Pandemic President Won’t Give Up Coronavirus Show Easily

Cast and crew, White House Corona Virus Task Force

Mark Burnett, the producer of “The Apprentice,” claims that up to 300 hours of video were shot for each one-hour long episode of the hit reality TV show that rescued Donald Trump from obscurity and ultimately delivered him to the White House. Having watched Trump bluff and blunder his way through the daily White House Corononavirus Task Force briefing these past couple of months, it’s easy to believe him.

Trump’s latest public outrage was to suggest that scientists investigate injecting common household disinfectant into the human body as a possible cure for COVID-19 to a worldwide audience tuned into his Coronavirus Task Force daily briefing last Thursday.

Trump famously regurgitates the last thing anyone says to him, which in this case happened to be an adviser who told him “household disinfectant works great for killing coronavirus on surfaces.” Why not try it inside the body? The president mused out loud.

The next day, Trump claimed he was just being sarcastic in an attempt to trigger the journalists covering the daily news conference. For once the man who has lied or misled the public more than 16,000 times since taking office was telling half the truth.

Many critics have called the daily coronavirus briefings a substitute for Trump’s fascistic stadium rallies, now on hold thanks to the pandemic. But under Trump’s direction, the coronavirus briefings have reverted to a form with which the president is even more familiar: the reality TV program.

Call it, “The Apprentice: Pandemic President.”

The show is shot live for one to two hours and set against the rather serious backdrop of the federal government’s ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 50,000 people across the United States as of this writing, including 4 people in Shasta County.

As always, our glorious first-term president begins each episode expounding on his own singular achievements, attacking ungrateful blue-state governors and offering up his latest crackpot coronavirus cures from the podium. He then turns the floor over to the experts.

But as infectious disease experts such as Drs. Deborah Birx or Anthony Fauci take questions from journalists, Trump hovers nearby like a persistent heckler, ready to interrupt the answer if he doesn’t like what he’s hearing. It’s high-tension drama as Trump attempts to reverse-engineer answers to his own liking and his advisers attempt to stay true to medical science without pissing off the boss.

Trolling journalists is a feature of Trump’s program, not a bug. Not a briefing goes by without the president publicly humiliating at least one reporter in person and disparaging the entire news industry in general. The Q&A session often ends with a question going to One America News Network, which prides itself on being more pro-Trump than FOX.

There’s a lot going on in these coronavirus briefings for members of Trump’s base to like. Owning the libs, humiliating the scientific experts, excoriating the new media and last but not least, magic elixirs, such as hydroxychloroquine, that allegedly cure and even prevent COVID-19.

Trump and FOX News began pushing hydroxychloroquine, which has been used for decades to treat malaria and lupus, as a game-changing miracle drug for coronavirus in late March based on scant scientific evidence that it has any effect on COVID-19.

So far, no controlled studies of hydroxychloroquine’s effect on coronavirus have been completed. Trump’s claims that the drug can both cure and prevent the disease remain unsubstantiated. At least one person died from ingesting hydroxychloroquine in its fish-tank-cleaner form after hearing Trump tout the drug.

Several recent studies found hydroxychloroquine may not be tolerated well by patients with COVID-19, and investors, such as the state of Utah, now regret spending millions stockpiling it.

With hydroxychloroquine on the wane, much like Huey Lewis and the News, Trump needed a new drug to promote during the briefing. He found it in common household disinfectant.

It’s not too hard to imagine why Dr. Birx cringed stage side when Trump suggested that scientists should investigate whether injecting household disinfectant into the human body might kill coronavirus:

You’re the god damned president of the United States! People will do what you tell them to do, no matter how stupid it is. For Christ’s sake man, use your better judgement!

It’s apparently true that the second the president’s words reached their intended audience, some viewers began rummaging under the kitchen sink and through their bathroom cabinets, searching for household cleaning agents to ingest in order to combat the virus.

In New York City, for example, the rate of people poisoning themselves with household chemicals such as bleach and Lysol doubled overnight after Trump’s remarks

The risk that hundreds of Americans might begin shooting disinfectant into their veins was so acute, Lysol and other companies quickly issued press releases warning their products definitely don’t cure coronavirus and should never be consumed by humans, “through injection, ingestion or any other route.”

