Lysol and UV Rays: Running a Pandemic Like a Reality TV Show

After news outlets wrote their both-sides stories about the President’s musings about ingesting Lysol, and after they mapped out the four different excuses Trump offered on Friday — he told you to check with a doctor (Kayleigh McEnany); he was just joking (Trump himself); Trump was just thinking out loud (Dr. Birx); it’s the briefer’s fault (anonymous officials), several outlets set out to figure out how it came to be that the President of the most powerful country in the world went on live TV and suggested it might be a good idea to ingest cleaning supplies.

The NYT discovered that some of Trump’s advisors claim (anonymously in the NYT version, but named as Mark Meadows and Kayleigh McEnany by CNN) to have realized that allowing acting DHS Undersecretary for Science at William Bryan was going to be a mistake even before it happened. But Mike Pence liked the pretty pictures and good news he offered, so it went into the briefing.

Others inside the administration raised questions about why Mr. Bryan, whose background is not in health or science, had been invited to deliver a presentation. Mr. Bryan, whose expertise is in energy infrastructure and security, is serving in an acting capacity as the head of the department’s science and technology directorate.

Mr. Bryan served 17 years in the Army, followed by yearslong stints as a civil servant at the Defense and Energy Departments. The latter role led to a whistle-blower complaint accusing him, in part, of manipulating government policy to further his personal financial interests, and then lying to Congress about those interests.

The United States Office of Special Counsel, a federal agency that investigates whistle-blower complaints, asked the Energy Department last year to investigate the accusations against Mr. Bryan. In January, the Senate returned his nomination to the White House.

Mr. Bryan was invited by the vice president’s office to coronavirus task force meetings on Wednesday and Thursday to talk about a study that his department had done relating to heat and the conditions in which the coronavirus can thrive or be dampened. On Thursday, Mr. Bryan presented a graphic to the room, according to four people briefed on the events.

Mr. Pence’s advisers wanted Mr. Bryan to brief the news media on his findings, but several West Wing staff members objected, partly because they were concerned the information had not been verified.

Before Mr. Bryan took the lectern in the White House Briefing Room, Dr. Birx and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force, made a few revisions to his presentation, officials said.

As he listened to Mr. Bryan, the president became increasingly excited, and also felt the need to demonstrate his own understanding of science, according to three of the advisers. So Mr. Trump went ahead with his theories about the chemicals.

CNN described how Trump didn’t attend either of the task force meetings where Bryan presented his findings, but nevertheless ad-libbed a response after Bryan delivered his presentation.

President Donald Trump was absent from the Situation Room on Wednesday when William Bryan, the acting head of science at the Department of Homeland Security, presented the findings of a new study to the White House coronavirus task force.


When Bryan arrived Thursday with a camera-ready presentation, Trump again wasn’t at the 3 p.m. ET coronavirus task force meeting, the sources said. But in the minutes before Trump’s planned early evening news conference, Bryan quickly explained his findings to the President in the Oval Office.

Moments later, Bryan was standing at the White House podium explaining how sunlight, ultraviolet rays and disinfectants — such as bleach and alcohol — could shorten the half-life of coronavirus.

But when Bryan’s explanation ended, things went sideways. As his health advisers looked on expressionless, the President started lobbing questions about whether light or disinfectants could be used inside the human body to cure coronavirus.

Trump and the White House spent the next 24 hours trying to rationalize the comments while health departments reminded Americans that ingesting bleach is lethal.

The really important detail from the CNN article, however, is that Trump doesn’t actually attend many of the Task Force meetings, which are held in the Situation Room. He attends maybe one a week, and doesn’t always warn members he’s going to drop in.

While he almost always attends the daily press briefings, Trump rarely attends the coronavirus task force meetings that precede them. The task force doesn’t seem to mind.

According to one person close to the task force, the meetings become more prolonged if Trump attends and often go off script. When Pence is at the helm, aides say, they usually tick through the agenda rapidly. Trump comes to roughly one briefing a week. At times, 10 days or more have passed without him attending.


