Trumplandia: September 5 — 12, 2020

On the Down Low Edition

APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
FiveThirtyEight Poll: 42.5% — up from 42.1% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 48% — up from 46% last week

USC Dornsife President Poll, 9/10/20: Biden 52% / Trump 41%

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 Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.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

Downplaying a Disaster

The week of our Trump — Sept. 5, 2020: With a little more than 50 days before the U.S. presidential election, another vicious body blow was dealt to the re-election efforts of Donald Trump this week by his favorite foil, the free press.

For the second consecutive week, members of the “lame stream media” gave Trump a gut punch when veteran Washington Post journalist and Nixon media assassin Bob Woodward revealed his latest book that chronicles how the president not only botched the response to the spread of COVID-19, but how he knowingly downplayed and lied to the American public every step of the way.

The book, titled “Rage,” features 18 interviews Woodward conducted with Trump beginning in January and ending in July. In his own words, Trump states how he was warned about the coming pandemic and how he knew it was more deadly than the flu and not a Democratic hoax.

However, despite knowledge of the spreading threat, Trump chose to downplay and minimize the lethal nature of the virus at every turn, a strategy he believed would save Americans from panicking. In the end, the flawed approach and lack of a national strategy allowed people to recklessly congregate in large numbers and become sickened in large swatches.

Today, the United States has lost more than 197,000 people to COVID-19 in just six month and leads the world with 6.6 million cases recorded. Another 38,000 cases were recorded just yesterday.

Despite comprising only 4 percent of the world population, the United States accounts for almost a quarter of all COVID-19 infections in the world and almost 20 percent of all coronavirus deaths.

In the end, Trump’s response to the pandemic underscores the millions of unemployed and dramatic lifestyle changes that have caused many Americans to shelter in place this year and boils it down to a single point: Trump’s seemingly laissez-faire reaction to the virus was not blind ignorance, it was a calculated strategy to downplay the threat in the hope that it would magically go away.

More damning than the book, which has caused Trump to admit he misled America on coronavirus, were the leaked tapes from Woodard’s numerous telephone conversations with Trump.

While Trump was praising China’s President Xi Jinping in early February for his handling of the virus and praising himself for shutting down China’s access to America a month before, he was also admitting to Woodward the virus was tricky and not so easily contained. At the time, many of Americans wondered how they could contract the virus and chose to hunker down out of extreme caution.

In those early days, Trump knew COVID was more virulent than he was admitting publicly and that droplets of the disease could easily spread through the air in large gatherings of people. Despite knowing this, Trump chose to urge Americans to continue congregating with no social distancing and no facial coverings.

On one recording Trump says:

“It’s a very tricky situation. It goes through the air, Bob. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

On Woodward’s tapes, Trump admitted he knowingly downplayed the effects:

“I wanted to. I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

“I’m the leader of the country. I can’t be jumping up and down and scaring people. I don’t want to scare people. I want people not to panic, and that’s exactly what I did.”

In interviews about the Woodward book, Trump has continued to defend the lies, which he says are part of his duty of being a “cheerleader” for the country. During the week, Trump grew angry at reporters who questioned his approach, and in one case during a White House press conference, called questioning his use of lies to downplay the effects of the virus “a disgrace.”

The combination of Trump’s belief in lies about the virus and his insistence that the infection is behind us has continued to shape how Americans approach coronavirus. Trump has continued to not wear a protective mask in public, promotes large scales gatherings with no social distancing, and pushes for schools to open, and for life to return to normal, including sporting events with large crowds.

This week, the president held a large re-election rally in a Michigan airport hangar that drew a few thousand attendees, most of whom followed the lead of the president and did not wear facial coverings or practice social distancing.

Following an assertion from Trump on Sept. 10, that claimed the country has “rounded the final turn (on coronavirus),” deaths climbed towards 200,000.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted yesterday that at our current clip, the U.S. could post as many as 217,000 deaths from coronavirus by Oct. 3, 2020. The agency said, “of course these projections might turn out much lower with nationwide mask-wearing and adherence to other safety protocols.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is concerned the pandemic could worsen if Americans are not more careful. He suggested cooler temperatures and the upcoming flu season could heighten the crisis.

Fauci said:

“When you have a baseline of infections that are 40,000 a day and you have threats of increased test positivity in certain regions . . . what we don’t want to see is going into the fall season, you don’t want to start off already with a baseline that’s so high.”

The lead member the White House coronavirus task force said he was concerned about large open air rallies like that held by Trump in Michigan. Fauci said despite being held outside, gatherings without masks increase the risk of respiratory transmission:

“Just because you’re outdoors doesn’t mean you’re protected, particularly if you’re in a crowd and you’re not wearing masks.”

Trump rolled out plans for a similar rally near McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas The initial event was canceled because the gathering was found to violate Nevada’s restrictions that ban gatherings of more than 50 people. However, last night Trump announced the rescheduled rally and moved it from a public venue.

