A Tale of Two Crises
(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
Before his departure to India Trump continued his cleansing of the security services with the removal of Deputy National Security Advisor Victoria Coates, although the White House denied that she was suspected of being ‘Anonymous.’ Devin Nunes’s henchman Kashyan Patel, who played a prominent role in smearing the Mueller probe, was hired as advisor to Richard Grenell, the new acting DNI, and ‘Johnny’ McEntee, charged with purging the administration of ‘bad people,’ is receiving help from Clarence Thomas’s wife Ginni, one of the leaders of the ultra-conservative ‘Groundswell’ group. The NSC process has already degenerated to the point where NSA Robert O’Brien reads the president’s tweets aloud at the beginning of meetings, so that the council’s advice can be tailored to what Trump wants to hear. When asked about the removal of Joseph Maguire as acting DNI the president lied that Maguire had not been pushed out but that his term would have ended on March 11th anyway. Maguire could of course have been the permanent appointee, but was not rewarded for keeping the whistleblower complaint away from Congress.
Trump was furious when the news broke that Russia is helping both him and Bernie Sanders in the 2020 election. He still sees every mention of Russian support as an attempt to delegitimize his 2016 victory and claimed that he was never told that Russia is interfering again on his behalf, suggesting that Adam Schiff leaked the information. The president stated emphatically that he neither got nor ever wants any help from Russia, but simultaneously used the opportunity to say that ‘of course Putin wants Bernie, because Bernie honeymooned in the Soviet Union.’ And then it was off to India, where the Trumps visited the Taj Mahal, namesake of the Atlantic City casino Trump ran into the ground in spite of frequent injections of money from his father. At a presser the president called a rally in the world’s largest cricket stadium that seats 125,000 ‘the biggest event India has ever seen,’ apparently unaware that Dwight Eisenhower once drew a crowd of one million. According to reporters, after Trump’s speech one third of the attendees had left the stadium, and after India’s president Modi had spoken only one third was still there.
Back in the US the president had to deal with the crisis caused by the corona-virus, misspelled as ‘carona-virus’ by him in a tweet. Trump was furious with the Centers for Disease Control because of the virus’s effect on the stock market, for which he also blamed the media, the Democrats and in particular Tuesday night’s Democratic debate. At a press conference he claimed that the risk to the US was minimal because of ‘great early decisions’ – which didn’t include moving money away from CDC for ‘the wall’ – and professed his ignorance with regards to annual flue deaths.
Incorrectly maintaining that there are only 15 corona patients in the US, who are all getting better, Trump put Mike Pence in charge of the effort to contain the virus, to the surprise of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar who had not been informed. According to the president Pence has a stellar record managing health crises as Governor of Indiana, although we were soon reminded that he caused the spread of HIV/Aids because he had ‘to pray on’ a containment strategy.
The presser, for once in the White House room reserved for such occasions, produced a bizarre tale of two crises. On the one hand there were Trump and Pence, displaying a ‘no big deal, we have it under control’ attitude, and on the other multiple CDC experts who warned that a spread of the virus is inevitable. Of course the latter are not as interested in the stock market as the president.
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