Trump’s Medical Quackery Exposes the Press’ Both-Sides Quackery

Last night, an increasingly desperate President went on live TV and advised that people might try ingesting disinfectant to cure COVID-19.

The comment has elicited justifiable uproar. It renewed questions about how long Trump’s medical experts, Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, can remain on stage while he touts junk cures (this video capturing Birx’s response is painful). It sparked a fascinating thread from former Special Envoy on ISIS, Brett McGurk, explaining how Trump’s instability makes it impossible to credibly advise him:

  1. You can’t stay above crazy: On any issue, the crazy will catch up to you
  2. There’s no policy: You’re always a Tweet away from all going sideways
  3. You can’t speak credibly: Since there’s no policy, nobody speaks credibly for our country
  4. Diplomacy is impossible: Foreign parties know that only Trump counts and he changes on a whim
  5. You may need to resign: In any senior role, your integrity will be tested

It generated a lot of attention on Trump’s outrageous comments and as a result shifted attention away from the fact that we’ve probably surpassed 50,000 deaths (though not in official counts, yet) and that Trump explicitly disagreed —  “I don’t agree with him” — with Fauci’s earlier comments that we’re not where we need to be on testing.

But it also elicited both sides reporting.

WaPo did a piece that called Trump’s suggestions as “medical musings,” put his suggestions high up in the story labeled as “bizarre,” like a nifty circus act, then called ingesting Lysol as only “potentially” dangerous.

It went on to air the FDA Commissioner, Stephen Hahn’s sycophantic excuse for Trump’s comments — just a conversation between an idiotic patient and his doctor, not the most powerful leader of the world seeding hoaxes on live TV — without noting that by apologizing for his boss, Hahn himself was refusing to do his job to keep us safe.

The WaPo treated this as a both sides thing, Lysol’s manufacturer and Sanjay Gupta arguing the partisan side of “science” against Trump and Hahn arguing the partisan side of, “miracle cures.”

WaPo isn’t the only one, though. NYT (by-lined by one of the journalists responsible for Mobile Bioweapons Labs in Iraq), too, treated the disinfectant and related UV ray questions as a matter pitting experts against the President.

President Trump has long pinned his hopes on the powers of sunlight to defeat the Covid-19 virus. On Thursday, he returned to that theme at the daily White House coronavirus briefing, bringing in a top administration scientist to back up his assertions and eagerly theorizing — dangerously, in the view of some experts — about the powers of sunlight, ultraviolet light and household disinfectants to kill the coronavirus.

[snip]

Experts have long warned that ultraviolet lamps can harm humans if used improperly — when the exposure is outside the body, much less inside. But bottles of bleach and other disinfectants carry sharp warnings of ingestion dangers. The disinfectants can kill not only microbes but humans.

NBC, too, pitched this as a dispute between Lysol and their own health expert, Vin Gupta, versus Trump.

There’s no dispute here!!!!

We don’t actually need to call Lysol (which is undoubtedly panicked that liability claims will undermine an otherwise welcome spike in sales) or consult experts about whether drinking disinfectant will hurt us. It’s something we learned as small children. The fact that outlets are treating this as a both sides issue is all the more troubling given that Trump’s statement clearly misrepresented what Acting DHS Undersecretary for Science and Technology William Bryan said in the briefing, which addressed how to kill the virus outside of the human body, not inside it. That is, outlets could cover the statements by describing them as a matter of Trump totally misunderstanding what he just heard — which is, itself, newsworthy — rather than presenting the efficacy of drinking poison as a matter open to debate.

What yesterday’s comments did — on top of indicate just how unhinged the President is getting as he realizes you can’t cheat your way out of a pandemic — is illustrate once and for all that, five years into covering Donald Trump as a national politician, some journalists still haven’t learned how to avoid being complicit in Trump’s dis- and misinformation. It may well show that not just Hannity, but even some in the so-called objective press, will own some responsibility for the idiotic choices that Americans make after listening to Trump. It certainly shows that it is high time for the press to treat the President’s ramblings as a problem unto themselves, not as anything conveying actual information.

VOA Africa correspondent Jason Patinkin made this point presciently in a long thread the other day by comparing how Ebola got covered — by journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo and internationally — with how COVID-19 is getting covered now. He asked,

Anyways, did media (DRC and intl) covering outbreak coddle conspiracy theorists with both sides-ism, and give nonstop coverage to people encouraging such theories? Did they breathlessly report unproven cures and vaccines? Did they gently describe armed groups as “protesters”?

He noted that presenting “verified, critical information” means that, yes, journalists will and should default to taking the side of public health.

Journalists in DRC’s ebola outbreak in some ways “chose” a side: the side of public health. It seems to me that many US journalists, so obsessed with false ideas of neutrality, have not chosen the side of public health. This is wrong.

It has always been wrong to treat Trump’s disinformation as one side of a dispute up for debate. It was wrong on Russia, it was wrong on Ukraine, it was wrong on climate, it was wrong on North Korea.

But doing so now may make journalists complicit in getting people killed.

Update: This NBC report explains why Trump was pushing these particularly miracle cures.

Update: NYT has slightly updated its story (though not entirely eliminating the both-sidesing), and deleted their especially bad both-sides tweet on it. Trump, meanwhile, claims that he was being sarcastic, a claim that conflicts with what his spox said earlier today, a claim that even Fox’s Bret Baier has debunked.

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174 replies
  1. harpie says:

    Jay Rosen tackles some of this in a thread, here [via Laura Rozen]:

    https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu/status/1253429526845026306
    5:04 PM · Apr 23, 2020

    A thread about a metaphor that increasingly misleads. I refer to the image of “exposure” as a description of what the press does, should do, or isn’t doing well enough. To expose wrongdoing, incompetence, or hypocrisy is to do good in journalism, right? Well, yes, but… 1/
    […]
    Democracy can die in broad daylight too. I doubt that Donald Trump can be further exposed, even though we need journalists to keep digging. A pandemic compounded by deliberate misrule doesn’t need to come to light. It has been revealed. Now we have to work on believing it. 20/END

  2. Ken Muldrew says:

    Birx: “He’s been so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data”

    You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

    • harpie says:

      That was a month ago:
      https://twitter.com/ddiamond/status/1243297890539364352
      6:04 PM · Mar 26, 2020

      White House coronavirus coordinator DEBORAH BIRX touts Trump’s response in Q&A yesterday on Christian Broadcasting Network.
      CBN HOST: How would you describe the job President Trump is doing?

      BIRX: He’s been so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data. [VIDEO]

      It seems that in the last month, [in McGurk‘s words]:

      THE CRAZY may have caught up with Dr. Birx.

      • Tom says:

        Oh sure, the President is attentive to the scientific literature, he just doesn’t read the warning labels on household cleaners.

      • Ken Muldrew says:

        Birx is no fool. A month ago, and long before that, she knew perfectly well that the president was intellectually incapacitated. Perhaps some day she will reveal the moral calculus that led her to become a lickspittle hack, shilling for a mad king.

        • Bardi says:

          Dr. Birx is acting like an abused spouse, making excuses for his behavior in public while attempting to sway him, apparently, perhaps, in private.

          • Rayne says:

            She’s us. We are the abused, he is the abuser. She’s our proxy.

            We’re just sitting here waiting for the next blow. Even the Israelis took to the streets while observing social distancing to protest against Netanyahu. But here we sit, complaining about Birx, letting her take the brunt of it.

