Could Trump’s week get any worse?
Those of us old enough may remember Queen Elizabeth lamenting about her “annus horribilis” (horrible year) in 1992. Her daughter got divorced and both of her sons separated from their wives in the midst of tell all books, topless sunbathing, and her nephew’s suicide. On top of that, Windsor Castle almost burned down and it cost so much to repair that she had to start paying income tax.
President Trump is on track to match her bad year.
He is being blamed for mismanagement of a terrible virus that has swept through the population and killed over 210,000 people at a rate far higher than comparable countries.
The “perfect economy” he inherited from President Obama is in shambles as lockdowns force millions of people out of work. Factory work ground to a halt, planes stopped flying, and neighborhood restaurants became too dangerous to eat in. Those who could work from home were often hampered by children suddenly kept away from schools that were petri dishes for disease.
Things got worse as the president tried to mandate opening schools and businesses, despite what the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advised. His administration even had the CDC change or eliminate regulations they thought might hamper the reopening of the economy, like watering down “advice” for meat packing plants where workers were dropping by the thousands. They were accused of sacrificing lives to keep the stock market afloat long enough to get through the November election.
Things took a particularly bad turn the past week.
Saturday started with a crowning achievement as Trump nominated his third Supreme Court justice, the holy grail for the religious right. Unfortunately, one of the highlights of the Administration soon took a dark turn as it appeared more and more to be a super spreader event for coronavirus.
Sunday The New York Times published a review of Trump’s taxes, showing failed businesses, questionable deductions, and many years of paying little or no income tax.
Monday The New York Times published another article stating most of Trump’s businesses show big paper losses. He had been living off money made from the Apprentice TV show for years but now faces over $400 million in debt coming due.
Trump, unaware that he was possibly contagious at this point, hosted representatives of Lordstown Motors, along with two senators and three congressmen at the White House. There was also a Rose Garden event to celebrate distribution of millions of coronavirus test kits to the states which was attended by Vice President Pence and several congressmen and state officials.
Tuesday Trump, his staff, extended family and others traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, on Air Force One for the debate with Joe Biden. The Cleveland Clinic oversaw health requirements to keep everyone safe. The Trump family was seen on video wearing masks into the event but were heard refusing to put them back on during the 90 minute event.
Despite Trump tweeting he “won the debate big,”a CNBC/Change Research poll showed 29% of likely voters thought Trump won the debate, versus 53% for Biden.
Wednesday Trump traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a private fundraiser and then to Duluth for a largely maskless outdoor rally. On the trip back, Hope Hicks, his closest adviser, felt unwell and isolated herself on the plane.
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, tested positive for coronavirus.
Moderna announced that their COVID-19 vaccine won’t be ready to use until the end of November, dampening Trump’s wish to announce an available vaccine by election day.
Thursday After Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus, Trump took a small entourage to an indoor fundraiser at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, flaunting state health regulations. That night, he called in to the Sean Hannity show on Fox television and said he and the First Lady had been tested for coronavirus and were going to isolate themselves.
To make things worse, Rose Garden attendees Senator Mike Lee and John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, came up with positive tests for COVID-19.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sent a memo to employees emphasizing that the company would not bow to political pressure to bring out a vaccine before it was ready, a further blow to Trump’s campaign plan.
Friday Many hours after the test results should have been available, Trump tweeted that he and his wife tested positive for coronavirus. He received intravenous Regeneron, an experimental treatment that has shown promise but is not FDA approved.
Around 5:30 p.m. Trump went by helicopter to Walter Reed Hospital to work there for “a few days.” He received Remdesivir, another experimental drug.
Thom Tillis became the second member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to test positive for COVID-19, throwing doubt into the confirmation timeline for potential justice Amy Coney Barrett. Current and former campaign managers Bill Stepian and Kellyanne Conway also reported positive test results, along with several White House journalists.
Saturday Ron Johnson, head of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and a close political ally of Trump’s, tested positive for coronavirus. Having three Senators out of commission narrows the Republican Senate majority and may compromise their ability to get bills passed or nominees confirmed if they don’t recover quickly.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, one of Trump’s debate coaches, also tested positive.
The only bright spot is that the Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, and her husband had the virus a few months ago and recovered, so possibly have some immunity.
Trump will remain in the fortress of Walter Reed for the time being. He may come out of this with a new understanding of what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Hopefully being president isn’t part of that. I hope he recovers, but the American people have suffered enough of his corruption and mismanagement. I’m sure there’s a golf course calling his name.