A bully is a coward with a fragile ego. That squarely fits President Donald Trump, who is a dangerous bully at war with common sense and reality by creating an alternative universe about everything that he can’t bend to his will. He distorts facts so cavalierly. Or as his senior counsel, Kellyanne Conway, once said, he deploys alternative facts to build his false narratives of events. In other words, he is a happy liar who no day passes that he doesn’t tell a lie.
Trump has finally met a foe he can’t bully and that is driving him crazy. The Covid-19 pandemic has scrambled his brains and got under his normally thin skin. He has not been able to talk it to irrelevance, or make it disappear as he had claimed in April. Said Trump then: “We have just 15 people (infected)… soon it will be down to zero, and the virus…. it’s like a miracle, will go away.”
The virus isn’t going away anytime soon. By Sunday, May 17, United States of America accounted for a quarter of the total global infections of 4.4 million and had recorded almost 90,000 deaths. The grim forecast is that the number of deaths will reach 100,000 by June 1. That is in just two weeks. But that figure could register much earlier, and make the 147,000 deaths expected to be reached by August seem conservative.
Which is very sad as Trump is unable to accept the reality of these gloomy numbers. He has claimed, without any evidence as usual, that the figures of infections and deaths are being exaggerated to make him look bad.
No matter what the figures are and “with or without vaccine, we’re back.”, he crowed last week. He is desperate for the economy to be re-opened as the jobless figure is now over 36 million, a historic record since the Great Depression about 100 years ago. He has ignored the warning of America’s top medical scientists and infectious diseases experts that, easing the lockdown too quickly without an extensive testing regime in place, would be disastrous. They are predicting that it could lead to another serious spike in the infection rate and overstretched the country’s already overwhelmed hospital facilities
But Trump is prizing his re-election over and above everything else, including American lives. Having based his re-election campaign strategy on the pre-pandemic booming economy, he has nothing more to sell his candidacy on. And his poll numbers, driven down by his abysmal mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis, his ignorant contortions over it and his failure to take responsibility for leading the fight against it, are making him and his advisers very nervous. Now, he’s striking out in all directions, blaming the World Health Organisarion, WHO, China and President Barack Obama for his self-inflicted plight.
During global economic and health crises, the US always led the way in rallying the world to find solutions. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did that during the HIV/Aids pandemic in the 1990s and early 2000s. While Obama did the same to help the world stop Ebola in its track before it could even develop into a pandemic.
Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ obsession, an insular, nativist and false nationalism, has made him abandon America’s global leadership, leaving a vacuum for others to fill, especially China, Russia and Germany.
With zero emotional intelligence and a complete lack of empathy, he has failed to express condolences to the families of the tens of thousands who have died. Just as he has neglected to appreciate the efforts of the frontline medical personnel, many of whom have been become victims of the pandemic. His primary, in fact only, obsession is his re-election that is making him have a dialogue with Covid-19 in his head already scrambled by the virus.
TRUMP: You’re nasty, very nasty.
VIRUS: What’s up Donald? Why are you looking so gloomy?
TRUMP: You’ve destroyed the greatest economy in the world that I built…
VIRUS: You keep saying that? Is that all you’ve got?
TRUMP: It’s going to affect my re-election. I know you’re a democrat, you’re one of them, my haters and bad people.
VIRUS: I’ve told you I’m not a democrat and I’m not a republican.
TRUMP: Are you an independent?
VIRUS: I don’t play politics and I’m not interested in your elections.
TRUMP: You can’t stop me from coming back. America is back to normal with or without a vaccine. These so-called experts are afraid of you. I’m not. You’re very bad… you can’t stop me. I’ll win again.
VIRUS: You know, I really like you, Donald. You’re my main man. While others like Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Giuseppe Conte, Xi Ziping and Shinzo Abe are fighting me, you’re creating more space for me to roam freely. That’s why I haven’t touched you. I’m in your White House. But you don’t look tasty to me.
TRUMP: Is it true that you will keep spreading and killing Americans, as Dr. Faucci and others are saying? When are you going away?
VIRUS: This is just a fore-run of my next visit and to warn you all that, we the organisms that God created are tired of the destruction humans have inflicted on the world. You keep expanding your relentless economic madness to our lands and natural habitats. You’re just a few billion. We’re trillions of zillions in different shapes and genetic makeup. And we’re coming for you. We’ll exterminate you before you wrecked the whole world with your uncontrolled development and nuclear weapons. We’ll be here after you’re gone.
TRUMP: Can we talk?
VIRUS: What do you mean?
VIRUS: I hear you’re the master of the art of the deal.
TRUMP: I’m the best. The king.
VIRUS: So what have you got?
TRUMP: How about 200,000?
VIRUS: What’s that?
TRUMP: I mean 200,000 deaths..
VIRUS: Are you kidding me? What’s wrong with you?
TRUMP: OK, 500,000..
VIRUS: You’re insulting me!
TRUMP: Let’s wrap this up. One million.
VIRUS: Now you’re talking sense. One million sounds good for now.
TRUMP: So it’s a deal?
VIRUS: Maybe. I can leave with that.
TRUMP: Do me a favour.
VIRUS: What’s that?
TRUMP: Go for the blue, not red.
VIRUS: Why blue?
TRUMP: They’re the nasty democrats and their supporters. You know, you reduce their number before November. I need to win. Red are my people, republicans.
VIRUS: Can’t do that.
VIRUS: I don’t care about colour, race and gender.
TRUMP: But I’m helping you by opening up. You should help me too.
VIRUS: You’re good for me, Donald. How is your beautiful Ivanka and her snotty husband, Jerry?
TRUMP: Don’t go near them, I’m warning you.
VIRUS: Don’t worry Donald. You’re good for me. Now that you’ve opened up America, I need to get back to work and complete my mission. Talk to you again soon.
TRUMP: You’re very nasty.
VIRUS: Yeah, just like you.
So, Trump’s Covid-19 dilemma continues. He’s growing more and more frustrated and getting nervous over his re-election prospects. He has a foe he doesn’t understand and can’t control. He has become the poster guy for bad leadership. For him, ignorance is bliss. But the pandemic is having none of his usual antics.