Tuesday Reads: Trump’s Most Insane, Out of Control Meltdown Yet

Good Morning!!

Yesterday Trump had an epic meltdown at his “coronavirus briefing,” Yes, I know he has meltdowns all the time, but this was the worst one yet. It included screaming, yelling, attacks on the press, a North Korea style propaganda video, and claims of dictatorial power. There was almost no mention of a federal response to the pandemic.

He began the performance by bringing Dr. Anthony Fauci to the podium to explain why what he said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday wasn’t a criticism of Trump. USA Today: Anthony Fauci says he used a ‘poor choice of words’ in discussing Trump administration’s coronavirus response.

Anthony Fauci, the health care policy expert under fire from allies of  President Donald Trump, said Monday he used a “poor choice of words” when he suggested lives could have been saved had the Trump administration put in place coronavirus restrictions earlier in the year.

“Hypothetical questions sometimes can get you into some difficulty,” Fauci said during a unique statement delivered amid reports that Trump was thinking of firing him.

In an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci was asked if lives could have been saved had social distancing been imposed during the third week of February instead of mid-March. Fauci said, “It’s very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that.”

Fauci said, “What goes into those kinds of decisions is – is complicated. But you’re right. I mean, obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.”

Trump, who on Sunday re-tweeted a supporters’ statement that Fauci should be fired, called the epidemic expert to the podium early in the briefing, an unusual move.

A reporter asked Fauci if he had been forced to make the statement, and he claimed it was “voluntary.” Raise your had if you believe him. It looks like Fauci has become just another Trump sycophant. We. are. so. fucked.

Ashley Parker at The Washington Post: The Me President: Trump uses pandemic briefing to focus on himself.

President Trump stepped to the lectern Monday on a day when the coronavirus death toll in the United States ticked up past 23,000. He addressed the nation at a time when unemployment claims have shot past 15 million and lines at food banks stretch toward the horizon.

Yet in the middle of this deadly pandemic that shows no obvious signs of abating, the president made clear that the paramount concern for Trump is Trump — his self-image, his media coverage, his supplicants and his opponents, both real and imagined.

“Everything we did was right,” Trump said, during a sometimes hostile 2½ -hour news conference in which he offered a live version of an enemies list, brooking no criticism and repeatedly snapping at reporters who dared to challenge his version of events.

Trump has always had a me-me-me ethos, an uncanny ability to insert himself into the center of just about any situation. But Monday’s coronavirus briefing offered a particularly stark portrait of a president seeming unable to grasp the magnitude of the crisis — and saying little to address the suffering across the country he was elected to lead.

At one point — after praising himself for implementing travel restrictions on China at the end of January and griping about being “brutalized” by the press — Trump paused to boast with a half-smirk, “But I guess I’m doing okay because, to the best of my knowledge, I’m the president of the United States, despite the things that are said.”

Read the rest at the WaPo.

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that he and he alone–not governors of states–has the authority to “reopen” their economies.

Then during the briefing, Trump claimed that he and he alone has the power to open businesses, etc. in individual states. He has no understanding of the Constitution, much less the Tenth Amendment, which reserves police powers for the states.

Rick Wilson at The Daily Beast: Trump the Narcissistic Authoritarian Statist Declares He Has ‘Total’ Authority.

If you watched President Donald Trump’s daily press briefing Monday, you know that even by his abysmal standards this was the loudest siren yet, a warning that the man occupying the Oval Office is more suited to a very long, involuntary stay in an inpatient mental-health facility than the presidency of the United States.

It wasn’t presidential leadership. It wasn’t executive power made manifest. It wasn’t a grown-ass adult facing a serious crisis. It was an angry, needy man not looking outward to the needs of a nation in crisis but inward, and downward.

Anyone—and I mean anyone—who tells you Monday’s presser was anything other than a complete meltdown shitshow on the top of the dumpster fire at the peak of Burning-Tire Mountain is a liar.

It was a manic, gibbering, squint-eyed ragefest by America’s Worst President, a petty display by a failed man who long ago passed the limits of his competence and knowledge. It left little to cling to for even his most fervent lackeys but the grunting media animus that replaced conservatism as the motivating force of the Republican Party.

There was no there there when it came to facing the most consequential national crisis in generations. Even the parts about actions by the government were just mummery to frame his desperate desire for more stroking of his delicate feels. Everything is incidental to his delicate feelings and ego. Everything—and, more importantly, everyone else—is incidental.

Trump just gave the nation a performance that was so manic, so furious, and so utterly unhinged that anyone watching it walked away thinking the 25th Amendment has been too long unexercised and the proof is behind the podium every damn day.

Even John Yoo, the torture advocate says Trump can’t force states to “reopen.”

Our elected leaders confront the difficult decision on when to start lifting the lockdowns, even at the risk of a faster spread of COVID-19. Presiding Trump claims that he has the right to determine when businesses open their doors, employees return to work, and consumers shop again. “For the purpose of creating conflict and confusion, some in the Fake News Media are saying that it is the Governors decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government,” he tweeted earlier today. “Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect . . . It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons.”

