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Don't believe the spin: Trump's return to daily briefings was a disaster
And it will only get worse. How on earth could anyone in media claim he'd "shifted" his "tone"?
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The White House heralded President Donald Trump’s return to daily White House coronavirus briefings as a new shift in his handling of the pandemic.
Of course, we all knew what it really was, because both Kellyanne Conway (last week) and Trump (a few days after Conway) told us: An effort, desperate as it may be, to get Trump’s numbers up. "We had a good slot. A lot of people were watching. We had record numbers watching,” Trump said a few days ago in announcing a return to the virus briefings.
Think about it: These people were brazenly honest with Americans about the fact that the president’s return to daily briefings was not really about trying to stem a horrific health crisis but about helping his dismal poll numbers as he craters in match-ups against Joe Biden.
Some in the media fell for it, with ABC News sending out this tweet before yesterday’s return to the briefings.
As it turned out, we soon learned that neither Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, nor any other doctor, scientist or health official, nor any other members of the conronavirus task force, would be there.
It was just The Trump Show.
For about a minute he actually stuck to the talking the points given to him by those in the White House, in one of those rare moments of Donald Trump telling the truth: “It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better.”
But then he had to add: “Something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.”
That was the hint that he’d soon begin spinning, that he couldn’t help but lie, that he has an addiction to distorting facts, and that he only wants to give positive news in the way all con men do who are trying to snooker people.
From there it was all promises of vaccines and treatments and how great things are going to be, and self-congratulations on what he’s done to date: “We are in the process of developing a strategy that’s going to be very, very powerful.”
It was appallingly insulting. And even worse, some in the media, once again, called it a “somber” new “shift” in “tone.” This Daily Show compilation truly is mind-boggling.
Yet, Trump refused to acknowledge his failures, and once again repeatedly referred to Covid-19 as the “China virus,” unable to contain his racism. He blamed everything and everyone else — including China, which “let it out” — but himself for the testing failures as he attempts now to change the subject and do whatever he can to subvert the nation’s top scientist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, for being honest.
We didn’t need Trump to tell us it is “going to get worse.” We know how much worse it is, and how much worse it will be. Trump continued to try to float the idea — as he did in his equally disastrous interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday — that the pandemic would “disappear,” eventually: “The virus will disappear — it will disappear.”
Then he veered into the typical, hideous and bizarre Trumpian statements. He responded to a question about Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage women, by saying, “ I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach,” and, “I wish her well, frankly.”
Wishing well an accused child molester while trying to calm the country about a ferocious pandemic which he mismanaged and while Americans are dying? Really?
Trump finally did say people should “wear a mask” and that masks “do have impact.” But the fact that he’d spent months mocking masks, has refused to wear one except for a couple of times and was maskless and up close with his buddies at his DC hotel the other night, made this call completely hollow.
Any reporter who thought this was a new “tone” was trying to score points and retain access in an administration that is a train wreck. Perhaps the fact that, for the first time, this take wasn’t even remotely universal among the press, is a sign that even many in the media know Trump may be heading to an end.
In the meantime, we’ll have to put up with more of these self-absorbed, dangerous briefings, and, more importantly, vigilantly pay attention to all the other reckless and unconstitutional things Trump is doing as he tries to cling to power.