Trump’s Contagion Road Show Heads West

It’s like a Stephen King horror novel where a nation is swept by a deadly and uncontrollable disease, sickening millions and killing over 100,000 citizens. Ignoring the advice of top infectious disease specialists who say, “Don’t go to large-scale gatherings,” a crazed president insists on holding rallies for the sole purpose of boosting his rapidly sinking chances of reelection. While recklessly ignoring precautions and exhorting his followers to do the same, he leaves not hope, but contagion and death in his path. Only it’s not a novel, it’s our reality — and now Trump’s traveling horror show heads west.

The level of dysfunction of this president and his benighted administration now borders on insanity. After an illusory “victory” over the rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus, Trump announced there was nothing left but “embers” — only to have infection rates skyrocket across the nation, hitting hard in southern and western states that ignored initial precautionary measures or decided to “reopen” prematurely.

The last thing any thinking person would do when faced with this crisis is take steps to make it worse. Yet, that’s just what’s happening as Trump seeks to halt federal funds for testing when the medical professionals are advising just the opposite, with more testing, tracking, and isolation of infected individuals. Our “extremely stable genius” in the Oval Office, however, says the more you test the more infections you find, which makes his “numbers look bad.”

When the Centers for Disease Control and Infection say the actual number of infected individuals is likely 10 times greater than estimated, what does this most historically incapable president do? He urges the Supreme Court to nullify Obamacare, denying 23 million citizens health coverage during a pandemic after millions more have already lost their employer-provided insurance. Regardless of one’s opinion on the benefits, drawbacks, or efficacy of the nation’s feeble attempt at universal health care, to destroy it completely during an uncontrollable pandemic is not leadership, it’s sheer malignant lunacy.

They say cornered animals are the most dangerous and, after a disastrous rally in Tulsa that only filled one-third of the available seats despite bragging of having issued a million tickets, now a desperate and dangerous Trump responds by taking his contagion road show to Mount Rushmore after forcing the National Park Service to allow a massive fireworks display.

Fireworks have been banned at Mt. Rushmore for 10 years due to their wildfire danger and pollution of scarce local water supplies by perchlorate — which causes endocrine and reproductive problems and is classified as a “likely human carcinogen” by the EPA. Illustrating the depth of his ignorance, Trump said “What can burn? It’s stone,” totally ignoring the surrounding dry Ponderosa pine forests that readily burn.

In the meantime, Trump’s “flying monkeys” — Kellyanne Conway, Don Jr. and industry lobbyist-turned-Interior Secretary Bernhardt — are coming to Montana to fundraise, shoot, and fish. Someone ought to tell great white hunter Don Jr. that Montanans don’t embrace unethical hunters who illegally shoot endangered species with laser night scopes as he did last year to kill a rare argali ram in Mongolia on a “hunt” that cost U.S. taxpayers $77,000.

Were this a Stephen King novel we could have some hope that, in the end, the good guys might prevail. But the horror we’re living right now is not a novel. Tragically, we have a desperate and delusional president trailing disease and death in this wake saying “I don’t take responsibility at all.” Given his actions, that seems a firm grasp of the obvious — and more’s the pity.

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

Weekend Edition
August 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Lights! Camera! Kill! Hollywood, the Pentagon and Imperial Ambitions.
Joseph Grosso
Bloody Chicken: Inside the American Poultry Industry During the Time of COVID
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: It Had to be You
Pete Dolack
Business as Usual Equals Many Extra Deaths from Global Warming
Paul Street
Whispers in the Asylum (Seven Days in August)
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Predatory Capitalism and the Nuclear Threat in the Age of Trump
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
‘Magical Thinking’ has Always Guided the US Role in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
The Politics of War: What is Israel’s Endgame in Lebanon and Syria?
Ron Jacobs
It’s a Sick Country
Eve Ottenberg
Trump’s Plan: Gut Social Security, Bankrupt the States
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Fake News
Jonathan Cook
How the Guardian Betrayed Not Only Corbyn But the Last Vestiges of British Democracy
Joseph Natoli
What Trump and the Republican Party Teach Us
Robert Fisk
Can Lebanon be Saved?
Brian Cloughley
Will Biden be Less Belligerent Than Trump?
Kenn Orphan
We Do Not Live in the World of Before
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Compromise & the Status Quo
Andrew Bacevich
Biden Wins, Then What?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Criminology of Global Warming
Michael Welton
Toppled Monuments and the Struggle For Symbolic Space
Prabir Purkayastha
Why 5G is the First Stage of a Tech War Between the U.S. and China
Daniel Beaumont
The Reign of Error
Adrian Treves – John Laundré
Science Does Not Support the Claims About Grizzly Hunting, Lethal Removal
David Rosen
A Moment of Social Crisis: Recalling the 1970s
Maximilian Werner
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Textual Manipulations in Anti-wolf Rhetoric
Pritha Chandra
Online Education and the Struggle over Disposable Time
Robert Koehler
Learning from the Hibakushas
Seth Sandronsky
Teaching in a Pandemic: an Interview With Mercedes K. Schneider
Dean Baker
Financing Drug Development: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
Greta Anderson
Blaming Mexican Wolves for Livestock Kills
Dean Baker
Rental Inflation Appears to be Slowing, Especially in High-Priced Cities
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Meaning of the Battle of Salamis
Mel Gurtov
The World Bank’s Poverty Illusion
Paul Gilk
The Great Question
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
Trump Doesn’t Want Law and Order
Martin Cherniack
Neo-conservatism: The Seductive Lure of Lying About History
James Haught
White Christian Bigotry
Nicky Reid
Pick a Cold War, Any Cold War!
George Wuerthner
Zombie Legislation: the Latest Misguided Wildfire Bill
Lee Camp
The Execution of Elephants and Americans
Christopher Brauchli
I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…
Tony McKenna
The Truth About Prince Philip
Louis Proyect
MarxMail 2.0
Sidney Miralao
Get Military Recruiters Out of Our High Schools
Jon Hochschartner
Okra of Time