Trump often turns up when he’s not expected. His presence often throws the meeting well off its assigned agenda and frequently centers on how his performance is being viewed in the media or in polling.

That means Trump has been spending upwards of 10 hours a week emceeing briefings, without doing any of the homework to learn about the pandemic.

All the attempts to understand what happened have reminded me of the New Yorker article that described how Mark Barnett made a “skeezy hustler” like Donald Trump into a titan by repackaging the unprepared, impulsive things Trump said after the fact.

He wouldn’t read a script—he stumbled over the words and got the enunciation all wrong. But off the cuff he delivered the kind of zesty banter that is the lifeblood of reality television. He barked at one contestant, “Sam, you’re sort of a disaster. Don’t take offense, but everyone hates you.”


“The Apprentice” was built around a weekly series of business challenges. At the end of each episode, Trump determined which competitor should be “fired.” But, as Braun explained, Trump was frequently unprepared for these sessions, with little grasp of who had performed well. Sometimes a candidate distinguished herself during the contest only to get fired, on a whim, by Trump. When this happened, Braun said, the editors were often obliged to “reverse engineer” the episode, scouring hundreds of hours of footage to emphasize the few moments when the exemplary candidate might have slipped up, in an attempt to assemble an artificial version of history in which Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip decision made sense.

As with the Apprentice, Thursday’s fiasco ended with reaction shot, this time of Dr. Birx realizing in real time what Trump had done.

Burnett has often boasted that, for each televised hour of “The Apprentice,” his crews shot as many as three hundred hours of footage. The real alchemy of reality television is the editing—sifting through a compost heap of clips and piecing together an absorbing story. Jonathon Braun, an editor who started working with Burnett on “Survivor” and then worked on the first six seasons of “The Apprentice,” told me, “You don’t make anything up. But you accentuate things that you see as themes.” He readily conceded how distorting this process can be. Much of reality TV consists of reaction shots: one participant says something outrageous, and the camera cuts away to another participant rolling her eyes. Often, Braun said, editors lift an eye roll from an entirely different part of the conversation.

Of course, this time it’s real. And no one gets to go back and edit Trump’s dangerous comments to make them look like leadership after the fact. By then, people were already drinking Lysol.

On Thursday, after Trump made his comments and had Dr. Birx comment on it, Philip Rucker asked him why he was spreading rumors. For me, it was the most remarkable part of an unbelievable briefing. Trump responded, first, by stating, “I’m the President and you’re fake news,” the kind of comment that might be a ratings hit if it wasn’t getting people killed.

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

DR. BIRX: Not as a treatment. I mean, certainly fever —


DR. BIRX: — is a good thing. When you have a fever, it helps your body respond. But not as — I’ve not seen heat or (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s a great thing to look at. I mean, you know. Okay?

Q But respectfully, sir, you’re the President. And people tuning into these briefings, they want to get information and guidance and want to know what to do.

THE PRESIDENT: Hey — hey, Phil.

Q They’re not looking for a rumor.

THE PRESIDENT: Hey, Phil. I’m the President and you’re fake news. And you know what I’ll say to you? I’ll say it very nicely. I know you well.

Q Why do you say that?

THE PRESIDENT: I know you well.

Because I know the guy; I see what he writes. He’s a total faker.

Q He’s a good reporter.

THE PRESIDENT: So, are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready? It’s just a suggestion from a brilliant lab by a very, very smart, perhaps brilliant, man. He’s talking about sun. He’s talking about heat. And you see the numbers. So that’s it; that’s all I have. I’m just here to present talent.

Trump ended, however, the most powerful man in the world rendered helpless by an actual crisis with actual consequences, by claiming, “I’m just here to present talent.”

Update: WaPo catalogued what has been going on in Trump’s COVID rallies, both since March 16 and since April 6. The whole thing is worth reading, but here’s a taste of what they found.

The president has spoken for more than 28 hours in the 35 briefings held since March 16, eating up 60 percent of the time that officials spoke, according to a Washington Post analysis of annotated transcripts from, a data analytics company.

