| Yesterday's coronavirus briefing from the White House was anything but a briefing. It was a pity party, a recitation of grievances, ranting and raving with a generous helping of campaign propaganda thrown in.

For most of the last few months, Trump ignored warnings about the coronavirus that were coming at him from all directions. He insisted it was no big deal, just like the seasonal flu. Most importantly, he did nothing. Did. Nothing.

As the number of confirmed cases skyrocketed and the number of deaths went from a few to hundreds to thousands, the virus could not be ignored any more. Trump finally agreed it was serious because he couldn't hold his rallies anymore. So as a substitute, the coronavirus task force began giving briefings in the White House Press room every afternoon. Except the task force, nominally led by Vice-President Mike Pence, play bit parts, only occasionally called on to say a few words about the virus and efforts to combat it. For the rest of the time, Dead Leader takes the stage for another performance of the Trump Alternate Reality Show. (Note: "Dead Leader" was actually a typo — I meant to say "Dear Leader" a la Kim Jung-Un — but I rather like it, inasmuch as Trump is dead to me.)

He lashes out at reporters. He lashes out at governors who have the temerity to suggest that everything isn't just fine and dandy. He retweets #fireFauci. Whenever anyone raises the question of why the federal government isn't taking a more forceful role at sourcing the masks, protective gear, and testing supplies that are needed across the country, Trump insists he is "not a shipping clerk." It is on the governors to take care of all that. Jared Kushner even took the podium for one fateful episode of the Alternate Reality Show to admonish everyone that the national stockpile of health supplies was for "us" not the states!

In the meantime, the economy and the stock market (those are different things, by the way) suffered a tremendous shock, and it was the economy and stock market that Trump considered his ticket to success at the polls in November. So naturally Trump wanted to "open the economy up." First by Easter, then by May 1, and he's now pushing and prodding with all his might. But he still doesn't have a plan for how to do that, or any of the requisite conditions needed to even begin, like widely available quick testing, antibody testing to see who's had the disease and may be immune, and contact tracing for those who have the disease.

In the total absence of any leadership from Washington DC, two groups of governors — one on the east coast led by Governor Cuomo of New York, one on the west coast led by Governor Gavin Newsome of California —  have organized to come up with a safe and sane plan for what to do next.

But that does not please Trump. Now that the number of new cases and deaths is starting to ease off slightly, Trump thinks he should get credit for a great victory against the virus. And he went totally off the rails at yesterday's briefing.

When leadership was needed, Trump was nowhere to be found. He was hiding behind the banner of federalism and states rights. But now that there's the possibility that we can get out of this calamity, and the states have begun to take the lead on that, Trump wants to be at the head of the victory parade. The man will take no responsibility for anything, but he wants credit for everything.

What a pathetic, sorry excuse for a human being.

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Last updated on Apr 17, 2020



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