Trump’s daily coronavirus press conference: Pushing untested “cures” & denying lack of supplies

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As the COVID-19 virus marches forward with logarithmic precision, the Trump administration’s failures to prepare for a  pandemic scenario that it was warned about well in advance are becoming painfully obvious as medical professionals complain about having to care for infected patients without adequate personal protective gear like face masks and gloves, risking their own infection and the decimation of the teams responding to the health crisis.

Donald Trump’s short-sighted dismantling of the National Security Council’s pandemic response team in 2018 to cut costs has come back to haunt the nation as the government now scrambles to rapidly coordinate the manufacture of medical supplies that are running out at hospitals and clinics around the areas of the country hardest hit by the outbreak.

Yet, every day the president continues to gaslight the nation at his coronavirus press conferences that have now devolved into alternating presentations of factual advice from the few respected professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — who are part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and of campaign rally-like boasts from Trump himself about how well he and his team are handling the crisis, often denying the facts on the ground and blaming previous administrations for failures that his own team should have been on top of during his three intervening years in office.

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This morning, the now daily press conference had a few notable moments that included Trump again trying to rebrand the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” before the common Twitter nickname the “Trump virus” takes root.

Trump fired America’s pandemic response team. Demand he reassemble it to confront the coronavirus pandemic immediately!

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The president also continued to tout as yet untested and unapproved treatments for the disease as potentially imminent lifesavers much to the dismay of the scientists on his Task Force.

After Trump handed the podium over to Vice President Mike Pence, the nominal head of that Task Force, the VP made sure to offer copious “Dear Leader”-style praise for the president before ignoring constitutional separations of church and state to urge people to continue to donate to their local religious organizations and keep those ministers and clerics in the green.

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Pence also revealed — after one of his own staffers tested positive for the virus yesterday — that he and his wife would undergo testing for infection today, all while standing much less than the recommended six feet away from the other senior task force members and the notoriously germaphobic Trump on the crowded briefing room stage.

While after Trump blew up at NBC News’s Peter Alexander yesterday — after the reporter asked a perfectly reasonable “softball” question that would allow Trump to rise up to the occasion with an inspirational response — it was brave of another journalist to risk the president’s antagonism today by asking him to respond to reports of shortages of medical equipment and protective gear from doctors and nurses across the country.

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Trump’s response revealed the narcissistic personality disorder that many noted psychiatric professionals have diagnosed him as suffering from, as he blamed previous administrations for the things he’s clearly been tasked with overseeing during the past three years and did nothing about.

If there’s anything that doctors — or the general public — can’t believe, it’s certainly that Trump has done a great job, in perhaps the one inadvertent truth that Trump uttered during the press conference.

After the president basically denied the premise of the reporter’s documented comments from medical professionals in the field, Dr. Fauci felt forced to toss the journalist a lifeline of credibility in the face of such a defensive and ill-natured denigration of his completely appropriate question.

Trump also addressed the elephant in the room as Congress negotiates economic recovery plans that include bailouts of at least one industry that the president has a very personal stake in seeing a massive influx of government assistance be funneled towards, the hotel and hospitality industry.

With the president continuing to spend more time protecting his electoral chances by making false promises and blaming others for his own failures, it’s no wonder that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called on broadcasters to stop airing his press conferences on live TV to prevent his “misinformation” about the pandemic from causing further damage.

“I know we ought to be getting used to this kind of thing by now, but I’m not. President Trump today, again, just flat-out wrong in public about this malaria drug that has gotten stuck in his mind, quite some distance from the facts,” Maddow said on her program last night.

“If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape but if he keeps lying like this every day on stuff this important, all of us should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s gonna cost lives,” she continued, in a devastating assessment of how Trump’s behavior is harming the nation.

If anything, if one does view the administration’s press conferences on the coronavirus pandemic, it may be best to simply mute the audio until someone other than Trump or Pence takes the podium as the contract between the Vice President and Dr. Fauci’s responses to a reporter’s question about whether Americans should rely on the president for prudent medical advice demonstrates.

The American people would be able to have a lot more hope if we had a president who possesses even a modicum of competence when faced with a crisis of this magnitude.

Let’s hope that we get one sooner rather than later. The exponential spread of the virus likely means that some of us won’t survive to see an effective leader in place to help usher the country out of this disaster movie with an uncertain ending.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Aaron Rupar at Vox.

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Vinnie Longobardo

Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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