            • Alan Charbonneau says:

              I’m willing to bet she will receive death threats about her body language being insufficiently deferential to Dear Leader. Fauci got slammed by Trumpnutters for Las month’s facepalm.

            • Alan Charbonneau says:

              I’m willing to bet she will receive death threats about her body language being insufficiently deferential to Dear Leader. Fauci got slammed by Trumpnutters for last month’s facepalm.

            • Duke says:

              “She’s us. We are the abused, he is the abuser. She’s our proxy.”

              Thank you for the above perspective. You gave words to ambient emotions of a nation under siege by a pandemic of abuse.

          • joejim says:

            But it’s not “like” she’s abused. She’s abused. Everyone in that room is abused. Trump careens into the room like Daddy coming home drunk after spending the grocery money at the bar on Friday night. He’s an impotent failure, so he’s going to pick some fights and throw some fists. NYT reported yesterday that one reason alone inspired his daily briefings, that he’s “invigorated” by attacking reporters. The briefings would be a wet dream for the Marquis de Sade.

            Apart from the fun of humiliating others, he’s intoxicated by disease and/or substance, and perpetuates his mania not only because mania feels good, but its an agent of pandemonium, and distracts from anything sober, simple. Anything obvious is his enemy. Cutting off immigration and threatening Iran, helps distract too.

      • Rayne says:

        Birx’s parsing is just so wow. Read that carefully — there’s no lie in what she says in that snip. The problem is that Trump has access to “scientific literature and the details and the data” but is utterly incapable of analyzing and using it appropriately.

        • bmaz says:

          This is what Fauci “tries” to do too. It is a hellacious tightrope to walk. It is easy to see the unease by a couple of people that are not as stupid as Trump. Think Fauci has done a better job than Birx. Then again, Fauci has been around and publicly known a lot longer. Fauci has a little more slack to play with.

          • Rayne says:

            And Fauci’s a man. It’ll be another half a lifetime or more before women in positions of authority are cut as much slack as men. Imagine if Birx had been more blunt like Fauci what would have happened to her. Something like “that woman in Michigan.”

            I’ll bet Birx’s role is to tag team Fauci depending on the media outlet. It wasn’t Fauci who has worked on HIV/AIDS who answered for Trump when Christian Broadcasting Network asked questions. She was assigned to respond to the bigots who are less likely to handle the truth with grace.

            • harpie says:

              I don’t [just can’t] listen to these things, but does Trump address Fauci by his first name [when he is there]?

            • errant aesthete says:

              Rayne,

              Your clarity in seeing what others often don’t, no matter how contrived, studied or nuanced it may appear; then taking the time to “note” it is a masterclass in critical thinking.

              Selected excerpts:

              She’s us. We are the abused, he is the abuser. She’s our proxy. We’re just sitting here waiting for the next blow [ ] …letting her take the brunt of it.

              [snip]

              Birx’s parsing is just so wow. Read that carefully — “there’s no lie” [emphasis mine] in what she says…

              [snip]

              Fauci’s a man. It’ll be another half a lifetime or more before women in positions of authority are cut as much slack as men. Imagine if Birx had been more blunt like Fauci what would have happened to her. Something like “that woman in Michigan.”

              I’ll bet Birx’s role is to tag team Fauci depending on the media outlet. It wasn’t Fauci who has worked on HIV/AIDS who answered for Trump when Christian Broadcasting Network asked questions. She was assigned to respond to the bigots who are less likely to handle the truth with grace.

              Seriously, well done.

          • mass interest says:

            Hasn’t Fauci been absent from the last few dog & pony shows? If so, why?

            I notice recently that his voice was quite hoarse.

  3. Raven Eye says:

    You could only hope that this was an SNL sketch…But no. You can’t make this stuff up.

    I had this vision of a magic UV capsule that Dr. Trump would slowly push up into my nasal passages and down my airway, gleefully killing the little viruses, anything else that happened to be there, and burning all that normally-protected tissue. (Makes you wonder if Trump has figured out why the awnings at the Florida properties fade faster than the ones in Scotland. “UV! Who would have guessed? Nobody knew…” Next thing we know, he’ll be suggesting we mix sun block with disinfectants to prepare for his UV treatment.

    Unfortunately, the poison control centers face an uncertain few days.

    • dude says:

      Why push it up your nasal passage? What about his?

      “Mr. President, are you willing to inject disinfectant or swallow a UV light bulb t demonstrate the medical safety of these procedures?”

    • harpie says:

      “Well, he should push that UV capsule right up where the UV don’t usually shine, if you catch my meaning…” – some movie

  4. Ruthie says:

    Certainly there are already deaths directly attributable to Trump’s cracked medical advice on hydrochloroquine.

    Let’s not forget, however, that journalists’ default to both sidesism during the Obamacare debates and discussions on the expansion (or lack thereof) of Medicaid by some states has also resulted in the death of tens of thousands of people.

    It’s not only the integrity of senior members of the Trump administration that are being challenged, but that of journalists as well. Many journalists seem appalled by Trump and see him as dangerous, and yet they largely fail to act on the implications of those beliefs. It seems likely that corporate interests are getting in the way. Perhaps, then, journalists should also be prepared to resign when the institutions they work for fail so completely.

  5. Badger Robert says:

    He is no longer aware that his nonsense stream of consciousness is hurting him. He pretends to be thinking its an external problem. So he is most likely living in denial now, though he must certainly know that he is afflicted. Thanks, again Ms. Wheeler.

  6. madwand says:

    I’m thinking the only people dumb enough to take lysol or UV lighting at high doses are those same people who reflexively support Trump. They are more likely to look at it like this: “at least he is making suggestions, at least he is trying, unlike those slugs in the deep state who are opposing him.” The only way this narrative changes is financial ruin or death attributed to Trump. Its the hard way because Trump supporters have given up on reality. This sort of remains me of the scene in “The Hunt for Red October” where the crew, offloaded to survival rafts, shout “look Captain is fighting the Americans” while in reality he was betraying the Soviets.

    A significant portion of Americans like those Russian sailors are buying into propaganda and manipulation and make no mistake they are giving their loyalty also. In fact, they are more likely to look at the bothsidism of the press, as articulated here, as a sort of tacit support for Trump policies, when raging condemnation and outrage is what the press should be articulating.

    Not sure what the fix is but journalists in the MSN are not serving the best interest of Americans by being fair to another side that is trying to kill you, tell it like it is!!!

  7. Pete T says:

    “What yesterday’s comments did — on top of indicate just how unhinged the President is getting as he realizes you can’t cheat your way out of a pandemic — ”

    The relentlessness of COVID-19 – including my assumption of its possible/probable raging comeback as the Trump’s get back to work “plan” with Billy Barr’s legal backup on states/municipalities doesn’t quite work out – is an analog to how one has to fight Trump’s crazy. The relentless pursuit of truth here and elsewhere, but especially here.

    Thanks EW.

  8. Yogarhythms says:

    Ew,
    Amazing pointillism. Expressing the portrait of President Trump so close you can smell the orange in his pores.
    Bess Levin, Dana Milbank, Alexandria Petri, take this opportunity to amplify humor quoting President Trump’s spoiled expressions.
    Five months into SARS-CoV-2 three year pandemic will a message demand a change? The Masters captured their moments. Marcy’s written portraiture is brilliant. Are we courageous enough to act?

    • emptywheel says:

      In THIS CASE I wouldn’t even go that broad. There’s been a great deal of good reporting on Trump’s failures on coronavirus, some even from political journalists. It’s just individual cases where the outlet insists everything is horserace.