But the federal government does not have that power. The Constitution’s grant of limited, enumerated powers to the national government does not include the right to regulate either public health or all business in the land. Congress enjoys the authority to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States.” This gives Washington, D.C. an important, yet supporting, role in confronting the pandemic. It can bar those who might be infected from entering the United States or traveling across interstate borders, reduce air and road traffic, and even isolate whole states.

But our federal system reserves the leading role over public health to state governors. States possess the “police power” to regulate virtually all activity within their borders. As the Supreme Court has recognized, safeguarding public health and safety presents the most compelling use of state power. Only the states can impose quarantines, close institutions and businesses, and limit intra-state travel. Democratic governors Gavin Newsom in California, Andrew Cuomo in New York, and J.B. Pritzker Illinois imposed their states’ lockdowns, and only they will decide when the draconian policies will end.

Read more at The National Review.

NBC News: Cuomo warns of constitutional crisis ‘like you haven’t seen in decades’ if Trump tries to reopen New York.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Tuesday that President Donald Trump should not try to reopen the state against his wishes, saying it would create “a constitutional crisis like you haven’t seen in decades” and could result in a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases.

“The only ways this situation gets worse is if the president creates a constitutional crisis,” Cuomo said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“If he says to me, ‘I declare it open,’ and that is a public health risk or it’s reckless with the welfare of the people of my state, I will oppose it,” he said. “And then we will have a constitutional crisis like you haven’t seen in decades, where states tell the federal government, ‘We’re not going to follow your order.’ It would be terrible for this country. It would be terrible for this president.”

This morning Trump responded with another insane tweet.

Finally, there was the insane campaign ad that Trump forced the press and his science advisers to watch during the “briefing.”

The Daily Beast: Trump Uses Coronavirus Briefing to Play Batshit Campaign Ad Attacking Press.

President Donald Trump took over Monday’s White House task force briefing to lash out at critics and the press with a bizarre video that amounted to a campaign ad, before later declaring his authority is “total” if governors disagree with him during the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday’s unprecedented press briefing began to go off the rails with the video, but before the end, the president was falsely trumpeting definitive authority during the health-care crisis that has already led to the deaths of more than 23,000 Americans.

The briefing almost immediately devolved into the president airing widespread grievances against his critics, from his likely 2020 general election opponent Joe Biden to governors and reporters who have dared to call his virus response into question over the last few weeks as American life has ground to a halt during the pandemic.

In a mash up of clips and audio that amounted to a campaign ad, Trump lashed out at critics and returned to his favorite pastime of going after reporters. The video began with a white screen saying “the media minimized the risk from the start.” At one point, it showed news clips of different governors giving kind remarks about the president’s response to the pandemic.

An agitated and indignant president pointed at the seated press corps, telling them that while he’d answer some questions after airing his montage of coronavirus praise that maybe “I’ll ask you some questions because you’re so guilty.”

Both CNN and MSNBC, which have wavered between airing the increasingly antagonistic briefings, both cut away during the multi-minute campaign ad. The networks, however, came back to broadcast the performance after a short break.

The highlight of the show was questioning from CBS correspondent Paul Reid. BBC News:

CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid was met with a fiery response when she challenged President Trump during a coronavirus briefing.

Mr Trump touted his ban on travel from China at the end of January as an example of his administration taking decisive action. However, he did not declare a national emergency until 13 March – and public health experts have criticised the response to the outbreak, including early testing failures and a shortage of protective equipment.

The reporter asked Mr Trump what his administration had done in February, “with the time you bought with your travel ban”.

So . . . another crazy day has dawned in America. Will we survive? What stories are you following?


30 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Trump’s Most Insane, Out of Control Meltdown Yet”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    • quixote says:

      I’d be shocked if he was not suffering progressive dementia, but it’s a lot more than that.

      Reagan had enough Alzheimer’s toward the end of his term that other people had to prop up most of his job for him. But the thing is, he was still capable of letting them get on with it.

      The Dump, on the other hand, not so much. This is the first time in his life when his dad or his money isn’t enough to buffer him from his failures. And it’s obviously a new experience for him.

      As somebody said in an article in the post, he’s qualified for nothing but an involuntary stay in an insane asylum. The wing housing the homicidal maniacs and the criminals against humanity.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Yes, he has a personality disorder–probably even worse than NPD: Anti-social Personality Disorder, i.e. he is a psychopath. I think he also has ADHD and possibly dyslexia.

        • dakinikat says:

          Well we stuck with Joe or dead with Trump ….

          • quixote says:

            Every time Biden’s name comes up as the nominee I have to suppress nausea. Yes, I know nausea is a lot better than being killed by a psychopath. And yet…. Nausea.