Trump understandably took a lot of heat for the impromptu suggestion, and left Friday’s coronavirus briefing in a huff without taking questions from reporters. On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he’s finally had enough.

“What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately,” Trump wrote. “They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!”

Undoubtedly the nation would be better off if President Donald Trump stayed away from the coronavirus briefings. Unlike the producers of “The Apprentice,” we don’t have the luxury of doing multiple takes until the stable genius finally gets it right. Vice President Mike Pence can read the burgeoning death toll adequately enough.

But no doubt Trump is bluffing once again. It’s the old Br’er Rabbit “Don’t throw me in the briar patch!” routine, except in this case the rabbit is a diagnosed malignant narcissist. Trump’s not lying about the coronavirus briefing TV ratings being high, and as we’ve seen with the live broadcast of his rallies, that benefits him just as much as it does the networks.

With the coronavirus briefings, he’s right where he’s always wanted to be, at the center of our attention. The number of briefings will be scaled back, the scripting will be tightened up, but for Trump, the show will go on.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas. He can be emailed at RVScheide@anewscafe.com.
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54 Responses

  1. Avatar christian gardinier says:

    R.V., I’m wondering this. When will one of press folks stand up – when called on of course – and call him out, right to his face, in front of the whole world. Basically, Criminal Idiot doesn’t know what he’s talking about most of the time, lies and flips daily, and some of the lies are huge, affecting the well being and safety of America. Isn’t it time the press stands up to this pathetic man, on the behalf and well-being of The United States of America, as the Constitution gave reporters and the press, a right, if not responsibility, to do! Sure, they might get thrown out, but heck might win a Pulitzer Prize!

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      “Mr. President, don’t you find it ironic that every time Joe Biden stumbles over a few words, the right-wing media speculate that he may be senile—yet you stand behind that podium every single day showing growing signs of severe dementia, and they say nothing?”

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Steve,

        Unfortunately it’s not demetia – he’s just plain demented (and always has been). The people responsible for allowing this sociopathic clown to destroy America are his Republican cohorts. He should have been impeached by his own party long ago, and they will hopefully pay the price for not doing the right thing in November.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Christian, there’s been a few instances when journalists have stood up to Trump, but not many. I keep waiting for the press corps to walk out en masse. So far it hasn’t happened.

      • Avatar Ed Marek says:

        I don’t want them all to walk out.

        I want ONE of them to ask ONE factual question, on the order of:

        “America has experienced the worst pandemic response in the entire world.

        The massive level of American deaths and suffering is largely YOUR FAULT, Mr trump.

        How can you continue refuse responsibility for your actions, and continue inflicting immense numbers of future deaths and untold suffering on the American people?”

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Those kinds of questions don’t work on him. He just denies it, shamelessly. Walking out … that would mess his head!

          • Avatar Ed Marek says:

            The problem is, trump has TRAINED the reality-based press not to ask the most important questions, by simply replying repeatedly with the same obvious lies.

            And if all the reality-based correspondents were to walk out, trumpist stooges would be flushed out of the darkest corners of the internet to fill the room.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          That wouldn’t be a factual question, though. If you look at the rate of deaths, the only accurate way of looking at it. the number of deaths per million population. The US is doing much better than most countries. Currently we are 188 deaths per million, compare that to European countries, Spain…535, Italy…463, France…369, UK…384. How can you attribute responsibility to the president? If you do, I guess you must criticize every other national leader on this planet.
          In addition, half of the deaths in the US come from the NY Metropolitan area, It was the Democrat leaders of the state and the Democrat leader of the city of NY that made the decision not to shut down the subway system, despite advice from the administration to do so.
          So I guess I don’t understand the premise of the question you want asked, since data supports that our response was better than most, that saved lives. The China travel ban that the president was criticized for, Biden calling it ‘hysterical’ and ‘xenophobic’ undoubtedly saved thousands of lives.

          The US is not unique in the untold suffering from this virus, the entire world is suffering, so to put all the blame on our president is just being disingenuous.

          • Avatar Ed Marek says:

            Trump will undoubtedly be remembered as the American president personally responsible for the greatest number of American deaths in history.

            “…If you look at the rate of deaths, the only accurate way of looking at it. the number of deaths per million population. The US is doing much better than most countries…”

            Actually, as of a few days ago, the USA ranked #10, worse than 129 other nations in highest confirmed D/MP…as reported below:

            ://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/

            But America has risen rapidly to reach the top ten, and you can expect we will pass more nations very shortly. BTW, all these reports understate the real death tolls by very large amounts.

            Note that the nine nations with death rates higher than America are all in Europe, and have many factors that make them particularly susceptible to the virus, such as higher population density and higher dependence on public transit.

            “…How can you attribute responsibility to the president?…”

            Trump is responsible for the American pandemic inflections and deaths that have occurred and will occur due to his deviant behavior, in excess of those that would not have been preventable.

            “… The China travel ban that the president was criticized for, Biden calling it ‘hysterical’ and ‘xenophobic’ undoubtedly saved thousands of lives…”

            It was not a “ban”, and few lives were saved by trump’s action, which is not surprising since it was instituted to appeal to the racist tendencies in trump’s followers, not as an effective public health program. In fact, genetic testing has shown that the majority of America’s early infections came from Europe, the virus apparently not being as picky about skin color as are the trumpists.

            To get some idea of just how many of America’s infections and deaths were and would be avoidable, if not for trump’s malfeasance, I’d suggest you look at those countries with standards of living and cultural practices most similar to ours.

            For example, America has more than twice as many virus deaths per million people as Canada, which itself has hardly been model of efficient public health programs.

            America has suffered over 50 times as many deaths per million people as Australia, which seems to have made very few mistakes, to date.

            I don’t think that necessarily means fully 98% of America’s past and future pandemic deaths were preventable, but a very large number, in the tens of thousands at present, and likely in the hundreds of thousands in the future, could and would have been avoided had trump merely listened to America’s public health experts.

      • Avatar Ed Marek says:

        I don’t want them to walk out.

        I want ONE of them to ask ONE factual question, on the order of:

        “America has experienced the worst pandemic response in the entire world.

        The massive level of American deaths and suffering is largely YOUR FAULT, Mr trump.

        How can you continue refuse responsibility for your actions, and continue inflicting immense numbers of deaths and untold suffering on the American people?”

  2. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    The briefing following the “inject disinfectants and shove a UV light up your ass” briefing, Trump did his 5 minutes and then shrank back into the White House like a cockroach, without taking questions or standing camera left, attempting to steal credibility from the experts. The day after that, he was a no-show. Yesterday’s briefing was cancelled…..then Trump ordered it back on. It seems he had been watching TV that afternoon and had seen Fox News talking heads suggest that his staff was managing him to avoid further damage—and he wasn’t having it.

    Yesterday’s briefing was typical: It started with Trump reading a prepared statement in an affect-free tone, as if he has no idea what he’s reading. He paused intermittently, trigged by some key word he’d just read, to babble out a non sequitur. Then on to the self-aggrandizing, airing of grievances, paranoia, misinformation, shirking of responsibility….it was all there. The daily shit-show from the self-described very stable genius.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      This story was supposed to run yesterday, and as I predicted, there’s no way Trump can stay out of the limelight.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Yep, you nailed it. I guess if you’re looking for something “positive” to say about Trump, it’s that he’s an open book—he’s 100% incapable of hiding what he is. Attention whore, festering persecution complex, megalomaniac, power-tripping bully, substance abuser, amoral hedonist, mental midget…it’s all up in lights, 24/7.

  3. Avatar Kathleen challe says:

    Thanks for a well written article. You say so eloquently what I try to put into words. I just just stand there slack jawed thinking no one can be that stupid. Unfortunately, they can.

  4. What follows is not news. It’s SATIRE. Big difference. You will probably find it amusing. You may not. But remember: It’s just SATIRE.

    Trump Blames Plummeting Poll Numbers on People Paying Attention When He Talks

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Borowitz Report)—Calling it a “disgraceful situation,” Donald J. Trump on Monday blamed his sinking poll numbers on people paying attention when he talks.

    Noting that his approval rating has plummeted since he began holding coronavirus briefings, he said, “There are a lot of people out there who are listening to things I say and basing their opinions on them, and I think it’s very sad.”