      • BobCon says:

        That thread by Jason Patinkin is a good one, because you will find the kind of clear evaluation of foreign politics in outlets like the NY Times and NPR that are failing regularly when it comes to US politics. They are capable of good reporting, but the institutional culture fails when it comes to DC.

        A good tell is looking into the bylines of reporters and seeing what their assignments are. If the NY Times has someone like Haberman as the third byline on a story where the lead reporter is on the health beat and the second comes out of the investigations desk, there is a much better chance that the article is useful than if she is the sole byline.

        Although I think the presence of Peter Baker or Ken Vogel on a story almost always means something is going to be crooked.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Since the lethal years of Judith Miller, the Times has habitually hired WH reporters whose susceptibility to the false promise of access (especially during GOP administrations) leads to unnecessary compromises with the truth. And Dean Baquet’s non-leadership on that front fuels the Paper of Record’s long slide into being, if not complicit, then adjacent to the corruption it’s supposed to cover. Worst of all: the magnificent investigative reportage gets overshadowed by this rot.

          • Alan Charbonneau says:

            ‘Never accept a free ticket from a theater manager a free ride from the Chamber of Commerce or a favor from a politician. That way he said you will find that shaving in the morning can be a relatively agreeable pastime.”

            H.L. Mencken

  9. What Constitution? says:

    Some say that maybe everyone in a MAGA hat and carrying an AK-47 should give it a try, per Dear Leader’s medical advice. If they don’t die, at least there will be less chance of brain damage. Besides, you can drink Simple Green, right? Simple Green – Lysol – why not?

    This moment of abject stupidity and outright meanness courtesy of the President of the United States.

  10. Mooser says:

    Lucky me! 30 years ago when we bought this house, I found a “Whittaker Germicidal Light” (yup, that one) with a GE 4 watt ‘germicidal’ U-shaped bulb! The aluminium base and reflector are pitted, but it still works, dimly. I’m gonna keep it shining. Shine on, germicidal light!

  11. harpie says:

    I meant to check the WH transcript for the briefing this morning…but got sidetracked.
    CNN’s Kaitlan Collins did, though…and noticed a “big correction”:

    https://twitter.com/kaitlancollins/status/1253675777788448771
    9:22 AM · Apr 24, 2020

    The White House issued a pretty big correction for its transcript of last night’s briefing and what Dr. Birx said when President Trump asked if sunlight could kill viruses. [screenshots]

    I am inclined to think that the original was an attempt to rewrite history, but they got caught.

    • harpie says:

      The relevant part:

      Trump: Deborah, have you ever heard of that? The heat and the light, relative to certain viruses, yes, but relative to this virus?

      Dr. Birx: That is Not as a treatment. I mean, certainly fever – –

  12. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    As you have pointed out, the worst part of these interminable cantilevering press circuses is the rest of the news gets caught up on whatever idiotic thing Trump says. It draws attention away from the careful reporting looking at the medical, economic, and intelligence failures of the WH. It draws attention away from stories of the suffering of the infected and grieving. It drowns out coverage of the abject failure of the US medical insurance system, and the stark racial disparities in outcomes and access to tele learning.

    • drouse says:

      It drowns out any mention of the wholesale looting going on. The Fed has its own little thing going on and I haven’t really heard anything beyond vague promises of transparency.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I don’t think Trump thinks about what he says, other than whether it will make and keep him the center of attention. He does not care about consequences for others. If people get sick and die, too bad for them. He’s not responsible for suckers, any more than were Barnum & Bailey.

    Trump’s supporters care that he maintains power, because it maintains theirs and keeps the antichrist at bay (labor- and abortion-worshiping Democrats). Their “explanations” about what Trump means and what the Democrats are doing are distractions, too. They are set-ups to explain away Trump’s failures, and a way to blame Democrats for them. They are meant to curry favor with the king. And, as EW so ably points out, they distract from the numbers of the sick and dead, whose bodies properly belong at Trump’s feet..

    Trump supporters blame the shutdowns, for example, for depressing people and causing some to commit suicide. So, let’s re-open! Like any good propaganda, it’s partly true. A global pandemic is good at depressing people, too, as are running out of body bags, no testing, and mass graves in Central Park.

    Another good depressant is five decades of neoliberal corporate practice – backed up as fiercely by the Feds as any governor’s militia backed up Rockefeller against the Ludlow strikers. It treats people as disposable waste. That’s on Trump, too, as it is on many of his predecessors, patrons, and others in Congress. But let’s bothsider that away and talk about swallowing bleach.

    • Yancy says:

      Those people (as well as Trump & his administration) sure didn’t mind the mental and financial impacts of that other, first shutdown that truly was unnecessary – when Trump shut down the federal government in a snit to get billions for his stupid wall. Nobody’s health or safety or even their 401k’s were even endangered.
      It’s getting more and more difficult for me to want the US to be less polarized. The base and the GOP have made it perfectly clear to all who they are and what they value. A Trump defeat will not turn them into civilized people who care about the best interests of the country and their fellow citizens.

  14. BobCon says:

    The one thing I would add is that this dangerous framing extends to the level of editors.

    Editors add this kind of qualification all the time, they call reporters on the carpet when they fail to include it, and they base personnel decisions on which reporters uphold this kind of hedging.

    One of the uglier secrets about reporting is the level of access that editors give to the people they cover on a regular basis — and the opportunities they give to slant coverage in their favor. You will never hear about how members of the club — press secretaries, publicists and politicians — get to call up editors and push and bully and threaten for the both sides narrative, the elimination of context, and the burial of key information.

    If a piece in the news wildly misrepresents the truth about frontline nurses in Detroit, they can forget about getting to talk to anyone about it. But if Trump tells people to drink bleach, you can guarantee editors were hearing from his reps about how to interpret his remarks as soon as the words were out of his mouth, and nothing about their lobbying campaign would make it into the coverage. That would violate the rules of the game

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I wonder if the NYT having such a codependent access-based relationship with this admin comes into play? The NYT knows Trump pays close attention to their headlines, and the NYT political reporters know their access requires walking a delicate tightrope. Baquet seems to prize hagiography more than fixing their damned paper, and might be loathe to risk more accurate, but cutting, takes on the admin.

      Did you used to work in or near the media? Just curious, you have lots of interesting things to say about that field.

      • BobCon says:

        I’ve never worked directly for or with the press, but I’ve occasionally helped people in PR positions get info to the press, although nothing exciting.

        But I’ve picked up a bit here and there, and read a fair amount over the years about how they work. One of the things that has puzzled me is how fossilized the profession has gotten. When you read something like Joan Didion’s Insider Baseball, or even Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, you see how little has changed in the way the political press works over the past five decades.

        The leaps and bounds in IT ought to have had a much more transformative effect on the press than it has. The ability to track the records and statements of politicians, to compare past promises to actual results, and to build effective models of political behavior — tracking the actions of different people pushing legislation, for example — should provide the press with a powerful framework for explaining what is going on.

        It would be, essentially, an institutionalization of the kinds of things that MW does here — remembering details, keeping records, and then using powerful recall to synthesize threads. But instead we get the same old “he said this, he responded with that” reporting, free of history, of context, of serious analysis.

        All reporting is stovepiped, dependent on tropes, opaque in methods, and probably worst of all, lacking in self-reflection except in the shallowest ways, so that we see an almost palpable urge to repeat election coverage today exactly the same way as 2016. It’s like the management of GM in 1978 being determined to finish the rest of the decade operating as if it was 1968, 58 and 48.