Over the past three weeks, the tally comes to more than 13 hours of Trump — including two hours spent on attacks and 45 minutes praising himself and his administration, but just 4½ minutes expressing condolences for coronavirus victims. He spent twice as much time promoting an unproven antimalarial drug that was the object of a Food and Drug Administration warning Friday. Trump also said something false or misleading in nearly a quarter of his prepared comments or answers to questions, the analysis shows.

If my math is correct, there have been almost 47 hours of briefings since March 16, and they’ve been an average of an hour and twenty minutes (the average for the later range is shorter, no doubt skewed by the 22 minute briefing Friday). So for the briefings Trump attends, he can spend over 9 hours a week mouthing off about stuff he knows nothing about.


67 replies
  1. Pete T says:

    So, I understand those who believe that Drs. Fauci and Birx are (also) valuable on the Task Force to try to mitigate Trump’s more troubling ideas/policies. And, with respect to social distancing and a few other things they seem to have been somewhat successful.

    But doesn’t there come a time when you sacrifice too much of your person integrity and not continuing to play the Reality Show game is in your – and the Nation’s best interest?

    Dr. Fauci has been notably absent of late. Dr. Birx, as EW notes, was making excuses for Trumps stream of consciousness style of thinking (which I think is BS).

    No Q&A at Friday’s briefing – a good thing. And rumors there may be fewer or not more of them.

    I can begrudgingly agree that Drs. Fauci and Birx stating on the Task Force is more good than bad – for the Nation – but I do have my doubts.

    But I believe we are opening up too early and too fast and there is this to evaluate on the truth-o-meter:

    • BobCon says:

      Fauci has been spending hours every day in meetings before the press conferences and doing prep for these meetings, with the hope of getting a few minutes of impact.

      It is the kind of inefficiency that is driving so much of this crisis. Pence’s singlehanded control of communications is a big piece of it.

      • P J Evans says:

        Fauci needs to be able to do press conferences without the political BS attached.

        I remember meetings at work: when the group leader was running them, they were much shorter (and more interesting) than when my lead person was running them, when they tended to be long, boring, and focused on what they had done in the preceding week (minimizing their usual paper-pushing). (Lead person was trying for promotion and was already over their head.)

        • BobCon says:

          The basic test for a meeting is whether everyone gets something out of it, or just a few. It’s been obvious for too long which type of meeting this is.

        • RobertJ says:

          For sure things have really gone off the rails when the man who knows little and understands less does most of the talking while others are afraid to contradict him.

        • Mooser says:

          I thought of an excuse, if not an explanation, for Fauci and Birx.
          Didn’t they both work on the HIV crisis? Can you imagine the misinformation, disinformation and inhumane “musings” they had to deal with before any of that got straightened out? Maybe they believe the same can happen.

  2. Yogarhythms says:

    RN taking temperatures outside factory wearing surgical mask because we don’t have any N95 respirator masks and reading about Covid-19.
    President Trump sees himself as the greatest talent presenter. Bleach and Sunlight are two of the greatest talents battling Covid-19. The mans a genius.
    There is room on the wining bus.
    Just climb on board. Visual and mental acuity are not required. Talent recognition is very very important.

    • Marji Campbell says:

      I’m a psychologist and I watched trump make those comments. What struck me is that he actually thought he had come up with amazing, stable genius ideas! He looks over to Birx for her to appreciate his brilliant idea. Its very weird! He must be so confused why people are complaining. Dunning-Kruger. Bat shit crazy!!

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It takes talent to “present” talent. Mr. Trump keeps no one on his team who has more talent than he does, which makes a tiny hole considerably smaller. I presume that’s why a confederation of dunces is leading America.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That logic seems fine, as far as it goes. But it does not explain why so many people who know better, stand by and do nothing in the face of such destructive duplicity. Logic suggests they accept the destruction – of others – because it does so much for them. If a family were this dysfunctional, it would be time for serious intervention and institutionalized care.

