Tuesday, August 18, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He repeatedly attacked Michelle Obama, as only he can.

At last night's all-virtual Democratic National Convention, former First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech. For most of it, she didn't mention Trump's name—but when she did, it was to say that he'd proven that he wasn't up to the job. Echoing Trump's now-infamous dismissal of the COVID-19 death toll, Obama said of Trump's presidency: "It is what it is."

Trump, clearly outraged, responded in a lengthy Twitter tirade with even more than his normal vitriol when publicly challenged by a woman or person of color

Still fuming when addressing reporters later in the day, Trump fixated on the fact that Obama's speech—like many in the tightly scripted virtual convention—was pre-recorded. Bizarrely, he "proved" this by pointing out that she had under-reported the number of people who had died of COVID-19. 
In her speech, Obama referred to "more than 150,000" Americans having died from the coronavirus on Trump's watch. That's not inaccurate, but she could have quoted a much higher number. As of earlier today, that figure was just over 174,000. The reported death toll rose above 150,000 on July 25, and past 160,000 on August 4. 

In other words, in his eagerness to criticize a woman who had pointed out his failure to respond to a crisis that had killed 150,000 Americans, Trump called attention to the fact that it's killed 24,000 more people than that.

Why should I care about this?

  • It's bad if presidents can't control their temper.
  • Americans dying during a disease outbreak should be a higher priority for a president than grading political speech techniques.
  • People who don't have a problem with women or people of color don't get especially angry when challenged by them.