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          “The leaps and bounds in IT ought to have had a much more transformative effect on the press than it has.”
          Perhaps there is just “too much information” coming over the transom for the average person to handle, let alone consider and then apply to daily life. I would argue that IT has had a transformative effect on the press, but perhaps not in the way we’d like. Who would have predicted–yes, there were warnings, but no scenarios laid out of the aftermath–4 years ago that the US would be bankrupted and stripped bare by a thoroughly unqualified Commander-in-Cheat and his possibly criminal retinue?

      • posaune says:

        Reminds me of the NYT’s after-the-fact misleading coverage of Jeffrey Epstein’s donation to MIT Media Lab and it’s head Joi Ito — who, incidentally was affiliated with NYT board of directors. Waaayyy too cozy relationships.

  15. John Paul Jones says:

    I think the part of the post that needs to be amplified, especially by the MSM, is that these protest groups, so-called, are, to an extent, armed, and that they are also, to an extent, being urged on by Republican donor groups – at least, according to Politico:
    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/24/tea-party-lockdown-coronavirus-206083
    Yes, it’s being reported on, but the whole bringing guns to a protest thing needs to be highlighted. The whole point of the weapons is not to “exercise my 2nd Amendment right” but to intimidate, to blackmail. But all to often, the MSM treats this kind of behaviour too as subject to both-sides-ism coverage.

  16. Fran of the North says:

    This lipsych from comedian Sarah Cooper of last night’s rally is a truly great sendup. Enjoy!

    https: //twitter.com/sarahcpr/status/1253474772702429189

  17. OldTulsaDude says:

    I wonder if journalism schools are teaching that false equivalency is no longer a logic fallacy but simply a disagreement over alternative facts?

  18. harpie says:

    The state of Maryland has placed a warning titled: DISINFECTANT on their website this morning. This is Gov. Hogan’s communications director:

    https://twitter.com/riccimike/status/1253722944963936256
    12:30 PM · Apr 24, 2020

    DISINFECTANT. A message from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency: [screenshot] [link]

    We decided to take the step of posting this alert after receiving more than 100 calls to our hotline.

    • harpie says:

      WH Press Sec says:
      https://twitter.com/kathrynw5/status/1253703603535175680
      11:13 AM · Apr 24, 2020

      The White House @PressSec claims the media is taking the president’s remarks about disinfectant out of context, so you can decide for yourself from the official White House transcript: [screenshot]

      Trump says:
      https://twitter.com/JoshNBCNews/status/1253727163590770691
      12:47 PM · Apr 24, 2020

      Just in – Trump says he was being “sarcastic” about injecting disinfectant into the human body

        • harpie says:

          Yep…and Trump’s got a history with that claim [and getting back to how he’s covered by the press]:

          https://twitter.com/poniewozik/status/1253731542356111360
          1:04 PM · Apr 24, 2020

          Trump has a long history of walking back bad comments as “sarcastic”; anybody who covers him and has a memory knows this; it’s not plausible and shouldn’t be reported as plausible.

          There’s a lot of worry in journalism about it hurting our credibility with audiences to say something like “the thing the president just said isn’t believeable.” There’s not enough worry about how it hurts our credibility when we’re unwilling to state the obvious. [links]

        • dude says:

          So isn’t the next follow-up question should be:
          “Mr. President, do think you should be speaking sarcastically about the medical response to a deadly virus that has already killed 50,000 Americans? What exactly are you being sarcastic about?”

            • Rayne says:

              There was zero sarcasm in what he was saying, especially when he’s looking to Birx and expecting zero refutation because he doesn’t permit it.

              And to exercise sarcasm about something this serious that some less-educated or cognitively-impaired Americans might interpret as legitimate is an abuse of power.

        • dude says:

          Or maybe it’s more effective for each reporter to begin each question with:
          “Mr. President, when you said (fill in the blank), were you being sarcastic?”

            • dude says:

              He doesn’t (as I am sure you know). I just think his “sense of humor” should be directly challenged in the context he is exercising it in. Reporters are certainly able to do this without making a narrative preamble–a labored introduction–to their questions. It just gives the man more points of diversion, or points of departure.

              Why would the man want to “see what happens” with the reporters by suggesting something outrageous?

              In what way does your sarcastic mischief with the Press, Mr. President, move the country forward in stopping the spread of Covid 19?

        • dude says:

          Start irritating him AND cutting-off his favorite escape route the second you hear him spout off nonsense.

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        It was blindingly obvious he wasn’t being sarcastic. However, Let us, for a moment, suppose it was true (as I’m sure Hannity and his ilk will do).

        What kind of defense is that? What in the hell would any President of the United States be doing engaging in sarcasm at a press briefing supposedly designed to provide useful updates to the American people during a pandemic?

        I’d like to ask the Trumpazoids if they think this a time to be joking and yanking the chain of reporters? He’s had 50,000 citizens die in less than two months and he is just “fucking with the press” and that’s okay?

        As I said, his statement that he was being sarcastic is nonsense, but the possibility of it being true is not any better. I’m not sure it’s worse, it’s hard to make a judgement on either of the two imbecilic scenarios as to the more sickening interpretation.

  19. Pete T says:

    As the saying goes, “You Can’t Fix Stupid”. Except maybe if you drink/inject Lysol or bleach.

    And I decline to link to a Ron White bit.

  20. harpie says:

    I have been following news about Dr. Rick White and his job.
    Today I read that the Trump administration fired him for resisting to award a $21 million contract to ALCHEM, a Fl. based lab for a study on:

    combining hydroxychloroquine with intravenous doses of famotidine, an anti-heartburn drug known by the brand name Pepcid.

    https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-04-23/government-scientist-pressured-trump-lab-contract

    I wrote more about that on the Kemp post, but felt I needed to inject it here, as well.

      • harpie says:

        Trump is SO susceptible [suggestible?] to all this crap…it’s JUST unbelievable! It’s very creepy and scary.

      • vicks says:

        These are “his people” after all.
        Speaking of The National Inquirer, this inquiring mind wants to know what are the screening guidelines in the White House that allows a letter like that get through to the president of the United States?

    • harpie says:

      […] In his letter, Mark Grenon told Trump that chlorine dioxide – a powerful bleach used in industrial processes such as textile manufacturing that can have fatal side-effects when drunk – is “a wonderful detox that can kill 99% of the pathogens in the body”. He added that it “can rid the body of Covid-19”. […]

      I’m sure the word “detox” is where Trump got:

      Is there a way we can do something, by an injection inside or almost a cleaning?

    • harpie says:

      Grenon styles himself as “archbishop” of Genesis II – a Florida-based outfit that claims to be a church but which in fact is the largest producer and distributor of chlorine dioxide bleach as a “miracle cure” in the US. He brands the chemical as MMS, “miracle mineral solution”, and claims fraudulently that it can cure 99% of all illnesses including cancer, malaria, HIV/Aids as well as autism.

      Could this be where the idea of using the famotidine originated?
      Also…Florida-based…

      • P J Evans says:

        More likely from its common use as an antacid and for “heartburn”. It won’t keep the bleach from damaging you.

        • ducktree says:

          Well, technically it is true that if one ingests bleach one won’t die of Covid-19, but the end result will be the same.

          • vvv says:

            What movie it was, I don’t recall, said something to the effect of:

            “He died naturally.”

            “Oh, yeah?”

            “Yeah, shot in the head – he died, naturally.”