            It’s the contrast between where we started and how we’ve ended up with this damaged white male fossil. Bleah.

        • quixote says:

          I seem to remember reading somewhere that he has severe dyslexia. Being him, that’s a “weakness” of course, so I think they said something about him going to ridiculous lengths to cover it up.

          I’m sure that’s not helped by him being too vain to wear glasses.

          But to the larger point: yes. Psychopath. Be interesting to hook him up to an fMRI and see which areas of his brain simply don’t fire, or maybe over-fire, in strange patterns not seen in regular humans.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Well, his frontal lobes are disappearing. Actually ADHD is also associated with frontal lobe deficits.

  2. dakinikat says:

    eeeshhh….

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Listening to Trump I am reminded of when any one of my 4 kids got themselves into trouble. Their usual response was “what about him/her” (fill in the blank} as if finding someone else to blame would clear them of any responsibility. Of note: this was when they hovered between 9 and 12 yrs of age.

    That’s Trump. Backed into a corner he pulls out Joe Biden, Obama, China, anybody or anything to make his specious point that he not be held responsible.

    So we are forced to face the fact that heading up a global pandemic it is in the hands of a man with all the intelligence of a 9 year old child looking for ways to not face any punishment for behaving like a child.

    It is insane that we must be subjected to this crapola when people are and will be dying as a result of his monumental indifference as a human being.

    My loathsome meter for this man has reached breakable levels.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I think you’re being too kind to him Pat. I’d put him between a 4 to 7-years old maturity level.

      I also think this is one reason so many more women loathe him than men – we see the spoiled child.

      I can’t even put in words how deeply I loathe him and his children (not sure about Barron). Also despise Melanie.

      • Enheduanna says:

        P.S. Normally I would feel sorry for someone as debilitated as he is – but can’t find a single molecule of empathy for him.

        • quixote says:

          I keep banging this drum: he is NOT child-like. Maybe pre-verbal babies have as little empathy as him, but they’re also cognitively in a very different situation.

          He’s pathological. Criminally insane. Psychopath. Not child-like. A seven year-old would be much less of a mess as President.

          • bostonboomer says:

            That’s true. But he does act a lot like a 2 year-old having a tantrum.

            Trump is the most extreme example of narcissism that I have ever heard or read about. Most functioning psychopaths are capable of faking empathy for limited periods of time. Trump can’t. He is completely transparent. He is incapable of even pretending to care about anyone except himself–even his wife and children.

          • quixote says:

            Yes, The way he can’t even fake it for a second is one of the things that just feels downright alien.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Emotionally, he’s a two-year-old.

        • quixote says:

          I’ve known one three year-old capable of picking the wings off flies. But in general, even two year-olds try to help (in their own cute way) when someone near them is distressed. Or isn’t that generally true? Have I just been lucky in the two year-olds I’ve met? I don’t have much experience with that age group.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Children are definitely capable of empathy. I’m only comparing him to a child having a tantrum–not arguing that he behaves in every way like a two-year-old. Besides having no empathy, Trump has almost no ability to regulate his impulses.

          • quixote says:

            As I say, not much experience: I’ve never had to directly deal with a two year-old in a tantrum. 😀

          • bostonboomer says:

            I have pretty extensive experience with the phenomenon, lol

            I don’t have children, but I have four much younger siblings that I helped care for and I have two nephews that I spent a great deal of time with since their births.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    The Daily Beast: Nebraskans in Virus Hot Zone ‘Terrified’ After Governor Rejects Stay-at-Home Order

    Pete Ricketts has closed schools (even before New York City did), banned gatherings of 10 people or more, and closed dine-in areas in restaurants—but he is one of only eight governors in the country to resist a statewide stay-at-home order. The state’s May 12 primary is still on the books, and last week, Ricketts was already talking about easing what restrictions are in place….

    By the numbers, Nebraska is in better shape than most other places. With 871 COVID-19 infections and 18 recorded coronavirus deaths, it’s in the bottom 10 states.

    But Nebraska also ranks 43rd in the rate of testing, which means there could be many undetected cases. Over the weekend, cases were reported for the first time in three more counties. And the number of cases statewide shot up by 100—the biggest one-day total so far—between Saturday and Sunday.

    In Grand Island, the numbers are worse, and some residents are bristling at the governor’s approach to a pandemic that has killed over 23,000 Americans.

    Hall County, which encompasses the city, has reported 197 COVID-19 cases—a per capita rate six times the statewide average. There have been four deaths, according to the state health department, and verified exposure in three nursing homes. Testing over the course of the last several days showed a positive rate of 20 to 25 percent, according to health officials.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Why did Kushner get rid of his dimples?

  6. dakinikat says:

    Why New Orleans Pushed Ahead With Mardi Gras, Even as It Planned for Coronavirus
    A cache of internal emails reveals city officials believed chances were “low” that the festivities would help spread the virus, a prediction that proved tragically off base.

  7. bostonboomer says: