A Battle for Truth and Justice Edition
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, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our 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:
I Just Feel So Powerful
The week of our Trump — Oct. 10, 2020: Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Super Spreader!
This week, impeached President Donald Trump shed the image he donned while in the hospital for a new, reinvigorated image of the miracle man who beat COVID-19 and returned to the campaign trail to promote the spread of a global pandemic.
Trump was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Oct. 5 and jump-started his reckless talk about how the novel coronavirus has been defeated and why Americans have nothing to fear from the global contagion that is infecting people around the world.
After surviving a bout with a virus that has infected almost 40 million people worldwide, Trump spoke this week of his invincibility just 17 days before the U.S. presidential election. Deemed “no longer at risk of spreading the virus” by White House physician Dr. Sean Conley, on Oct. 11, Trump took it a step further and proclaimed himself “immune.”
Later, following a Fox News interview, he tweeted that his diagnosis meant he “can’t get it (immune) and can’t give it.” The boast was later labeled a violation of Twitter rules against the spread of “misleading and potentially harmful information on COVID-19” and was removed from that platform, but that didn’t stop the Spreader-in-Chief from continuing to spread misinformation, including his belief that he possessed a protective aura:
“I even feel good by the fact that, you know, the word ‘immunity’ means something. Having really a protective glow means something. I think it’s very important to have that. To have that is a very important thing.”
In fact, his staff had to talk him down from a nutty stunt that would have had him stride to the White House balcony on the night of his return, rip open his dress shirt and reveal a trite Superman t-shirt to showcase his invincibility.
The kitschy stunt would have been even less distasteful than the sunset appearance of the Marmalade Messiah that actually occurred when Trump emerged from his hospital bed. Rather than insult the Man of Steel, Defiant Donnie huffed and puffed his way up the stairs and then symbolically ripped the mask from his face.
As staged as the event was, The Donald still performed a reworked entrance from Marine One for a Twitter post.
The dusk appearance by Trump was only the beginning of a desperate campaign by the incumbent president to recapture the energy of his public rallies, which had been shelved due to the infection.
Feeling newly immune and invincible after ingesting a cocktail of steroids and antiviral medications available to no one else on the planet, Trump set off on an ambitious campaign rally schedule beginning in his new home state of Florida.
The world was initially aghast at the image of a crowd of several thousand people packed tightly into the Orlando Sanford International Airport, most of whom were not wearing protective masks to decrease transmission of the disease. For Trump, he was in his element and couldn’t have been happier to be among the mask-less masses:
“Now they say I’m immune. I just feel so powerful. I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women and the . . . I’ll just give you a big, fat kiss.”
The renowned germaphobe of course did not follow through on his threat, but eew! Behind in all of the national polls and many of the local ones, Trump’s self-adulation tour in states he’d won just four years ago was the beginning of an ill-advised jaunt across that country that included stops in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Georgia and North Carolina.
The mask-less super spreader events have been rejected as dangerous by most members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Still, there was Donnie and his cult-like crowd of red-hatted followers spreading droplets to each other as COVID-19 raged across the country.
The rallies openly thumbed Trump’s ruddy nose at science and the virus itself. Still infectious after leaving the hospital, Trump did not test negative for coronavirus until the morning of his Florida rally. He continued a misinformation campaign about the pandemic, often leaving a trail of pestilence in his wake.
At press time, 8.2 million Americans had been infected, with the scourge killing more than 220,000 people in about seven months.
Trump plans to visit Wisconsin today, which has been designated an official hot spot for the virus by the Department of Homeland Security, with the majority of the state’s 72 counties experiencing an uptick in COVID infections. Just yesterday, Wisconsin added another 3,800 positive infections; hospitals throughout the state are overburdened.
Surrounding states like Minnesota and Illinois also continue to show a rise in cases, as well as Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina.
Trump has long been tied to the spread of the disease in areas where he has held rallies. His Sept. 26, 2020, Rose Garden ceremony for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was linked to an outbreak in the White House that not only infected him but also roughly 40 other people.
This summer, a Trump rally in Tulsa on June 20 was also said to have contributed to a spike in coronavirus cases there.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading authority on infectious disease in America and the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, this week criticized Trump’s rallies, saying large gatherings, even in places like airplane hangars, are “ill-advised.”
Fauci, speaking on CNN, said:
“Look at it purely in the context of public health. We know that is asking for trouble when you do that. We’ve seen that when you have situations of congregant settings where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves.”
Dueling Town Halls
It was time to strike up the banjos this week when a canceled presidential debate morphed into two separate but equal televised town halls held on NBC and ABC.
The second presidential debate, planned for Miami on Oct. 15, was scrapped after the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates stated it would require a change in format to virtual instead of in-person.