                • vvv says:

                  I’ve handled some lead poisoning case on both sides; nasty stuff, cognitive issues, etc.
                  I wonder what kind of paint Daddy Fred spec’d for the residence – some leftovers from his tenements?

    • harpie says:

      The end of this Guardian article has a good summary of the Genesis II story…there’s a radio station; FDA issued a WARNING last AUGUST; another person on the station who pushes this crap is major BIRTHER Alan Keyes. Then there’s Bob Sisson who said: “Gonna meet Trump, it’s only a matter of time. President Trump’s gonna invite us up there, when he finds out about this stuff.”;

      Grenon said that 30 of his supporters have also written in the past few days to Trump at the White House urging him to take action to protect Genesis II in its bleach-peddling activities [From the FDA] which they claim can cure coronavirus.

      Recently Grenon wrote on FaceBook:
      “Trump has got the MMS and all the info!!! Things are happening folks! Lord help others to see the Truth!”

      • P J Evans says:

        Worse than snake-handlers, who at least don’t claim snake bites are a cure.
        (The only person I know who was bitten by a snake at least got bitten by a nonvenomous snake (accidental – he was cleaning the water dish before feeding the snake, and the snake had a different set of priorities.))

  21. harpie says:

    So, here’s BIRX with [as Marcy says on twitter] the THIRD explanation for what TRUMP was doing at the “briefing” yesterday:

    Trump was just CHEWING his CUD! [out loud]

    https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1253795175618482182
    5:17 PM · Apr 24

    Dr Birx defends Trump musing about disinfectant injections: “When he gets new information, he likes to talk that through out loud … I think he just saw the information at the time immediately before the press conference and he was still digesting.” [FOX, Watters’ World] [VIDEO]

    • MB says:

      I don’t have the (insert adjective here) to pursue to the “church” that is recommending ingestion of bleach as a miracle cure, but I am wondering what the dilution of active ingredients in the insane product is that they’re pushing. Chlorine used to keep swimming pool water clear is about 14% sodium hypochlorite as I recall and standard laundry bleach is 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. I wonder what the percentage of chlorine is in the thing they’re recommending. Maybe at some large level of dilution way below laundry bleach, it would only cause symptoms that need ER treatment as opposed to actual death…

    • madwand says:

      Birx has gone over to the dark side, which is the only way one survives with Trump. He needs her for respectability, I haven’t figured out what she needs him for, other than a salary and health benefits perhaps. At any rate she keeps defending the indefensible and she is on his team till she is not. However, it’s going to be hard to argue why she has accommodated him so often if she should, inevitably, find herself on the outside.

      • vvv says:

        Discussing this with a friend, we kinda optimistically concluded that she’s working from the inside to do the best real job she can, while sipping at the orange kool-aid when she must in order to stay in place.

        Gotta suck to be her.

        • orionATL says:

          i think that is right. no point in picking on birx with doing same for fauci. i suspect that both are doing what rod rosenstein did at doj in trying to protect the mueller work. this work won’t get you praise from anyone.

          i consider birx and fauci to be trying to protect the public. even if i’m wrong I would feel bad about beating on these two when there are major malevolent actors at work, e.g., alex azez and his motley crew at the top of hhs, who genuinely deserve criticism. birx and faucvi are pro’s at operating at the top of organization and not a damn one of us has any idea what it is like to work in this caldron. but ask jim mattis about it.

  22. Matthew Harris says:

    A friend of mine and I were talking about precautions against Covid-19 the other day and he said something that I thought made a lot of sense: individually, we might be overreacting, but as a community, we might be underreacting. Sitting down on a park bench probably isn’t a danger to me, but if people are collectively going to parks and touching lots of things, it is a risk.

    Fauci and Birx are in a position where there actions can save tens of thousands of people or more. For them to protest because Trump likes to ramble is an overreaction. But for them to do nothing while every sense of reality and truth is eroded is an underreaction. And whatever they hope to accomplish, it doesn’t look like it is working.

    This goes back further: those of us who followed the Russia case were “overreacting” to certain things. Did it matter if a relatively low-level campaign advisor like George Papadopoulos deleted some Facebook messages? But while we were “overreacting” to each new indictment in the case, the nation at large was underreacting to what was an obvious corruption of legal and political responsibility.

    So what comes out of this is that society needs to learn to overreact at times. Just like right now we are (in places, at least), stopping Covid-19 by refusing to engage in activities that might be even distantly dangerous, politically and socially we need to learn to treat lies and deceit as poison.

    Yes, Fauci and Birx should resign. Not because of one thing that Trump said, but because he has managed to distort reality to the point where nothing can be done.

    • orionATL says:

      “… Fauci and Birx are in a position where there actions can save tens of thousands of people or more. For them to protest because Trump likes to ramble is an overreaction. But for them to do nothing while every sense of reality and truth is eroded is an underreaction…”

      they are “in a position to save lives” but they should resign? how stupid can you get?

      this comment of yours is absolute feel-good, pious, verbal baloney. you clearly have no idea what these two are doing or why.

  23. MattK says:

    Long time listener, first time caller, as they say. I’m not sure if this has been covered, but Dr. Birx chose to give her first response to the “disinfectant” imbroglio to that esteemed journalistic outlet “Watter’s World” on Fox. I may be naive, but why did she do that? And the sound bites of her appearance have circulated, and she obviously gave the interview before Trump gave his “sarcastic” explanation. Doesn’t she finally have to resign, at this point?

    • vicks says:

      I’m not sure if you mean she needs to resign because her talking points didn’t line up with Trump’s or that she is a sell out?
      Perhaps I am romanticizing but I look at her and Dr. Fauci as experts that are 100% committed to getting us out of this mess, disguised as members of the Trump team.
      They know Trump doesn’t trust them, so just like an under cover cop will take a drug to not blow his cover, Birx will go on Fox “news” and sell her soul if it means she can push on another day.
      Birx really blew it yesterday.
      Fauci is much better at this game.
      Can you imagine where we would be if they got fired an replaced with whoever is up next for Trump’s hand picked dream team?

      • orionATL says:

        yep.

        no, you are not romanticizing at all.

        those two hanging in there working with an impetuous, ignorant fool inappropriately confident in his inane guesses about reality. this is what billions do to the brain and why the intellectual arrogance of billionaires is so dangerous to their society.

        • P J Evans says:

          The idea that he’s immune to consequences – that’s the alleged billions at work. Without that money, he’d have gotten a police record in his teens – assault, battery, that kind of thing – and probably ended up in prison.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump exposes himself to few he can’t control. As C-in-C. the brass would be hard-pressed to say no, and cadets would have no ability to refuse an order. Without Trump, of course, there would be no reason to bring those cadets so alarmingly close to each for an extended period of time.

      Trump is likely to force them to listen to his fantasies for a couple of hours. The resulting sickness will likely be kept secret. You can bet, though, that parents will be pissed. They may have accepted the dangerous character of their children’s career. But they expect the brass to spend their lives grudgingly, not in response to the whimsy of a deranged and desperate liar.

  24. e.a.f. says:

    On one level I could not stop laughing. here was the Pres. of the US suggesting people drink disenfectant as a medicine. OMG, he really needs to go to the place they put people who are old and dangerous to themselves or the public. I’ve never met a toddler who didn’t’ know if you touch that kind of stuff the parental unit will put you in your crib and close the door or in your play pen or slap your tiny delicate hand. Guess there are hundreds of millions of toddlers around the world who now wonder why they get the time out treatment while donni gets a pass. Its just not fair.

