Saturday, October 3, 2020

Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming

EARLY VOTING WILL BEGIN ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 5 IN THESE STATES: California, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Carolina

What did Donald Trump do today?

He talked about how "responsibly" he'd handled COVID-19, from his hospital bed.

It was almost impossible to learn anything concrete about Trump's health today from the White House. Various officials and doctors acknowledged that Trump's condition on Friday was much worse than originally reported: he had a 103° fever and needed supplemental oxygen. Under these circumstances, there appears to have been nothing "precautionary" about Trump's hospitalization—although the fact that he has been on two experimental treatments not available to the public was a clue. Mark Meadows, Trump's latest chief of staff, told reporters this afternoon that Trump's "vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,” adding, "We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery." But other officials, including Trump himself, tried to paint a rosier picture in which his hospitalization was merely a formality.

Trump's doctors, trying to pick their way through a careful minefield of admissions and forbidden topics, added to the confusion. They gave a revised timeline in which Trump's diagnosis and treatment started much earlier than previously admitted, and then created more confusion with an error-riddled retraction. They also left out critical details which—if they had been good news—almost certainly would have been front and center. For example, they mentioned good results on ultrasounds of his heart, but avoided any mention of the much more important CT scans of Trump's lungs which must have been performed. Those scans would reveal if Trump had developed pneumonia, and if so, it would be politically awkward. It was four years ago Friday that Trump mercilessly mocked Hillary Clinton for an October bout of pneumonia, saying it showed she was too frail for the presidency

What is known for sure that Trump spoke today with fixer Rudy Giuliani, and dictated a statement for Giuliani to release in which he argued that he "had to confront [the virus], so the American people stopped being afraid of it, so we could deal with it responsibly." He also claimed that "fatality rates" were down from the very first weeks of the outbreak, which is true everywhere in the world.

Not being "afraid" of the virus, or in any event not doing anything to avoid it, is why Trump is in the hospital. It now seems likely that he, along with a healthy chunk of the Republican Party elite, reporters, and White House staffers, contracted the virus at a celebration of his nomination of a judge to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Most attendees were unmasked and in close contact, both indoors and out.

As far as Trump's "responsibility" for "confronting" the outbreak, he has been explicitly denying it's his job to "deal with it" since March 13. The United States, which has 4% of the world's population, has suffered 21% of its deaths from COVID.

Why should I care about this?

  • Presidents too cowardly to make difficult and potentially unpopular decisions in a crisis shouldn't talk about people being "afraid."
  • If you can't acknowledge a problem exists even after it is threatening your life, you aren't going to be able to solve it.