Washington – At times, in the Rose Garden of the White House, the coronavirus pandemic is an angry foal with Donald Trump on the mountain. The president does his best not to fall.
“Drive like a cowboy,” says Trump. “Hold on. Endure to the end. “
The comment about the foal came during a report by the task force dealing with the coronavirus, an event in which science bumps into Trump’s world.RELATED
In which the president, who does not drink, serves a cocktail of public health policies, misrepresentations, fabricated achievements, acting, bravado, encouragement, inconsistencies, improvisation and self-praise. The sessions start late, end when he wants.
This “wartime president” at least offers a show. Enjoy the high rates of these presentations and boast that they are comparable to those of the popular program “The Bachelor”. On the streets, meanwhile, people recoil at each stranger’s exhalation. In overflowing hospitals patients struggle to survive. Deaths increase.
The show must go on.
Trump is the star of this production. Dr. Anthony Fauci is the stoic upright character, a revered infectious disease scientist whose facial expressions are widely observed. Sometimes it seems like a new eccentric comment from Trump will blow him up. But it doesn’t explode. He looks tired because he sleeps four hours.
Day in and day out, Trump offers far-fetched interpretations, lectures journalists, criticizes his detractors, and disseminates false information about all aspects of the crisis, which sometimes make fact-based information that public health officials take to the background. they are trying to spread, when Trump lets them speak. It was here that Fauci one day contradicted Trump in front of him when talking about a treatment for COVID-19.
On Sunday, a beautiful sunny day, the session was held in the “pink garden” of the White House. Trump scares away mosquitoes and starts very lively. The news is not good, but he takes his time to tell it.
“Beautiful day in the Rose Garden”, begins. “Good distance between the chairs. Social distancing. They do that very well. Terrific ”.
Then he talks about a test to detect the virus with almost instantaneous results, he says, in which the swab should not be placed as deep into the nose as when he had the test a few weeks ago. Since then he has been complaining about that. The new test is so simple that you could undergo it again.
Executives step in and talk about what they are doing to produce and deliver vital medical equipment. They speak little, and praise for Trump’s leadership is a norm. This is a president who needs public praise and who has said that he may not call someone back if he doesn’t praise him.
Trump gives away some basic facts about the world we live in. Think about it: 151 countries. Someone told me today … I didn’t know there were so many countries. One hundred fifty one. Awesome”.
Then he offers a series of unsubstantiated data: he talks about an unidentified hospital in New York where, they told him, they hoard masks; about an untested theory that the death rate in the United States is lower than in other countries and about his certainty that the new test “will change everything.”
He then alludes to the imaginary colt and says that some collaborators told him to resist until the crisis is over, but that he thinks he should do something else.
The positive tone that Trump has been trying to give to the crisis for several months is diluted when he announces a one-month extension of the social distancing guidelines, which were due to expire last Monday.
He says the distancing will help “this nightmare end faster.”
After an hour, it is clear that Trump is preparing Americans to expect far more deaths than anyone could imagine in an effort to minimize the crisis. He no longer talks about the virus magically disappearing when the warmth of spring arrives.
Fauci and other public health authorities told him that between 100,000 and 200,000 people could die if the right thing is not done to contain the pandemic.
But the president releases a much more chilling figure of 2.2 million deaths, if the necessary measures are not taken, and calls Dr. Deborah Birx to explain it.
Why present a more depressing picture even when you already have one alarming in itself?
Because if 100,000 or 200,000 people die, Trump will still want the story – and the voters at the end of the year – to think his efforts were successful. If the death toll revolves around those figures, he says “well, we will have done a very good job.”
Aside from these bravado, the president observes the pandemic – “its ferocity” – from an increasingly personal and sober perspective. “A lot of people are dying,” he says. “It’s very disgusting”.
He says that a friend, “a little older, fat, but a very tough guy”, went to a hospital. “I call him:‘ How is he? Sir, he’s in a coma, unconscious. ’ Not well”.
He talks about the corpses in bags and the refrigerated trucks where the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York, stores corpses, as he saw on television. Trump is from New York and says he vividly remembers the building. “I can tell you the color of the exterior, the size of the windows. I know him well”.
“I have seen things that I have never seen before. I mean, I’ve seen them, but on television, in distant lands. I never saw them in our country. “
The sun is going down in the garden when Trump ends the session.
“I want to return to our life as always,” he says.
“I want to get our country back.”
“I want to take back the world.”
“I want the world to get rid of this.”