      • ducktree says:

        Or the first Reality TV program in teevee history: An American Family

        https: //

  4. harpie says:

    From the NYT excerpt:

    The United States Office of Special Counsel, a federal agency that investigates whistle-blower complaints, asked the Energy Department last year to investigate the accusations against Mr. Bryan. In January, the Senate returned his nomination to the White House.

    That links to:
    Trump Nominee Draws Scrutiny for Ties to Ukrainian Energy Interests
    Oct. 10, 2018
    …Ukraine, 2014, 2015, corruption, Akhmetov, Manafort, Naftogaz …

    Maybe everything ties back to the Trump campaign’s “original sin”…

  5. madwand says:

    Sometimes there is a silver lining in the past. I’m thinking the body count (our side) would have been higher if not for an occasional “case” of bone spurs. Leadership is all about authority and responsibility. Loyalty works both ways. Looking out for the welfare of one’s men is concurrent with accomplishing the mission. If Meatball was singing this song, it would be “one out of six ain’t bad”.

  6. Wm. Boyce says:

    I have heard that the creature is planning on scaling back the time length of his appearances on the new “Reality Death Show.”
    Maybe some of his advisors finally got through his thick skull that ratings just haven’t been that good.

    The Times this morning had a story detailing the thousands of calls coming into Maryland’s health hotline that their …”Emergency Management Agency had to issue a warning that ‘under no circumstances’ should any disinfectant be taken to treat the coronavirus.”

    What kind of country has that many stupid people? The answer is our country, with 63 million morons who voted for this mad king Donald.

    • Tom says:

      To paraphrase Falstaff, Trump might say, “I am not only stupid in myself, but the cause that stupidity is in other men.” Henry IV Part 2, Act 1 Scene 2

  7. rattlemullet says:

    By and metric anyone wishes to use the man is a total failure. He stands as the epitome of everything wrong with the human race. Even though congress did not declare war, he labeled himself as a wartime president. So let’s start there, in no war that America has ever been engaged has a war time president loss the lives of, as of this writing, 53,000 citizens or soldiers in the first 60 days of the of the engagement. An utterly abysmal historic record for loss of life. His hare brained ideas have diverted the front line forces to chase useless ideas and waste time and resources. He has failed to deliver urgently needed supplies of protective equipment to protect his civilian army located on the front lines. This is a dereliction of duty, an executable offense. He has chastised his civilian troops and has accused them of stealing and lying about what they need to conduct the war. Sapping the moral of his civilian troops. His government has been hollowed out by and his republican cohorts to the point of total incompetence, systems no longer function. Protocol and supply chains that won WWII and carried this nation to be able to respond as the first in the world to every major tragedy that occurred, from the Berlin Airlift to any of the worlds major quakes or disease outbreaks, America was always first to help. His 3 years of leadership has literally turned America into a third world country having to beg and buy supplies from other nations. His government has made effectively the fifty states, fifty countries having to fend for themselves in a rigged “free market” system to protect their on state citizens. His government is actively seizing supplies bought by States and confiscating and calling them “Ours”. This is a governmental crime against the citizens of the now non united states, seeing states band together regional to make decision for their particular region of the country effectively ignoring the federal government. Basically making himself irrelevant. Irony.

    Sadly the moral of the story is that the virus has won America has lost and many many more will die needlessly due to sheer greed for power and incompetence. MAGA has won we are number one…….cases…..deaths……and hope is at precipices edge looking to leap. Sadly the clown is still on the worlds stage as the fool on the hill.

  8. holdingsteady says:

    Thanks, EW for another well pulled together post connecting the dots on what goes on behind the scenes to the craziness that we see and how it comes about. I’m sure Dr. Birx didn’t intend to be an unwitting contestant on reality tv and perhaps she’d like to have an editor of her own! Now she is in the unfortunate position of nodding like a puppet, grimacing impotently at dangerous and stupid comments. I wish she had had the foresight to see, after witnessing the parade of trumps previous victims, she’d never be able to maintain her integrity in that environment.

