Trump’s hysterical onslaught on the American media is rising to new heights, as Monday’s so-called press briefing in the White House demonstrated. His vicious personal responses to fairly innocuous but predictable questions reveal the true nature of the man. And there is one word – a word beloved by Trump himself – to describe his performance. “Nasty”.
And, of course, there are many other words to describe the worst person ever elected to the US presidency. America does need to become great again. But that process can only start when the majority of US voters realise that their country is led by a moral and emotional monster.
It was good to see Bernie Saunders endorse Joe Biden’s candidacy on Monday. That shows that the Democrats have now grasped the most obvious, elemental political truth – the only goal is to prevent the re-election of Trump in November. That is an end in itself.
That was a truth grasped by the Democrats in South Carolina when they rescued Biden from the insane political cannibal-fest among aggressive but unelectable candidates for the Democrats’ nomination.
There will be plenty of time to implement a reformist agenda when the Democrats majority in the House can work with Biden in the White House. Perhaps the Democrats can recapture the Senate in November as well. Those are the immediate agenda items.
The fact that Black Americans, Latinos and other minorities have borne the brunt of Covid 19 needs to be understood and acted upon.
There are many explanations. They do the more menial, low paid jobs. They have limited access to healthcare. They are diabetic more often than others. They are more dependent on using and working in public transport. They have poorer, more overcrowded housing. They are ending up in paupers’ mass graves more often than others. They are jailed more often than others.
The phrase “Black Lives Matter” is not just a slogan about trigger-happy policemen. It was always predictable that the minorities would be in the front line if and when a pandemic struck.
It is obvious, in retrospect, that Trump committed a monumental error when he dismantled the advisory agency on the threat from pandemic disease on assuming office.
It seems hard to believe that Trump was not being warned by someone about the risks involved in Covid 19 as far back as December.
Poor Doctor Fauci is like a latter-day Hamlet - facing the choice between being fired or being truthful. “To be or not to be” is his choice. And most people are glad that he has contrived, however painfully, to remain on the bridge rather than climb aboard a political lifeboat.
Trump, the captain on the bridge, is akin to Melville’s Cap’n Ahab. He is obsessively chasing the great white whale, Moby Dick, his re-election. The great white vote is his priority. That is his only target.
He denied and minimised the pandemic until it endangered his re-election. He handed the matter over to the hapless Pence.
But soon, conscious of the need to rescue himself from the electoral consequences of pretending for so long that there was no problem, that there only a handful of cases, that Covid 19 would disappear miraculously in April and that the churches would be packed at Easter time, he snatched back the podium for his circus-like press briefings – like a raging bull elephant in full blown must.
His financial rescue package was aimed more at Wall Street than Main Street. Keeping the Dow Jones Index artificially inflated is key to his re-election strategy. It is, of course, a subsidy to the “haves” who used his tax reductions to pour money into stocks. It is of little use to the vast number of unemployed who will find that there are no jobs to return to if and when Trump finally claims victory over Covid 19 and re-opens the economy. You can re-open doors and find that there is nothing but emptiness behind them.
Trump’s problem was that he could clearly see the threat posed by Covid 19 to his electoral prospects. And, as so often, he denied and belittled that which he could not master. His whole instinct was to weather the storm regardless of the consequences for the likely victims, most of whom were unlikely to vote for him.
Biden now has the problem of invisibility. But he doesn’t have to defend the indefensible as Trump is forced to do. Trump could have done with a lot more invisibility instead of his recent tweeting and ranting. If he had just left the matter in the hands of Fauci and Pence and avoided head-on confrontation with the media, he might have done a lot better.
Particularly frightening was Trump’s claim on Monday that he had all the power. If he had, why didn’t he use it when he could have done? He likes to rule like a monarchical despot, using Jared Kushner to “solve” the Middle East, pondering whether to appoint Ivanka to head the World Bank, and doing “deals” with the murderous Crown Prince Salman. This is far from the spirit of 1776.
Biden needs to bide his time, campaign reasonably and compassionately, restore hope, and lead the way to “make America American again”.