Last week, we were treated to the latest installment in a series that we might call, The Emperor’s New Tone. Periodically, members of the elite political press will convince themselves that this is the day Donald Trump truly became president, or whatever, based on some anonymous quotes from Senior White House Officials claiming the president has now adopted a serious face while people try to brief him. (Even in these delusional exercises, no one dares suggest he actually reads his briefing reports.) Sometimes, he’ll read from the TelePrompter with minimal ad-libbing, prompting cheers like it’s V-E Day. At root, these declarations of presidential transformation may be based on the inextinguishable desire on the part of many covering this national trainwreck to believe this guy can be a normal president, one you can safely leave alone for a few hours to attend a dinner party.
Unfortunately, even the dinner parties are cancelled these days, a situation so desperate it prompted the political director of ABC News, Rick Klein, to pen some fanfic last Tuesday about how “the president is displaying a new tone and a new level of engagement” when it comes to responding to the pandemic. Never mind that “tone” says little about what the president is actually doing, and that “engaging” with a global fiasco is a fairly minimal requirement for an American president. Longtime viewers of our politics may remember a few other times members of the Objective Journalist Club declared the emperor had acquired a new tone. Here are some on the coronavirus alone.
On March 16, Politico announced that, “A chastened Trump presents a newly somber tone.”
On March 17, CNN explored “what drove Trump’s newfound somber tone on coronavirus.”
On April 1, Weijia Jiang of CBS News found Trump had changed his tone to a more somber one, saying “he could not have been more blunt.”
On July 2, the BBC heralded a Change of Tone as it reported Trump had declared he was “all for masks.”
The bare fact of the matter, however, is that the national government of the United States has essentially given up trying to fight the pandemic and nearly 150,000 Americans are dead. We’ve had a quarter of the world’s cases across 4.2 percent of its population, and 23 percent of the deaths. And yet, because the president started out saying that the virus would just go away, and cases would magically go from 15 to zero—there have now been nearly 4.4 million—anytime he acknowledges that this is a real problem, the press throws him a party. Maybe they’re desperate to escape the feeling they’ve been reassigned to cover the WWE. But all the tone in the world won’t erase that the president has called for testing to be slowed down because it causes you to have more cases, a spasm of such grotesque stupidity and anti-empiricism from the national leader that it’s a wonder any of us are still alive.
And of course, he had to reward all these well-wishers in the Fake News Media by going stark-raving mad in public within a week of their New Tone proclamations. Just this morning, the President of the United States shared a tweet declaring a coronavirus cure had been found, one which was so blatantly false that Twitter took it down. “You don’t need a mask,” said Stella Immanuel, one of the doctors featured in the video, which Facebook also removed on the basis it was misinformation. The Daily Beast reports Immanuel “has become a star on the right-wing internet” for pushing hydroxychloroquine, the president’s zombie cure which the FDA has found is not effective in treating COVID-19. This, despite the fact Immanuel has also claimed certain gynecological problems are caused by people having sex with demons and witches in their dreams, and that the government is run in part by “reptilians” and alien life forms.
This is where we’re at now. When he’s not pushing misinformation about the pandemic he has completely failed to combat, the president is hocking the latest weighty tome with his son’s name on the cover and complaining that it’s “so disgusting to watch Twitter’s so-called ‘Trending’, where sooo many trends are about me, and never a good one. They look for anything they can find, make it as bad as possible, and blow it up, trying to make it trend. Really ridiculous, illegal, and, of course, very unfair!” He shared a tweet suggesting his miracle drug “is being suppressed to keep deaths high so the economy can be shut down ahead of the election. It’s sick!” Something certainly is. Last week, the president also invited himself to throw out the first pitch at a Yankees game, reportedly out of jealousy that Dr. Anthony Fauci had done the same before a Nationals game, then backtracked. Strange, considering his storied baseball career. To supplement this, he went on an overnight Twitter spree attacking Fauci’s credibility.
It’s time to accept, maybe, that the president not only has no interest in the job, and does not just refuse to read anything, and does not merely regard himself as president only of those who voted for him, but may in fact not be all there. Joe Biden is not the same guy who shellacked Paul Ryan at a vice-presidential debate in 2012, but he’s also not a Frankenstein’s amalgamation of 40 years of conservative intellectual decline into paranoia and delusion that escaped from the lab in 2016. It seems plenty of Americans were fine with Trump’s blatant corruption and self-dealing, his conversion of foreign policy into extortion, his cronyism, his insane judicial appointments, his denial of an existential threat to human civilization, his handing over of many government departments to the industries they are nominally tasked with regulating. But now 150,000 Americans are dead and he can’t stop yelling about his beautiful boaters. One way to actually get a new tone is to get a new president.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
This commenting section is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page. You may be able to find more information on their web site.