    I appreciate the reminder of Mark Barnett’s role in this debacle. I remember there was a time when we hoped he would release some embarrassing apprentice footage of Trump’s nastiness, crassness, and idiocy. I plan to go and read that New Yorker article, so thanks again.

    By the way, Marina Hyde has another piece of biting satire out yesterday :

    • holdingsteady says:

      In listening to the fascinating New Yorker article I find out apprentice creator’s name is Burnett rather than Barnett.

    • Martin Lydick says:

      Very entertaining article indeed – but pales in comparisons to the commentary, to wit: “Ideally, the President of the United States of America and the stupidest person in the country should be two different people.”

  9. Ken Muldrew says:

    It’s pretty obvious to everyone not in the cult that the US is in an existential crisis. The only plan on the horizon seems to be electoral change in November with the hope that there are enough remnants of the institutions of democracy still in place to effect that change. Needless to say this is both outrageously pessimistic (in that nothing can be done to reign in a lunatic president) and insanely optimistic (in believing that the smouldering wreckage of democracy will somehow re-assert itself in 7 months).

    Has anyone heard of any other plan? A realistic plan with leadership who will be able to pull it off? Waiting for a miracle has rarely worked out in the past.

    • Rollo T says:

      Don’t lose hope. There are a string of one term presidents in the past 50 years. Granted, Trump will cheat to win. But he got “lucky” in 2016. I doubt it will happen in 2020 given the intelligence, common sense and work ethic of Trump’s opposition.

    • Vicks says:

      The problem is the divide and the extremes both sides are will to go to..
      I can’t think of the right word? Battle? Prove the other is wrong and they are right?
      It’s so beyond that.
      Wars are started over things that we see being done right here in our country. And we have a leader egging us on.
      Frankly I think it’s this covid thing that can change how we look at things. Remind us that sitting down at the table will always be the best way to solve problems.

      • Sonso says:

        To quote Agent Smith, from the elsewhere referenced great documentary: No, Lieutenant, your men are already dead.
        You are correct that no miracle or cavalry is coming in the next 7 (really 10) months. It pains me to say that I believe the “United” States are done for. This morning, Barry Diller called this economic situation “catastrophic” with NO bounce to be foreseen, and there is indeed NO plan at the federal level. The biggest threat to our country in at least 80 years (and perhaps ever) is being administered by a power-drunk blind idiot with the attention span of a two-year old, surrounded by cronies and a party that are essentially a nihilist death-cult. I am not usually prone to thank an invisible deity, but thank god(s) I have no children. I will continue to fight for a better world, guided by a vision of equity & justice, but I no longer believe it will happen in my lifetime.

  10. vvv says:

    So I’m watching IL Gov. Pritzker’s indispensable daily C-19 Virus Press Conference, and Dr. Ezike (who is rather shy but very informative, and then repeats the highlights in excellent Spanish) is advising NOT to ingest disinfectant, giving information inquiry and poison control phone numbers …
    I keep looking for the ghost of Rod Serling or, worse, Lucrezia Borgia to be hovering …

    • gmoke says:

      Just be thankful that Elizabeth Báthory isn’t hovering over the White House. Or maybe she is. My suspicion is that both Melania and Ivanka (and Donnie) would be perfectly happy to bathe in virgin’s blood if it kept them young and beautiful.

        • vvv says:

          Just got a news flash from the local news website (the one that suspended me for troll-fighting, I think because I said, “Why don’t you put your money where you put every other dirty thing you can find”, but I don’t know because they don’t say):

          Don’t Ingest, Inject Or Snort Disinfectants: IL Health Officials

  11. Duke says:

    Surreality TV.

    Brought to you by TRUMP Healthcare. For the tired of living, we the prescription.

    America is watching it’s own self-destruction.

  12. Peterr says:

    Hypothesis: It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

    Testing protocol: bring out President Trump for a press briefing on the work being done to combat the coronavirus epidemic, repeated daily for at least 50 days.

