydroxychloroquine. Twitter said Trump Jr. was in “temporary lockout”  until the post was deleted. President Trump’s tweet was also later taken down from Twitter. Facebook and YouTube also removed the video.

A Twitter spokesperson told ABC News:

“Tweets with the video are in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy. We are taking action in line with our policy. We are continuing to take action on new and existing tweets with the video.”

Dr. Simone Gold, whose Twitter account lists her as both a doctor and a lawyer from California, took the lead during the event. Days later, she would meet with Vice President Mike Pence about doctors being able to prescribe the malaria drug for coronavirus without obstruction.

However, it was her colleague. Dr. Stella Immanuel, who seemed to get most of the media attention. Immanuel, a doctor from Houston, said she has successfully used the unproven and sometimes dangerous drug to treat more than 350 patients sickened by COVID.

Immanuel, who is also a priest, drew greater headlines after the video was removed due to her alleged belief that protective masks do not work, along with other beliefs like “alien DNA” and the physical effects of encounters with incubus and succubus demons. Immanuel also called Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, a liar for not advocating use of the drug.

Immanuel also threatened Facebook and Twitter for removing the video and her page. She said that if her Facebook page is not returned, the entire social media platform will be brought down.

The action roiled Don Jr., who went on the Fox circuit and told anyone who would listen that he was done wrong.

It also angered the president, who signed an executive order directing the Department of Commerce to file a petition to clarify the scope of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The July 29 executive order looks to limit social media companies from participating in “politically biased censorship.”

President Trump was pressed about the retweet during his briefing the day before Trump signed the executive order. After two questions from CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins on why he would promote the views of doctors like Immanuel, he gave one brief answer and then abruptly concluded the press conference.

Trump said of Immanuel:

“I can tell you this, she was on air with many other doctors. They were big fans of hydroxychloroquine. And I thought she was very impressive in the sense that where she came . . . I don’t know what country she comes from, but she’s said that she’s and tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. And I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her.”

Damn Yankees!

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During a week where Trump’s lies and half-truths were again on parade, our narcissist-in-chief could not hide his jealousy over Fauci, which drove him to tell a whopper that miffed many diehard baseball fans.

In what used to be adoringly called “bluster” during the early months of his presidency, Trump casually tossed out a softball of a fib shortly after Fauci kicked off baseball’s opening day in the nation’s capital last week by throwing out the first pitch.

During his coronavirus task force briefing last week, Trump said he was also asked to toss out a ceremonial first pitch for the New York Yankees on Aug. 15 by his friend Randy Levine, who is president of the Bronx-based ball club.

But The New York Times reported earlier this week that Trump’s claim was completely fabricated.

According to The Times, the president was so annoyed after seeing all of the attention Fauci received for his first pitch that he got jealous and wanted to have a first pitch of his own. Trump allegedly told his aides to schedule him for the first pitch of the Yankees game in August, but announced he had been penciled into the lineup on without first checking with Bronx Bombers.

The Times reported that Levine had extended the invitation to Trump in the past, but nothing had been formally been arranged this season.

Trump’s aides were said to have prematurely told the president he was booked for Aug. 15, which then caused Donnie Baseball to cancel the invitation that never was via Twitter.

The fictitious first pitch got the attention of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. who slammed the alleged invitation by the Yanks.

Diaz, who was interviewed a day after Trump told his whopper, said if the Yankees allow the racist Trump to throw out a pitch at Yankee Stadium it would be hypocrisy by an organization that has said it supports Black Lives Matter:

“By inviting President Trump to throw out the first pitch, they are blatantly demonstrating that their pronouncement are cynical and devoid of genuine meaning. Perhaps, in fact, the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ should now also be painted on the street outside of Yankee Stadium, the same as Trump Tower.”

The slogan was painted in front of Manhattan’s Trump Tower weeks ago by Mayor Bill DeBlasio and the men who were falsely convicted of taking part in the rape of a jogger in Central Park. The five men, who were exonerated and released from prison, were slandered by Trump in the 1980s around the time of their arrest. Trump, who called for the death penalty for the men, has never apologized for his statements. He has recently said that BLM should be categorized as a terrorist organization.

Keep My Name Out of Your Mouth

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The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute shocked the political world this week when it requested that the Republican National Committee (RNC) stop selling coins featuring the 40th president’s likeness for the benefit of current White House occupant Donald J. Trump.

The RNC sold the coins as part of a fund-raiser for Trump’s re-election by asking donors for $45 or more for a set of commemorative coins featuring Trump and Reagan. The display included a photo of the two presidents shaking hands during a White House reception attended by Trump in 1987.

After learning of the fund-raiser, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, which also runs the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, called the RNC and demand the RNC stop selling the coins, saying the RNC and Trump never asked for permission.

Reagan Foundation chief marketing officer Melissa Gilbert said:

“The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute owns the name, image and likeness of President Reagan and the RNC used his image for the coin without our consent. We called the RNC and asked them to cease and desist the use of President Reagan on the coin and they agreed.”

The RNC said the request was surprising given it has used the likeness of the 40th president when it held “Reagan Dinners” in the past. RNC communication director Michael Ahrens said the Foundation recently hosted the Trump family to raise money for organization and had not complained about using the image then. He said the rebuke by the foundation was “disgraceful,” and a “weaponization of his (Reagan’s) foundation to attack President Trump and the Republican Party.”

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel took to Twitter and asked whether the foundation planned to return the money it had raised as a result of a book signing it held on behalf of Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, last November.

Never one to miss an opportunity to be petty, Trump chalked the entire incident up to his ongoing beef with the Washington Post and its owner, Jeff Bezos. Frederick Ryan is publisher and chief executive of the Post and also chairs the Reagan foundation board. On July 26, Trump tweeted: “So the Washington Post is running the Reagan Foundation.”

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