    Still the Cabinet hasn’t section 25ed him. After that, we can only hope he tries drinking some of that stuff himself. Yes, that does make me wonder. there is kemp who thinks people ought to open every thing up but he stays safe in his own office/home. we have trump suggesting people drink poison but takes a pass on it himself. what is the matter with these boys? aren’t people dying fast enough for them? do they have stock in funeral homes? How nuts are they? How nuts is trump. the media who then goes on to discuss it are out of their minds they don’t go on air suggestion people take heroin or start doing opium, but they talk about donni suggesting they drink poison like it might be o.k.

    Oh, thank god we have Trudeau, I don’t care how much fun they make of his socks, his out fits in India, etc. but I know the man would never suggest we drink bleach. Well he does have 3 little kids and a sensible wife. Even our dumbest premier wouldn’t suggest this.

    If nothing else it must be embarrassing for Americans to have a President who suggests drinking bleach to cure something. I do know their have been “witch doctors” who suggest some bizare cures, but the president of the U.SA. some one get the people in the white jackets.

    • skua says:

      A national leader popularizing the ingestion of poison, as part of a long string of lies and deception, would be a sign of a degenerating state.

      What does living in a failing state call for?
      Checking on the reasonableness of priorities and method, even seeking input from trusted friends more remote from the failing system, might be useful and a good use of socially-distanced time.

  25. vicks says:

    Not sure where to put this, and sorry, I don’t usually cut and paste so I never took the time to learn how those pretty blockings are done,
    I got this email from my bank just a few minutes ago and clearly the people running our country don’t have the savvy (or owe too much political debt?) to include the most basic fine print in an agreement that gives away billions of dollars of taxpayer money, and, fun fact, the loan application had more questions about citizenship than if the applicant really needed the loan.
    I’m also wondering if this is a sign the Trump administration has decided to dump the responsibility for their designed for crime program on the banks, and if so, what price will the big banks be willing to pay for 1% interest rate they had to fight so hard for?
    FYI #1 (below)was all you needed to say “yes” to to qualify for the loan,
    Obviously it is worded so loosely that ANY business could find a way to justify asking for the money

    New Guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program

    Clarification of the economic need requirement “to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant”

    Business Name: “redacted” .

    “We continue to work hard to prepare as many applications as possible for processing when the SBA begins taking new applications. However, the SBA recently issued new guidance that we want to communicate to customers whose application is in process as well as those who have already received funding.

    The new guidance strengthens some of the language regarding qualifications for a Paycheck Protection Program Loan. Specifically, we would like to remind you:
    1. When you applied you certified that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.”
    2. You have the opportunity to withdraw your application if you do not feel you meet this criteria.
    3. If you’ve already been funded, and you believe you do not meet this criteria, you can repay your loan by May 7, 2020 and the SBA will treat that repayment as being in good faith.

    If you cannot certify and want us to stop processing your application or you want to return your funding, you’ll need to follow the instructions at the bottom of this email.
    Read the Important Information below before you make any decisions. Please be sure to read the FAQ shown below in its entirety and, if necessary, consult with your counsel or advisor:
    31. Question: Do businesses owned by large companies with adequate sources of liquidity to support the business’s ongoing operations qualify for a PPP loan?
    Answer: In addition to reviewing applicable affiliation rules to determine eligibility, all borrowers must assess their economic need for a PPP loan under the standard established by the CARES Act and the PPP regulations at the time of the loan application. Although the CARES Act suspends the ordinary requirement that borrowers must be unable to obtain credit elsewhere (as defined in section 3(h) of the Small Business Act), borrowers still must certify in good faith that their PPP loan request is necessary. Specifically, before submitting a PPP application, all borrowers should review carefully the required certification that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.” Borrowers must make this certification in good faith, taking into account their current business activity and their ability to access other sources of liquidity sufficient to support their ongoing operations in a manner that is not significantly detrimental to the business. For example, it is unlikely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets will be able to make the required certification in good faith, and such a company should be prepared to demonstrate to SBA, upon request, the basis for its certification.
    Lenders may rely on a borrower’s certification regarding the necessity of the loan request. Any borrower that applied for a PPP loan prior to the issuance of this guidance and repays the loan in full by May 7, 2020 will be deemed by SBA to have made the required certification in good faith”

    It goes on with a couple paragraphs of fines and codes…

  26. 200Toros says:

    Thank you for the great work here, as usual!

    I too think the MSM has vastly understated the importance of this death-inducing advice from trump. I have watched many clips and transcripts, and what I think is clear, is that what set the hell-beast off, is that when he heard that there is this magical substance called “disinfectant” that KILLS viruses on contact, that was a Major Revelation for him, of epic proportions! One might even say an epiphany! HE DID NOT KNOW that disinfectants existed! This was completely NEW information to him, and it seemed important, and he fixated on it, to the detriment of us all, but particularly his idiotic base, most susceptible to killing themselves by following his idiotic advice.

    We have this stuff called “disinfectant”,(big, multi-syllabic, impressive word for him), that KILLS viruses on contact??? Well WTF – let’s just use that stuff to kill it – just drink it, inject it, snort it, whatever! Today he said he instructed the big, powerful, tremendous labs to study, for the first time, the effect of disinfectants on – wait for it – cleaning your hands!

    THIS LETHAL IDIOT HAS NEVER HEARD OF HAND SANITIZERS! Deep into a global pandemic, he has never heard of disinfectants and hand sanitizers!!! He is barely aware of soap! (Much to Melania’s chagrin) This idea of disinfectants and hand sanitizers is a completely new idea to him, and it blows his mind (or single functioning brain cell) that there are things that can kill viruses and germs so easily, outside the body!

    THIS IS THE REAL STORY: Trump is unaware of the most basic household cleaning products found in virtually every American home.

    I think this episode has conclusively proven that the 25th Amendment is, unfortunately, irrelevant.

    Lastly, doctor wife says the household cleaning products companies freaked out last night with rushed disclaimers and PSA’s because while their bottles all warn against “accidental ingestion” of product, NONE of the warnings say not to INJECT the product, since no one ever imagined anyone could be so utterly stupid to do such a thing (except the current POTUS), so they are freaking out on liability issues. “We never explicitly warned them not to inject bleach into their veins, oh lord are we in trouble?”

    Unfortunately, medical professionals do have experience with the effects of injections of disinfectants, from people trying, and succeeding, to commit suicide from doing just that.

    The one thing you can count on – Trump will always do the worst possible thing, in any situation, to hurt the maximum amount of people.

    • vvv says:

      Reading about the companies freaking about the INJECT thing, my prediction is trump will next try to – if you will – kill two birds with one Roger and, I mean, one stone, and next recommend that we vape diesel fuel.

      See, diesel fuel burns hot enough to sterilize but not as explosive as gasoline but can still use up some of the oil overstock and also support the vape industry that Kushner is willing to buy into.

      • bmaz says:

        Lol, this is why corporations have general counsels. To issue immediate disclaimers in ninety point type. NO! DON’T DO WHAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES JUST SAID, DON’T DO THAT!

        And certainly do not inject it. It will not “cleanse” the body of anything, much less cancer or Covid.

        Will note, however, that when younger I and a group of friends used to go on pretty extended (like 3-7 days) hikes in various extremely remote places. Even in desert places, like the Superstition Mountains for instance, there are natural springs, but there may be bacteria and impurities in the water you find at them. So every backpack had either halazone tablets or a small medicine dropper of Clorox. A halazone tab or a couple of drops of Clorox in a quart of water, and a few minutes later, you have potable water. Sure, it tastes a little like drinking mild pool water, but you don’t get dysentery, which is a very good thing out in the middle of nowhere. It will not cure your cancer or coronavirus infection though.

