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The Week Trump Got Covid-19
When Poetic Justice Makes It’s 2020 Presidential Election Appearance
I am hours from learning that the president of the United States, who has utterly botched the federal government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in nearly 7.5 million Americans infected and 212,000 dead, has contracted it. And while this is, in many delicious ways, a hilariously immaculate example of the cruel dynamics found in the universal code of karma, it is also a wonderful framing of what denying science and reality can do in the wake of unchecked hubris.
In its most brutal reading, Donald Trump deserves this. But what of the thousands he has coerced into joining his mask-less rallies, the dozens in his administration jammed on airplanes and in office meetings throughout the White House, or those at the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday, September 29, and even those whom he met with at some fundraising event in New Jersey 48 hours after he learned his top advisor, Hope Hicks had displayed symptoms and 24 hours after testing positive for the virus?
Donald Trump contracting Covid-19 is a microcosm of his damaged personality and his failed presidency. This is the silly fight over how many people were at his inauguration to his skewed interpretation of his shake-down of the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on his eventual opponent (turns out that was the right move, because that opponent is going to beat him like a rented mule in a month), which resulted in his impeachment.
Trump has lived his public life since the 1980s and ran nearly all of his businesses into the ground by ignoring the facts of situations before him. Lucky for Trump, his daddy was rich and bailed him out and then when that safety net was gone he used the fame he cultivated to sucker vendors he refused to pay and banks he would eventually defraud into working for free and granting him loans. Look at the entire pathetic history of this man and it lands you into this stirring dénouement of a Grimm fairytale.
Speaking of fairytales, I think we all learned as kids that actions have consequences. When you are rich and famous this axiom hardly applies, except this time. This is why I repeatedly mark Trump as our Game Show President. He was one, yes, but he also conducts himself and his politics, whatever the hell they may be this week, as such. The thing is this virus is not a show. It is real. And now, after months of hiding its effects and then downplaying its severity from the American people, outwardly waging a battle against scientific fact, inviting people to packed rallies to mock those who wish to stay safe, and commanding the CDC and the EPA to fudge numbers and conceal key information, ordering schools and states to reopen, endangering the elderly and our children, this old, fat, high-risk idiot has been infected.
Or is he?
Hoax? Fake news? Fraud? Fixed?
One has to wonder, considering Trump’s spectacular lying track record, if the president even has Covid-19. Anyone parsing any poll you would like to quote and after his historically abysmal debate performance this past week, has to consider if this is the best move for Trump. Like in 2016, anytime the story is about him, or he engages in the campaign or just speaks, he hurts his chances. Certainly, sending this moron onto another debate stage to bray falderal like some dumbfounded sub-mental cannot be prudent to the cause of his re-election. Similar boorish lout, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson contracted the virus in the spring and it provided a sympathy boost to his sagging approval ratings. “Contracting the virus” for the time being is the wisest strategy for Trump. The previous plan has him down eight points nationally and he now trails in Ohio, finds Iowa and Georgia in dead heats, and the entire Rust Belt abandoning him.
This latest news also best illustrates the kind of strain the Trump presidency has put on this space. On Monday, I wanted to write about Trump’s leaked tax returns and the fact that he is either a busted failure as a businessman or a shameless scofflaw. Maybe both? He pays nearly no taxes and is $420 million in debt, and I was to wonder to whom? The Russians? The Turks? What compromised position has he put American international security in by his irresponsible to criminal business practices? What favors has he granted to our enemies? That would have been a good column. Then there was the debate a day later; how pitch-perfect it was that this “clown”, as Democratic challenger Joe Biden repeatedly called him, would have to be berated by the moderator and then coddled with “You’ll be happy about this next subject,” as if he were an incorrigible six year-old wining at Disney World. I had that one teed up. But, alas, this…
Come on, admit it, who would be surprised if Trump turned into a werewolf this weekend? I have no fucking idea how to comment on this madness anymore? I was thinking merely throwing up onto the keyboard, taking a photo of it, and sending it to press. And seeing how Trump is just one big lie, who knows if this guy has a virus or this is another chance to get out of paying off hookers or clouding the ass-kicking he has coming next month? Is it just another crazy story akin to ballots with his name on it floating in some Pennsylvania river? He told reporters the other day when asked what evidence he had that Biden was on drugs, “Check the Internet.” Taking his advice, the Internet already has plenty of theories about how Trump is faking it to get out of the remaining debates and to self-quarantine to save the embarrassment of impending defeat.
You know, a lot of people say he’s faking it. Have you heard? I’m not saying he it, but some people say it.
Either way, this is what Hollywood types call a formulaic ending. This presidency and the ensuing national crisis exacerbated by a failed chief executive had to end with him struck down by the very thing he bricked.
© James Campion 10.2.20
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. +, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon” + “Accidently Like a Martyr – The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon”
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