What’s a malignant narcissist to do when his primary source of personal gratification is deemed too perilous to continue. That’s the dilemma that Donald Trump is facing as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis puts an end to the cult rallies that feed his ravenous ego.
For many weeks Trump denied the obvious signs that the coronavirus was spreading and endangering people’s lives. So he continued to appear at the rallies that may have served as a breeding ground for more infections. But that’s no longer possible as state and federal guidelines are uniformly advising that people refrain from gathering in groups of more than ten. In many cases such gatherings are expressly prohibited. And since his travel has been curtailed, he hasn’t been able to hold court at his “Chopper Talk” sessions on the White House lawn either.
Consequently, the craving for adulation that consumes Trump was going unsatisfied until he decided to show up at the daily press briefings held by his Coronavirus Task Force. There he found himself the center of attention again as he disgorged his hallmark brand of self-exaltation and rancid invective. But his presence there is less than useless, it’s distracting and even destructive.
Trump’s tendency to express everything in frenetic hyperbole was evident in this morning’s press briefing. He spent an inordinate amount of time praising himself for his “tremendous” response to the current crisis, for the best economy ever, and other assorted imaginary achievements. He repeatedly – and falsely – claimed that no one ever thought that this virus could become so harmful, and that “There’s never been anything like this in history. Nobody has ever seen anything like this before.” (Note: whenever Trump says no one has seen/heard something, he means that he hasn’t). He said that, due to the virus, he views himself as a “wartime president,” apparently having forgotten that the U.S. has had troops deployed in three wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria) throughout his presidency.
Trump lashed out at his usual foes, particularly the media. He bashed the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, as dishonest. And in the same breath he claimed that “I know the the truth. And people out there in the world, they really don’t know the truth. They don’t know what it is.” This is his way of advancing the code of the cult: Only the cult leader tells the truth. Everyone else is lying or stupid. However, the people out there in the world seem better able to discern the truth than Trump would like. A recent poll shows that a broad majority of 60% don’t trust what Trump says about COVID-19.
When he manages to stay on topic, Trump’s coronavirus remarks focus predominantly on unrealistic, rosy scenarios and happy-talk wherein there has been nothing but incredible progress being made. That is not only false, it’s dangerous. It seduces people into a false state of security, believing that they don’t really have to alter their behavior or heed public warnings. What’s more, his presence produces more political rhetoric as he tries to twist every question into something he can exploit for partisan benefit.
Worst of all, Trump lies with abandon. He has told reporters at these briefings that millions of virus tests would be available by now (they aren’t), and that anyone who wants a test can get one (they can’t). He said that vaccines and treatments that will take more than a year to produce, would be available shortly. He invents partnerships with private entities that are later disclaimed. And he interjects vile bigotry such as his now frequent references to the “Chinese virus.”
Trump really needs to be quarantined from appearing at these briefings. He has nothing productive to contribute because he is so pitifully ignorant about the issues at hand. Of course, he regards himself as an expert on everything, so he ends up rambling incoherently about medicine, epidemiology, economics, sociology, and whatever else pops into his shrunken head.
The American people are justifiably worried about their welfare and that of their families and nation. Trump needs to appreciate this and suppress his ego for a while. Just leave these briefings to the experts so that we can all focus on getting through this. He can stay in his bedroom and watch more Fox News.
Unfortunately, that may be too much to ask of Trump. He is too mentally dependent on the attention he steals to think about the needs of anyone else. And that same lack of empathy prevents him from doing what’s necessary to lead the nation to the conclusion of this crisis. Hopefully, saner heads will prevail and take charge. if not, it’s gonna be long pandemic.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Here’s a portion of Trump’s aimless rambling at today’s press briefing.
— News Corpse (@NewsCorpse) March 19, 2020