    Results: The evidence produced during the testing phase of the study is highly consistent across trials, revealing almost every day a picture such as the one cited in the post above – “As he listened to Mr. Bryan, the president became increasingly excited, and also felt the need to demonstrate his own understanding of science, according to three of the advisers. So Mr. Trump went ahead with his theories about the chemicals.”

    Conclusion: the hypothesis is confirmed. It *IS* better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

    In his honor, I suggest we name this Trump’s Law.

  13. Vicks says:

    Trump has treated this as entertainment from day one, and as I said in an earlier post the genius has taken “audience participation” from texting in the name of your favorite American idol to creating real life family divides that may never heal, name calling at the water cooler and stadiums full of hate.
    Our country is exhausted, and sick, and sad, and lonely.
    We really, really need each other right now.
    Trump doesn’t care about politics. It’s a tool. A way to divide.
    Every word, every tweet, everything Trump signs with that fucking sharpie is maliciously designed to make sure we never forget that this isn’t about us.
    It’s about Trump and his fucking show.
    He’s not going to stop.
    When are we?

  14. MattK says:

    Does this information not make Dr. Birx’s appearance last night on “Watter’s World,” of all places, and what she said on Jake Tapper’s show today, I don’t know, inexplicable? Why is she doing what she is doing? I know she is doing valuable work behind the scenes, etc., etc. But she must really be convinced of her own indispensability. Or is she true believer? I just don’t get it.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      The only way out of our Corona prison (shared, let’s not forget, with desperate billions globally) is through development of a safe, effective vaccine. Dr. Birx just saw this administration demote the government’s premier vaccinologist, Rick Bright, to the metaphorical mail room. Respected expertise? We don’t need no stinkin’ experts–not if they evince the slightest defiance of Trump Show rules. The fact that Birx seems unsure of the exact parameters of the box she’s in? That’s how the box works. She knows that. Coming from an Army family myself, I believe (hope) she remains the good soldier, fighting for a larger cause than her own image.

      • vvv says:

        I think she is righteous in her intent. I continue to say that having seen the interviews today. To the extent that she was clipped and impatient with Tapper, I think it’s not that she is denying the problem or even her complicity (that she clearly feels is necessary), I think she’s given up on trump, on his crap and she wants to get on doing the real stuff that she does, as opposed to the interviews.

  15. NSFY says:

    After reading this thread I was excited to see some possible order or method in this madness. So Trump hadn’t attended the previous task force briefing, then “As he listened to Mr. Bryan, the president became increasingly excited”. The transcript from the briefing shows that Bryan said the following while going through his slides: “If you look at the fourth line, you inject summer — the sunlight into that. You inject UV rays into that. The same effects on line two — as 70 to 35 degrees with 80 percent humidity on the surface. And look at line four, but now you inject the sun. The half-life goes from six hours to two minutes. That’s how much of an impact UV rays has on the virus.”

    So you have an unqualified non-scientist (Bryan) presenting technical information using very imprecise, non-technical and poorly chosen wording – he uses “inject” several times when he seems to actually mean that if you consider or add an additional variable or factor (sunlight, UV) that the half-life of the virus is very significantly reduced (on surfaces). Meanwhile the President’s ears perk up when he hears “inject” and he runs with that in a completely ridiculous direction and wants to literally inject things since he apparently thinks that’s what Bryan and the “talent” were talking about. Still proves “Trump’s Law” but interesting to see some possible connections. Like the telephone game.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ve never heard anyone use “inject” in that way. Non-physical uses, yes, but it’s something like “injecting a new topic”.

      • skua says:

        I think it is “sexy” military jargon, akin to “inserting a Seal team”, which Trump liked the sound of.
        And ran with.
        Into the glass door of rationality.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Very persuasive close reading! I think you and Marcy (et. al.) are correct: Trump has no interest in details, at least relating to others’ wellbeing, but will seize upon the merest wisps of unvetted pseudo-information if it promises he will look good. Glomming upon and then regurgitating words like “inject” and “light” without any process of intellectual digestion is a cruder version the choloroquine shill (“some would add hydroxy!”), where we witnessed his repetitions of the words parallel the increasingly hard sell behind them.

