One of the funniest, albeit unintentionally comedic, ways I have been passing my lock-down days here in the hills of Donegal was to tune into the daily White House briefings with the Commander in Chief. Riveting television it was, Monty Python with bells on.
For almost a month Trump gave daily broadcasts from the White House, and they got more and more bizarre as the days wore on.At the start they boosted his popularity, getting him huge coverage on television stations across the American plains. It was clear now that no public political rallies were permitted he saw them as part of his re-election campaign; the press conference were all about Donald Trump, not Covid 19.
Watching Trump in action was right up there with rubber necking while driving past a car crash; you knew you shouldn’t be looking but you simply couldn’t resist.
In the briefings he regularly doled out unproven often dodgy medical advice including regularly plugging anti malaria drugs as a cure for the Corona virus. And any reporter who dared challenge him was sneered at as having an agenda and was ‘fake news’.
His snake oil routine finally got exposed on Thursday when he suggested to his clearly baffled and bemused medical staff they should consider exploring if taking disinfectant could be used to cure Covid 19. One of his senior staff, a woman whose name I don’t recall, looked totally baffled. Within hours his comments were met with astonishment soon followed by outright ridicule from across the planet.
And now for the sad bit: Over the weekend he announced that he’s to give up the briefings saying they ‘weren’t worth it’. Accusing ‘the lame stream media’ of asking nothing but hostile questions and then refusing to report accurately he suggested they were getting huge ratings and the American people were getting nothing but fake news. Of course what he really meant was that his people had told him to pack it in, that he was doing himself untold damage.
I will miss those briefings tremendously. They were entertainment if not billed as such.
One final thing: I don’t how it happened but I have a lot of ‘friends’ on Facebook here in Ireland who are diehard Trump supporters, and no matter what he says or does they unstintingly support him. A lot of these folk are right wing evangelic types who see Trump’s stand in regard to Israel, abortion etc as reflecting their views. What is so insane about their stance is no one seems to want to join the dots as to how come a man who is on record as stating he has grabbed women by their genitals, has paid off porn stars and has committed adultery regularly – let’s not even go to the cruelty of his order to separate kids from their parents and put them in cages – is a role model for them? It’s like logic is no longer logic, that good is evil and evil is good. Or it might just be me.
Anyway, let me offer a personal opinion to conclude. I have come to the conclusion that Trump’s election is the outworking of a society where values and principles don’t count anymore, where the likes of reality stars are feted and earn fortunes – e.g Kim Kardashian (who can’t sing, can’t write, can’t act, has no appreciable talent of note) is reputed to be worth around $70m – where footballers are paid more in a week than a top surgeon earns in a year, and where even a total dunce like Trump can get elected to the most powerful post in the world.
When this Covid crisis is all over will the world waken up to the fact that clowns belong in a circus? Will we realise that honesty, truth and decency do matter in all aspects of human relationships? That your word is your bond? Or that no (wo)man is an island, that we need to look out for each other?