 

Called the “Great American Comeback Event,” Trump will hold his rally tomorrow at Xtreme Manufacturing in Henderson, Nev. Those attending must first register and agree to a waiver that they know they can contract the virus but cannot sue the president or the company hosting the event.

The waiver forces attendees to acknowledge:

“. . . that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present in attending the event, you and any guest voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, and waive, release and discharge Donald J. Trump for President Inc.; the host venue or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors , or volunteers from any and all liability under any theory, whether in negligence or otherwise for any illness or injury.”

Water Ship Down!

Like turds floating downstream toward a water treatment facility, hundreds of Trump supporters this summer have taken to their local waterways to show support for the 45th President of the United States.

Starting in June, there has been several successful flotillas for Trump including: “TrumpStock,” an armada of small boats assembled off the coast of Long Island, and the “The Trump Law and Order Parade” last weekend off the coast of Toms River, N.J., where an estimated 2,000 boats bobbed along supporting Agent Orange.

Then there was the Aug. 19 flotilla off Florida’s Clearwater Beach, where 1,200 boats and watercraft may have qualified for the Guinness World Record as the largest boat parade to travel through the Pinellas Intracoastal Waterway.

However, all good things must come to an end, and such was the case near Austin, Texas, where several participants in another Trump boat parade got that sinking feeling during their procession on Lake Travis.

 

Boaters ran into trouble around 1 p.m. when police received several 911 calls from participants who were in distress, their boats sinking.

The event, which was expected to attract at least 2,000, was said to have drawn a larger response from boaters looking the make America great again. Event organizers encouraged people with boats of all sizes and shapes to join the parade. According to the New York Times, at least four watercraft sank during the pro-Trump flotilla.

Not too Nobel

What do you call someone who has openly desecrated the memory of fallen war heroes and anyone unfortunate enough to be drafted into war?

How about a national leader who continues to dismiss the deaths of almost 200,000 Americans, as well as the almost 40,000 who got infected yesterday and admits to misleading the nation on the severity of the COVID-19 crisis?

Nobel Laureate?

Such could come the way of Trump, who was twice nominated for the coveted award this week.

Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of Norway’s right-wing populist Progress Party, said Orange Julius Caesar should be considered for the prize due to his “work” forging a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, which could set the Middle East on a new path to peace.

Tybring-Gjedde was also one of two Norwegian lawmakers to nominate Trump for the prize back in 2018 for what proved to be his worthless efforts to bring peace to Korea.

This time around, Tybring-Gjedde’s nomination focused on the agreement between Israel and the UAE that will “suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in Trump’s Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” according to a joint statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.

Called “The Abraham Accord,” a White House statement said the agreement will open up the possibility of investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy healthcare, culture, the environment and other areas.

In addition, the White House announced Bahrain would normalize relations with Israel and sign a treaty.

The agreement has left the Palestinians who share the region with Israel again feeling betrayed by the United States, Israel and the UAE. The treaty by the Arabs with Israel bucks what has been a tradition in the region that requires the neighboring countries of Israel and Palestine to reach a peace agreement before any treaty is made with surrounding countries.

The Palestinian Authority condemned both the new agreement between Bahrain and Israel as well as the UAE agreement with Israel.

Ahmad Majdalani, social affairs minister for the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank called both deals “a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people.”

But Tybing-Gjedde told Fox News during an interview this week that “all efforts that lead to peace in that region should be awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize and also for Donald J. Trump.”

In its zeal to celebrate the nomination, the Trump campaign fast-tracked a Facebook ad, but in its haste, misspelled the highly respected prize as the “Noble Peace Prize.” The ad, which has since been removed, celebrated that “President Trump achieved PEACE in the MIDDLE EAST!”

Before his campaign could misspell the award again, Swedish Parliament member Magnus Jacobsson nominated Trump a second time, this time for his administration’s work to broker a peace deal between Serbia and Kosovo.

Last week, Trump hosted leaders of both nations to sign an economic normalization agreement at the White House. Serbia and Kosovo have been at war since Kosovo split from Serbia in 2008. The agreement allows Serbia to not recognize Kosovo’s independence while still engaging in “economic cooperation,” rail and transit links and the free movement and goods between the two nations.

From the Oval Office Trump crowed:

 

“When I took office, the Middle East was in a state of absolute chaos. As more countries normalize relations with Israel, which will happen quite quickly, we believe, the region will become more and more stable, secure and prosperous.”

The Nobel Committee stated that it has more than 300 candidates to consider for the Peace Prize, which is the fourth-highest number ever to be considered. Determined by a five-member Nobel Committee, which is appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, the winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize will not be announced until October of next year.

A successful nomination would place the Don of Destruction right up there with past recipients like the Red Cross, which has managed to win the coveted award three-times in its 120-year history, Henry Kissinger, Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, Mikhail Gorbachev, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, the 14th Dalai Lama, and, of course, Trump’s arch nemesis, former U.S. President Barack Obama, 

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