The move prompted Trump to bow out, stating that despite his infectious state and the danger he would pose to others, he would not participate in the debate with Biden unless it was in person.
Shortly thereafter, Biden secured the Oct. 15 date for a town hall of his own with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News as moderator, with a small studio audience in Philadelphia. Team Trump countered and set up a similar television event on NBC at the same time, moderated by news anchor Savannah Guthrie in front of a small studio audience in Miami.
Both events drew large viewing audiences and highlighted the starkly different views of both candidates.
Trump hailed the job he’s done since taking over the White House in 2017, despite the deaths of more than 220,000 Americans to COVID-19. He also failed to denounce the tacitly untrue claims of QAnon and its followers who spread lies that many top Democrats belong to a child-sex cult.
Guthrie was seen as contentious during her time with Trump as he tried to continue his bullying style while trying to evade direct questions posed to him. Trump said he had no problem with people wearing masks but continued to openly back his supporters who refuse to wear them.
As expected, Trump largely whined about being asked tough questions about the issues and spent much of the event on the defensive.
Tim Murtaugh, campaign communications director for Trump, said of the event:
“Even though the commission canceled the in-person debate that could have happened tonight, one occurred anyway, and President Trump soundly defeated NBC’s Savannah Guthrie in her role as debate opponent and Joe Biden surrogate.“
Meanwhile, Biden continued to attack Trump’s failed response to the pandemic and his lack of leadership during the crisis. He said setting a national standard earlier in the pandemic — including urging his followers to wear masks while in public — would have profoundly affected the rate of infection.
“He missed enormous opportunities and kept saying things that weren’t true.”
Biden appeared to outduel the former reality television star, according to ratings group Nielsen. Trump, who could be found on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC, attracted roughly 13.1 million viewers. Despite appearing only on ABC, Biden attracted 13.9 million viewers. Both candidates are still scheduled to participate in a debate in Nashville, Tenn. on Oct. 22, 2020.
Trump Family Ties
Marking the end of a two-week period where the First Lady of the United States, the POTUS and the couple’s son, Barron, all contracted COVID-19, the Trump family still spread throughout this week’s news cycle like a, umm, disease.
Trump and his family members fanned out in battleground states in the hope of gaining votes for the president, who trails Biden in most polls.
The week started with a disclosure from First Lady Melania Trump about her condition in the wake of her own COVID-19 infection. Not flown to Walter Reed for treatment or knowingly given a cocktail of experimental meds, the FLOTUS spent her quarantine in the White House.
In contrast to her husband’s arrogant response to COVID, Mrs. Trump issued a statement during her quarantine mandating the wearing of masks and PPE around President Trump during the outbreak and calling for a safer environment for White House staff.
Released from the Office of the First Lady, the Oct. 6 statement said the health and safety of the staff “is of the utmost importance to the First Family.”
According to the statement, White House staff was reduced and teleworking was encouraged. The statement also pointed to the installation of additional sanitation and filtration systems throughout the executive mansion:
“In the beginning of April, all Residence staff were required to wear masks at all times. Residence staff in direct contact with the First Family are tested daily, with support staff tested every 48 hours.”
Deemed healthy and non-infectious, Melania disclosed that her 14-year-old son, Barron, was also infected seemingly from his parents or the Rose Garden super spreader event.
Although Mrs. Trump said Barron was largely asymptomatic, mention of the seldom-seen teenage Trump and his positive COVID-19 diagnosis was news. He joined his parents, White House aide Hope Hicks, confidential aide Stephen Miller, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and others close to the president who were infected with COVID-19 during the West Wing outbreak.
On Sunday, prior to her father’s first rally after contracting the disease, First Daughter/Wife Ivanka Trump attended a campaign event in Arizona where she touted the improved health of Daddy, but also suggested a COVID-19 vaccine was near completion.
Held outdoors at the Mountain Shadows Resort in Scottsdale, attendees were again not properly socially distanced but were mostly masked. Ivanka told audience members — without proof — that the vaccine was coming “very quickly.”
The daughter/wife was quick with her attempt to allay fears that a theoretical vaccine would be rushed for political purposes:
“If anyone has any doubt, I’ll be the first in line. I know the rigorous standards that went into this.”
Even Tiffany, the daughter of the president’s second wife, Marla Maples, made an appearance.
The 27-year-old youngest daughter of the President was first heckled online for celebrating her birthday at several Miami hot spots without social distancing or wearing a mask,
She later suffered another profound indignity when half-sister and daughter/wife Ivanka tweeted a birthday wish her way, but tagged the wrong Tiffany Trump on Twitter. Depicted holding a very young Tiffany in her post, Ivanka evidently used the wrong Twitter address.