The Daily Escape:
Autumn view from Lovers Leap Bridge, New Milford CT – November 2017 photo by Mike Jacquemin
The show must go on, and it did for Trump once he returned to the White House from his short stay at Walter Reed Hospital. His Evita-like photo op on the Truman Balcony was designed to show (to which demographic in America?) that his “recovery” is one for the ages, that he’s a strongman. Since he is only a few days into the course of the disease, his recovery might also be a myth.
He has now thoroughly politicized the pandemic. Before he tested positive, all of his efforts to deal with COVID looked first at the political value, before the value to the public’s health. Now he’s incorporated his illness into a mythology about COVID. From Charlie Sykes of the Bulwark:
“Last night, we got the full cinematic roll-out of “The Orange Evita,” PRODUCED, DIRECTED, AND STARRED IN by DONALD J. TRUMP.”
Sykes goes on:
“The video production of his triumphant return to the White House was quintessentially Trumpian. All the power moves: the helicopter, the music, the pageantry, the balcony, the dramatic removal of the mask — all perfectly choreographed by a man famous for his finely honed instincts for entertainment.”
And here’s what Trump said:
“I learned so much about coronavirus….And one thing that’s for certain: don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it….Don’t let it dominate you…Don’t let it take over your lives…I stood out front, I led…nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did….Now I’m better, and maybe I’m immune, I don’t know…”
He ignored that, as of Monday night, 210,117 Americans have died from COVID, none of whom received anywhere near the level of medical care that Trump did at Walter Reed.
Most of us would go through an experience like contracting COVID, and if we recovered, would think about what we learned now that we’re back to health. We’d consider ourselves fortunate. We’d also be extra cautious, having just survived an encounter with a potentially deadly virus. We’d almost certainly follow the proper precautions even if we may have previously ignored them. We’d now know that COVID is potentially deadly, and that we’re incredibly lucky to have survived it mostly intact.
But that isn’t Donald Trump showman, your president.
Trump could have shown empathy for those who have died from the virus. The NYT reports that some in the campaign thought that if Trump recovered quickly and then appeared sympathetic to the public about his own experience, he could have something of a political reset.
But instead, he channeled Evita, opting to show strength. Yet, in the video, he didn’t look strong or even all that healthy. He didn’t look robust, he looked reckless.
And then on Tuesday morning he tweeted that flu season is coming, and that the flu is more lethal than COVID, something he also said 210,000 deaths ago. BTW, Twitter has taken Trump’s tweet down as misleading.
It isn’t too soon to wonder how many more thousands will die because of Trump’s recklessness and refusal to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously.
And rather than the songs from Evita, Wrongo is reminded of this from Andrew Lloyd Webber:
Every time I look at you
I don’t understand
Why you let the things you did
Get so out of hand
You’d have managed better
If you’d had it planned