  16. Alan Charbonneau says:

    “So for the briefings Trump attends, he can spend over 9 hours a week mouthing off about stuff he knows nothing about.“

    I so wish that I could say this was surprising.

  17. P J Evans says:

    Maybe the Constituional qualifications for president and VP need to be amended to add mental tests, with a requirement that they register as an adult in understanding.

      • P J Evans says:

        Tests exist, and they’re fairly common – it should be possible to weed out people like Trmp, who are children no matter what their official age is.

        • bmaz says:

          Naw, that is what campaigns and elections are for. The people decide, not some craptastic panel of self inflated dopes.

        • Tom says:

          I think character is more important than the ability to pass a certain mental test. If you mean a mental health test, then both Lincoln and Churchill might have been screened out because of their episodes of depression. And you don’t need any test to see that Trump was and is unfit for the Presidency. It’s not just Trump, it’s those in the Republican Party and Fox News who have supported and lied for him

        • P J Evans says:

          When i said maturity, I meant maturity. I don’t think depression should be looked at as a problem for elected official – if they know about it and get treatment of some kind, they’re good. Someone who thinks and acts like a small child, on the other hand….

        • T says:

          Perhaps the qualifications for high office should be like pornography: you may not be able to define it, but you know it when you see it.

          From “Tom” not “T” — my mistake

  18. errant aesthete says:

    One for the archives. New York Times:

    HEADLINE: 260,000 Words, Full of Self-Praise, From Trump on the Virus

    Contributing journalists: Jeremy Peters, Elaina Plott and Maggie Haberman (natch)

    Produced by Gray Beltran, Larry Buchanan, Aaron Byrd, and Josh Williams. Kudos to the team for visual effects.

    Three journalists from The New York Times reviewed more than 260,000 words spoken by President Trump during the pandemic. The Times analyzed 42 press briefing transcripts and other remarks by Mr. Trump on the virus from March 9 to April 17, using transcripts from

    Viewed simply as a pattern of Mr. Trump’s speech, the self-aggrandizement is singular for an American leader. But his approach is even more extraordinary because he is taking credit and demanding affirmation while he asks people to look beyond themselves and bear considerable hardship to help slow the spread of the virus.

    “He doesn’t speak the language of transcendence, what we have in common,” said Jennifer Mercieca, a historian of American political rhetoric at Texas A&M University. Instead, Dr. Mercieca said, he falls back on a vocabulary he developed over decades promoting himself and his business.

    “Trump’s primary goal is to spread good news and information and market the Trump brand: ‘Trump is great. The Trump brand is great. The Trump presidency is great,’” she said. “It’s not the right time or place to do that.”

    At 260,000 words and counting, enough to fill a 700-page book, Mr. Trump has been writing his own history of the virus, one that is favorable to him, settles scores and is often at odds with the facts. There were at least 130 examples of falsehoods or exaggerations. He ignored his long public record of making breezy claims about the virus when he said on March 17, “I’ve felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” He falsely described the Obama administration’s response to the H1N1 virus, saying on April 6, “It was like they didn’t even know it was here.”

    • Mooser says:

      For a good time, think about what the Trump Presidential Library will be like. All those tweets, engraved on titanium plaques, for the ages to contemplate.

      • Mooser says:

        Maybe I could open a bar next door. It’d draw an interesting crowd, presidential scholars and historians looking to get dead drunk in a hurry.

      • Tom says:

        Don’t forget all those official letters and documents, ripped up and thrown away by Trump but fished out of the garbage and taped together again by university educated men for whom a job in the White House will be the pinnacle of their career.

  19. Kai-Lee says:

    Just yesterday, he referred to a speaker(s) on the dais as “talent”. He’s the Emcee/MC of his own disaster capitalism pageant. Guess we can only hope there’s no swimsuit portion.

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