On Wednesday Donald Trump unleashed one of his most bizarrely unhinged performances at the Coronavirus Task Force briefing (aka Trump Campaign Rally). He produced a fictional list of corporate executives he said were members of a new economic task force. He reiterated his delusional view that he has “total authority” and threatened to shut down Congress. And of course, he bragged about imaginary achievements and yelled petulantly at reporters. Then he stomped out in huff when he didn’t like the questions.
Trump’s presence at these briefings has been a waste of time from the start. He contributes nothing of substance, but distracts from the experts who actually have some relevant knowledge to impart to the public. Trump has proved that the only things he cares about are those things that advance his personal self-interest and assuaging his voracious ego. That was affirmed on Thursday as he took to Twitter with bitterly partisan posts and flagrant lies.
The first of Trump’s tweets was his celebration of a poll by the ultra right-wing Fox News wannabe One America News Network (OANN). This is the network that doesn’t have a big enough audience to be rated by Nielsen. It’s the network whose reporter was recently booted out of the White House briefings for violating social distancing guidelines, but who got a personal reprieve to stand in the back of the room by Trump’s press secretary (since fired), Stephanie Grisham. It’s a network that has even less credibility than viewers. But Trump promotes them because he can always count on them to kiss his – let’s say ring. He also uses them to needle Fox News when he doesn’t think they are being sufficiently flattering. So Trump tweeted this Thursday morning:
.@OANN Poll “Gives President Trump a 52% Approval Rating in North Carolina, and a seven point lead over (Sleepy) Joe Biden. The President also helps other Republican Candidates, including @SenThomTillis, who has a 4% lead over his Democrat rival.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2020
The first thing that makes this tweet significant is that no such OANN poll exists. This is another example of Trump mangling the facts to disseminate whatever “news” he believes will put him the best light, even if it’s fictional. It’s similar to his repeated – and false – claims that he has a 95% approval rating among Republicans. Trump often makes things up on the fly.
There does appear to be a poll that has numbers aligned to Trump’s tweet. It was conducted by the Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank in North Carolina. So even if Trump had gotten the reference correct, it is still not a reputable, non-partisan survey. The notoriously biased Rasmussen poll only has Trump with a 46% approval, 53% disapproval. What’s more, the Civitas results are hardly worth bragging about. The alleged seven point lead over Joe Biden still has Trump below 50% (49-42%). Nationally, Trump has taken a nosedive with the most recent Gallup poll showing a six point drop in approval and a nine point leap in disapproval.
To add another level of irrelevance, the poll was conducted from April 5-7, so it’s a week and a half old. A more recent poll of this North Carolina race by Public Policy Polling shows Biden with a small lead in the state (48-47%), and the Democratic candidate for the Senate, Cal Cunningham, well ahead of the GOP incumbent, Thom Tillis (47-40%).
Trump has also been obsessed with maligning his perceived foes, including, and especially, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of whom he has a mortal fear. He posted two tweets piling on as many derogatory adjectives as he could think of. He called her “crazy,” “weak,” “a poor leader,” “incompetent,” “a pathetic puppet,” and “third-rate.” The first tweet quoted the insults of Sean Hannity of Fox News. The second tweet accused Pelosi of being “responsible for many deaths.” It also accused her of deleting a tweet that she never actually posted.
In other words, Trump was suffering a severe bout of psychological projection. Because those are all characteristics that have long defined Trump himself. Particularly the one concerning responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths that are directly attributable to Trump’s criminal negligence, and incompetence. And to make matters worse, Trump is still insisting that he wants to “reopen” the country, despite the fact that every health expert says it would be disastrous and deadly to do so at this time. Not that Trump or his GOP confederates care.
For the perfect example of how callous, insensitive, and greedy they are, take a look at this clip of Dr. Oz on Hannity Wednesday evening saying that schools should be reopened now because the deaths of 2 to 3% of American children from the coronavirus would be an acceptable “tradeoff” to get the economy back on track. No, really. He actually said that while Hannity nodded approvingly. This is the so-called “pro-life” right-wing:
DR OZ: "Schools are a very appetizing opportunity. I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3%, in terms of total mortality. Any, you know, any life is a life lost, but … that might be a tradeoff some folks would consider." ? pic.twitter.com/aifMeKTsIv
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 16, 2020
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.