        • Chetnolian says:

          Your mention of the Superstitions made me sad, you know why!

          Surely anyone ;listening to Trump without a massive interest i his success has known for months or indeed years that he is, shall we say, intellectually challenged? It always mattered, just not so much as now. I watch from afar with a jaw which can drop no further.

          • bmaz says:

            I do know exactly why! And it saddens me too. It may be delayed, but I hope that visit happens soon.

        • Max404 says:

          Around 1956 our dad took my brother and me regularly to visit a quite elderly Barney Barnard at the B-bar-B ranch in the Superstitions. Dad worked for a veterans association and Barney was a WWI veteran who my father helped. We had barbeques and Barney played his guitar and sang old cowboy songs. His story was that the wagon train that he was part of as a young boy was ambushed, but the Apache took him in as a child and made him a blood brother. He was raised to adulthood by them. Who knows how much truth was in that but it worked with me.

          I was about 5 and usually cringed in the back seat as we wound our way through the dirt roads deep into the Apache reservation to Barney’s stone house which he built with his own hands, being petrified that the Apaches would attack our Ford. My brother thought I was stupid. Once we got to the ranch and good old Barney took me onto his knee and sang songs I was OK.

          Bmaz, that was nice of you to rekindle that memory.

          Here’s Barney:

          https://lost-dutchman.com/dutchman/entries/bport.html

            • Max404 says:

              After I grew up, I realized how lucky we were to have actually met a real-live cowboy. Barney was born probably in the 1880’s, my guess. That was the tail end of the cowboys, before it all became Hollywood. His book (pamphlet) about the Lost Dutchman sold lots of copies and we had one. I guess it’s with my brother still but I will have to check. I also spent my youth camping and hiking all over Arizona, I loved it, learned desert survival techniques, and once almost trampled on a Gila Monster. Luckily I saw it first and slowly backed away. That was on South Mountain, Phoenix. As Arizona became heavily populated it kind of broke my heart as nature succomed to air conditioning-induced humidity and horrific air pollution caused by millions of automobiles. But I did drink from the Hassayampa River, which means, as legend has it, that I will someday return to Arizona.

          • madwand says:

            Thanks for sharing, when you grow up in the east you basically know nothing of this. On my last flight to the west coast, first time I had a window seat in 20 years I was just amazed at the expanse of land. It takes a special breed of man to survive. I’m sure Barney was one of them.

            • Max404 says:

              If you can believe Barney’s wagon train story, for sure. I believe it ! But also the next generation, that of my father, was strong as well. He was a medic in the Army, had countless comrades die in his arms, yet he never uttered a bad word about the Japanese while recounting only happy stories from his time island-hopping in the Pacific. I only found out later what he went through. He refused to transmit any hate to the next generation. That in itself was a sign of incredible moral strength. When the next generation had to find its own strength to resist the immoral war in Vietnam, he stood by us.
              After what felt like a hiatus in moral fortitude exemplified by the ones who grew up under Reagan and following, it seems many of the young ones now have woken up and are ready. Heaven knows they need to be tough.

        • 200Toros says:

          bmaz that sounds like great memories, great adventures! Yep, I still carry iodine tablets in my pack to this day. We are big campers, but these days if we run out of water, we use filtration systems, rather than add anything to the water.

        • P J Evans says:

          We had halazone tablets when we went camping in the Yosemite back country in the late 50s, long before it required permits and scheduling months ahead. Lots of critters out there – but you get a few miles out, and no people, no boomboxes, dark at night.

        • Eureka says:

          No one wants the beaver fever!

          We carried iodine tablets, surely some long- dead ones are lingering in the old packs.

      • orionATL says:

        well, this might not be do bad an idea for prez to pursue. it would certainly have the effect of insuring that a large number of Americans with breathing/lung issues never get covid-19 and die 🙃.

    • P J Evans says:

      Whatever Trmp is (and he’s a lot of things, but not someone who should give advice on *anything*), he’s not a germophobe. If he were, he’d have been masked and gloved for the last three months.

  27. Ken_L says:

    It’s more accurate to say that “five years into covering Donald Trump as a national politician, some journalists still haven’t” come to terms with the reality there’s a maniac in the Oval Office. Because if they did, the moral obligation they would face would overwhelm them.

  28. Tom says:

    To be fair to the President, he didn’t actually suggest that people start ingesting or injecting disinfectants into their bodies or applying UV light or heat to themselves as ways of combating the COVID-19 virus. Instead, he was recommending to Bill Bryan and Deborah Birx that he thought these were ideas worth researching in the fight against the pandemic. From the way Trump spoke, it seemed as if he had discussed this topic earlier with Bryan and Birx and they had apparently humoured him by agreeing to look into his proposals rather than tell him how dangerously goofy they were. The result was that Trump made himself look foolish when he described his earlier discussion with Bryan and Birx in front of an audience who don’t carry the burden of having to tolerate his nonsense every day. I wonder now whether Trump feels he was set up by his medical experts. The President may wish Bryan and Birx had given him their honest opinion in the first place before the press briefing, but the ridicule he’s received is only the natural consequence of the chaotic, close-minded, and excessively deferential working atmosphere he has created among his staff and those around him.

    I also think Trump wanted to burnish his self-image as a “very stable genius” by portraying himself as the intellectual peer of people such as Birx and Bryan, as someone who is “totally into that world, which I find very interesting” and capable of engaging with medical experts on an equal level in discussions about the pandemic, even to the point of having his own ‘creative’ solutions to offer.

    It’s also obvious that the President is still hoping for some quick and easy antidote to the coronavirus, some cheap and simple deus ex machina medical solution that will rescue himself, his Presidency, and the economy as they look to be circling the drain.

    • orionATL says:

      why in the world would one want to be “fair” to this congenital liar and mindless goofball of a president who slipped into office to curse the nation with his presence?

      your argument is the same one the president’s spokeswoman made a day after the president was skewered for his inane comment. blaming his advisors for the blathering comment of a 72-year old adult who sure as hell should know better is weak tea indeed.

      • Tom says:

        I’m willing to substitute the idea of being “accurate” about what Trump said as opposed to being “fair”. Also, I’m not making excuses for the President. He’s responsible for his own loonie utterances just as he’s responsible for imposing a leadership style that encourages subordinates to burn incense at the altar of Trump and scatter rose petals in his path rather than provide him with honest opinion and cold, hard facts.

    • posaune says:

      Question: Is Bill Bryan the dog breeder? My teenage son said they hired him as a backup hair stylist for the president.

      • Tom says:

        Bill Bryan isn’t the dog breeder; it’s an aide to Alex Azar named Brian Harrison. But hey, if you’re not going to draw the line at rat-fuckers, then why exclude dog breeders from getting in under the Big Top.

      • vvv says:

        LOL! The name is “Brian Harrison” …

        Why Labradoodle creator regrets breeding the ‘Frankenstein monster’
        Wally Conron, 90, says his creation allowed “unethical, ruthless people” to breed the dogs and “sell them for big bucks.”
        ht tps://www.today.com/pets/why-labradoodle-creator-regrets-breeding-frankenstein-monster-t163427

    • Eureka says:

      Your opening statement forgets key elements of the Mueller+ investigations: Trump states something like a fact, a good idea, a state of being, and those around him are expected to act accordingly.