    In addition to people paying attention when he talks, Trump said that he was being “treated very unfairly by people who remember what I say.”

    “People are listening to what I say one day and comparing it to something I said on a different day,” he said. “These are very sick and terrible people.”

    Trump also lashed out at the pollsters themselves, who, he alleged, are “doing a hit job on me” by seeking the opinions of people who listened to things he said.

    “The fact that they’re talking to people who have listened to me proves how crooked and rigged these polls are,” he said. “People who haven’t listened to me think I’m doing great.”

    Trump said that, if people persist in listening to him, he may stop talking altogether. “I think that’s a really good plan,” Trump said. “Dr. Fauci suggested it to me.”

    (Andy Borowitz, courtesy of New Yorker magazine)

  5. Avatar Gary Tull says:

    Trump told reporters on March 6 during a visit to the CDC in Atlanta that “anybody that wants a test can get a test,” but the reality has proved to be vastly different. AP 4/28/20 – one hour ago

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      It’s ludicrous that this keeps getting repeated by Trump et al. Anyone cannot get a test in Shasta County, for example. You have to have COVID-19 symptoms.

  6. Avatar Russell K. Hunt says:

    Are there any readers as capable as Trump under the circumstances ? Belushi would But nooooooooo !

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      So, you’re going to inject the Lysol?

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      …says the guy who used to have a life-sized image of Sarah Palin on a sandwich board in his front yard, the only possible interpretation of which is: “The guy who lives here wants everyone to know that he wants to get with Sarah Palin.”

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        She’s what passes for “attractive” in ultra-right-wing circles (that is if you think someone with the IQ of a doorknob is appealing).

  7. Avatar Robert V. Scheide SR. says:

    Ron White said it all “YOU CAN’T FIX STUPID” As has been demonstrated lately there is more than enough stupid to go around. Most of it is coming from the white house. The Virus response has demonstrated there is not a brain cell in the leaders of this country from the president down.

    Not only do they lie (most of the time) they are also thieves. Many governors have their medical gear stolen enroute they also have ripped off stuff after it in the US. The thieving is bad enough, but preceded by the President told them they were responsible for getting their own gear , which they do , and then he steals it.

    The white house knew of the virus at least in January and did nothing for months.Perhaps worse then that they lied their asses off about how many tests were being done and thousands are shipping. Lie after lie, I’m done with Trump and have been since day one

    One last thought, how long would you keep a spouse that never told the truth? Why then are you going to vote for him.

  8. Avatar Liz Zanze says:

    I wish Larry David could actually teach Trump what sarcasm really sounds like. He has no idea

  9. Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

    Obviously the Presidents Daily Briefings, as we are now learning, don’t kiss his ass enough to get his attention.
    Trump has declared he will not wear a mask. Evidently the VP is following his leaders advice.

    But help is On the way, trump orders slaughter houses and meat packing businesses to remain open.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Maybe Trump will fire Pense for not wearing his mask today?

      • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

        Trump won’t fire pense for not wearing a mask but he will definitely throw mother’s boy under the bus when all the disturbing news show how inept and unqualified they are at handling this pandemic.
        Total incompetence from our country’s leadership.

  10. Avatar Rob says:

    What the Inhabitant-in-Chief of the west wing can’t possibly fathom is that he is his own worst enemy. Whatever his diagnosis is, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), megalomania, psychopath, insanity*, and so on, he lives in his own world where if you agree, praise, extol his virtues, and have no empathy for others you’re his friend. If you dare to speak out against him, correct him, or belittle him, then you do not deserve his tolerance.

    Mr. Trump is the first and only president I’m aware of who needs his feel-good rallies on a regular basis to make himself feel superior and wanted. If you think the first four years have been bad, just imagine the amount of damage and fumbling he can do in the next four since he won’t have to worry about re-election in 2024. I’m sure he will try to change that little technicality in the Constitution.

    *doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      What’s strange is how popular his behavior is with a solid 35 percent of the people. I hope the other 65 percent vote this November!

  11. Avatar Chris Rodriguez says:

    Well written and you’re speaking truth to power, keep it up.