      Recall per testimony from Michael Cohen — and countless other examples — that this is *precisely* how Trump directs people to do things, as a matter of how he speaks: implicitly, like a mob boss.

      Add-in here that he was apparently motivated to sell one of his brother-in-birtherism’s products, and that — generally — we all know how social media operates around this as well, including so-called tacit +/- ‘passive’ endorsements via retweets and likes and such (by everyone from Trump principals to the right-wing bot army).

      I would say that this very press conference (the whole of his presidency, truly) evinces that this is a successful method of Trump’s. No one did publicly tell him to STFU to his face. He has to be ‘handled’, else the ‘tantrums.’

      Also, in the hypothetical you gave, it’s just as plausible that they told him NO, if gently, and he was using the podium to put them on the spot, or to simply to launder his grift-favors through their professional reputations.

      So to be fair to the well-established record of how Trump operates (to our unending detriment), it kind of reads like concern trolling to “To be fair”-‘splain this situation.

      Of course I know you are not a concern troll ;) and wouldn’t intend it that way. It’s just that this is one of the key problems with media-based or other assessments of Trump’s behavior: using the typical, rational frames that are traditionally applied to (who we believe/d to be) fair-minded actors in the public space are instead giant wastes of time and mental resources when dealing with Trump. Generally.

      • Eureka says:

        Adding: It seems like it was only Lysol et al.’s fear of liability (and attendant public statements) that put a stop to this latest of Trump’s “directions”: as far as I know, the hydroxychloroquine hustle remains ongoing (in trials and off-label use), escalating evidence of its harm*/inefficacy to the contrary.

        i.e. no way for Trump to have known that this latest of his gambits would have been shut down so swiftly by corporate America.

        *particularly in combo with azithromycin, per NIH’s recent recommendation against use of the combo

  29. Max404 says:

    I think you are being too nice. Trump is a lazy jerk, one of those assholic legacy frat-boys who got by thanks to their trust fund and connected fathers who dumped cash on the college endowment. Then he came of age just when stupidity and being an asshole became something of value in the twisted post-Vietnam War America. Even total morons could make a fortune in that period on leveraged real estate and he managed to lose a fortune. Enter reality television, the apex of stupidity-glorification and one of the dumbest people on earth became a hero to a whole cohort of dumb shits. Remember the film “Idiocracy” ? Google it.

    Yesterday the idiot shit in his pants at the idea of answering some or 50 questions from intelligent reporters and he snuck off like the loser he knows he is. Of course he dragged this coterie off stage as well, because if he can’t answer questions, neither can they. With one simple exit he completely undercut the already tenuous rationale for his current reality show. Now he is totally geforkled. Word has it he will not be having a “briefing” this weekend at all, and his handlers are talking about doing it once a week from now on. Weak ! Not strongly ! Weak !

    I suggest the journalists, if they are not allowed to ask questions, just stay away. I myself was so disappointed. I stopped watching the shit show a while ago, but I wanted to see this one, to see him get roasted by one woman reporter after another. He ruined my evening by leaving ! Off the air, you’re toast ! Bye !

    • Tom says:

      Too bad the Trump Show couldn’t be cancelled in mid-season as the Democrats tried to do this past winter. Then maybe we could just have six months of Obama reruns until November.

  30. Badger Robert says:

    His performance is the essence of dementia. Not only is he mixing outside information with careful briefings, but he can now maintain the delusion that he is a genius. In any other setting the family or his board members would tell him to sit down and be quiet.

    • Jenny says:

      “… a very stable genius …”

      “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart,” the President continued. “Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star … to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius … and a very stable genius at that!” Jan 6, 2018

    • RobertJ says:

      I wonder if there is something else. I’m reminded of the account where Hermann Goering suggested that railway locomotives could be made out of concrete to save steel.

      • Tom says:

        Well, in WW II the British had an idea to build an aircraft carrier out a mixture of wood pulp and ice for service in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. Preliminary experiments were carried out on Lake Louise and Patricia Lake in Alberta from 1943-’44 under the direction of the National Research Council of Canada, but the project was eventually cancelled due to rising costs.

  31. Zinsky says:

    Reckless, irresponsible and shameless. For a president so completely lacking in self-awareness and mature thinking, this is a new low, even for him! Since the Senate won’t impeach this wretched man, can’t Mike Pence find the good sense and/or balls to 25th Amendment this derelict?

  32. harpie says:

    WILLIAM BRYAN

    1] strong>Oct. 10, 2018 [NYT]
    Trump Nominee Draws Scrutiny for Ties to Ukrainian Energy Interests
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/10/us/politics/william-bryan-homeland-security.html

    And as the team in Ukraine prepared for its second winter in 2015, some Ukrainian and American officials began questioning whether Mr. Bryan was carrying water for Mr. Akhmetov.

    [This article reviews that Akhmetov is the oligarch for whom Manafort worked in Ukraine, from 2005-2015.
    The mention of corruption in Ukraine made me think of Marie Yavanovich and Alexander Vindman…and of course, Mueller and impeachment.]

    2] April 24, 2020 [CNN]
    Homeland Security official who detailed effect of temperature on coronavirus isn’t a scientist but has a long military background https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/23/politics/who-is-bill-bryan-dhs/index.html

    […] As the Department of Homeland Security senior official performing the duties of the under secretary for Science and Technology, Bill Bryan holds an influential perch with far-reaching authority over research, development and testing at the agency as well as for first responders across the country.

    He serves in an acting position, having not been confirmed by the Senate to the post.

    Before joining the agency in 2017, Bryan held a number of leadership roles at the Department of Energy and Department of Defense, and served 17 years of active military service in the Army and three years in the Virginia National Guard, according to his Department of Homeland Security biography. […]

    “far reaching authority” made me think of Dr. Rick Bright

    Bright’s ouster shines light on months of HHS turmoil
    4/23/20 [I’ll put the link in the next comment.]

    […] Bright also came under fire recently for what others saw as unilateral decision-making. A person familiar with the dynamic said this likely wouldn’t have bothered others in a normal time, but was seen as subversive given the pandemic. Bright had the authority to unilaterally select which companies BARDA would give funding to pursue a certain product. […]

      • orionATL says:

        there are two things about this story that really rankle:

        1. this business of dr. bright being a problem in his office is typical cover-your-ass lying by higher hhs officials, the standard line when a person is fired for conflict with higherups. bright’s evaluation last year was sterling. any complaint that he wasn’t happy with some (or maybe one) employees smells, coming post hhs’ firing action.

        2. president trump is churning leadership all over government, demoting and dismissing leaders in an effort to end the overt rebellion against his incompetent leadership. losing leadership due to an perpetually quarrelsome, punative leader is a serious matter. our president has moved well beyond mere incompetence into the realm of disastrous leadership, highly damaging to nation security, particularly, where the deadly corona virus epidemic is concerned.

  33. Doug Fir says:

    James Fallows at The Atlantic isn’t afraid to call out the Lier-in-Chief:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2020/04/2020-time-capsule-16-disinfectant/610720/

    “The next day, Trump claimed that he was being “sarcastic” and only joking with the comments. This is his standard last line of defense when caught in a particularly egregious statement. For instance, he says his call on “Russia” to release Hillary Clinton’s emails had just been a joke. That excuse was a lie, and anyone who saw the “disinfectant” video knows he is lying about that now.”

  34. orionATL says:

    “the press’s both-sides quackery”

    now that is a clever, prescient critique, one of the best i’ve come across in a while.

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