  12. Avatar Randy says:

    The ‘Trump syndrom’ reminds me of a story a family member brought back from Viet Nam. Late at night in the officers club where all were throughly inebriated the top commander stood on the bar, urinated in a bottle and the majority of the crowd lined up to take a drink. If that is not loyalty I don’t know what is.

  13. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Excellent article R.V. Scheide. I am so embarrassed by experts in their field being patronized by someone with no medical or scientific background. “I would like you to talk to medical doctors about applying light and heat to cure this virus.” Oh gee. Thank you. We have never ever thought of something like that!

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Embarrassed is the right word. Poor Dr. Birx!

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        The more I consider that incident….

        It’s one thing for a guy to talk out of his ass on a subject about which he knows next to nothing and get it completely wrong. That happens all the time. I’ve done it, you’ve done it. It’s weird that Trump does it so often, but as a singular event, the inject poison/UV suppository riffing was just stupid, but not that crazy.

        What’s bat-shit crazy is to claim the next day that you were being sarcastic. You have to be insane to convince yourself not only that people will buy that load of BS, when the video makes it painfully obvious that zero sarcasm was intended.

        But Trump is even crazier than that, because first he convinces himself that he was being sarcastic. Does anyone doubt that? In the face of reality—that he’s imperfect and said something stupid—he invents a new reality and convinces himself that he’s infallible after all.

        The dude is crazier than a road lizard.

      • Avatar Liz Zanze says:

        I am afraid Dr. Birx has gone the way of Fox News

  14. Avatar George Koen says:

    The really ‘scary’ thing is that he will win in November again…….

  15. Avatar Gary Tull says:

    Lately Birx and Fauci seem to be trump team members more-so than independent scientists doing their best to stem this thing. Testing is still miserably insufficient and should have been scaled way up as a first priority by this time.

    Yet we still don’t know how many are walking around with the virus because they have to show certain symptoms first to qualify to be tested (thanks GOP). That’s just flatout backwards and unacceptable. Free testing should be available for all by this point.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I agree. Fauci and Birx are genuflecting a little too much. If I was Fauci, I would have quit in protest a month ago.

      • Actually, I’m surprised that Fauci hasn’t been shown the door yet.

        I’d hate for him to leave, because he’s a voice of reason. And then, who would replace him?

  16. Avatar Gary Tull says:

    Is this thing working? Trump’s daily dog and pony show? No! Of course it’s not working. It’s built with straw and smoke.

    Southern Cal is now doing free testing. Ramp up free testing nationally for all, I would say. It’s essential!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/30/los-angeles-coronavirus-test/

  17. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    The story behind the photo that R.V. has placed at the top of this post:

    “Trump uses White House events to project return to normalcy while relying on testing that public lacks

    At the White House this week, President Trump sat less than six feet from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the Oval Office. He invited small-business owners to crowd behind the Resolute Desk for a photo shoot. His vice president toured a medical research center without a face mask in defiance of its policy.

    The daily images projected a sense of confidence that life, at least for the nation’s most prominent resident, is returning to a semblance of normalcy during the coronavirus pandemic — a visual cue to the public that conditions are improving as Trump pushes to restart sectors of the economy.

    Yet even as Trump aides have signaled that he could soon begin regular travel, the reality is that the White House has created a picture of security that is propped up by special access to the kind of wide-scale testing for covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, that most of the nation remains without.

    Trump, Vice President Pence and their aides are tested regularly, and all who enter the White House campus to meet with them are required to undergo on-site rapid tests developed by Abbott Laboratories, which provide results within 15 minutes…

    It is a cocoon of safety that does not exist almost anywhere else in the country…”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-white-house-events-coronavirus-testing/2020/05/01/21a9b5bc-8bbe-11ea-ac8a-fe9b8088e101_story.html

    While trump demands that millions of “essential” American workers risk their lives for little over minimum wage without even providing them with 50-cent face masks, or giving local health authorizes testing capacity to help insure their safety, thousands of completely unnecessary virus tests are being conducted on everyone who might come into contact with him and his cronies, just so he can show his face at all these federally-funded campaign events.

    Every time you think trump can not possibly go further in his display of depravity, he manages to surprise you.