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Infectious Conspiracies: Donald Trump, Coronavirus and Reality

One measure of success in politics is the degree enemies imitate you, even if done insincerely and without flattery. Insincere imitation has become the preserve of a whole panoply of Donald Trump’s critics stretching from the money, corporate side of the Democrats to the sandalled warriors who believe in environmental eschatology. Most importantly for Joe Biden and fellow travellers of the Donkey Party, they remain incapable and uninterested in identifying and confronting their devastating loss in 2016. There is only one program in the works, the mission that matters: removal and elimination. Get Trump out, and all will heal.

This makes political conversation insensible and torturously imbecilic. Trump’s wand waving has had such an impact on his opponents that they mimic, unconsciously, his own tropes. They ape and bark to his beat. They speak of conspiracy, exclaim and splutter about fakery. They talk of the improbability of reality. Trump, for instance, could not have actually contracted the novel coronavirus.

Since October 2, Trump become the subject of eager medical experimentation. He has received an intravenous dose of the dual antibody REGN-COV2, a drug yet to satisfy all stages of approval. The combination features a B cell from a human who had recovered from a SARS-CoV-2 infection and yet another one of those heroic mice whose immune system was engineered to resemble the human immune system. “Experiments in both golden hamsters and rhesus macaques that were intentionally infected with SARS-CoV-2 showed the cocktail could reduce viral levels and disease pathology,” writes Jan Cohen in Science. Speculation (can it be anything else?) abounds as to whether Trump was also taking, as one of his physician’s claims, “zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and daily aspirin.”

Much of this is of less interest to Trump sceptics than the fact that it is even taking place. They share, with mild discomfort, similar ground to the QAnon group, who impute to Trump a strategy to outwit the Democrats, who they claim operate a global human trafficking empire. While QAnon insist that Trump is playing the Democrats in pretending to have COVID-19, some liberals have also taken of the same sauce. Jon Ehrens, a producer for WHYY radio in Philadelphia, claimed that “90% of listener emails/comments are very insistent that the diagnosis is a lie.” Common conspiracy theories included “finding an excuse for why he will lose the election” to proving “that the coronavirus is no big deal.”

The president’s illness, when announced on October 2, did not merely issue an open invitation to conspiracy; it unleashed a tsunami of gloating enthusiasts. There were curses to enchant the polyglots. There were homicidal fantasies skipping along social media platforms. Within hours of the announcement, Merriam-Webster noted that searches for that supremely useful word “schadenfreude” had risen by 30,500 per cent. Yolanda Pierce, dean of Howard University’s divinity school, refused to “perform false politeness in the presence of evil.”

A good portion of the media stable long mocked by Trump for being the great news counterfeiters were themselves incapable of believing the president. They had become the ideologues of disbelief, the mirrors of the fake. “The sad truth is that we really can’t trust at face value what comes out of the White House on this,” political reporter Jonathan Karl explained on the ABC’s “The View.” Reporters “have to ask the questions” and would accordingly verify the information. (Good of Karl to state what should be the reporter’s natural mission.) “But there’s been so much misinformation that has gone out about the virus, about the pandemic, about things like voter suppression – it’s really hard to know what to believe.”

As for the general issue of verisimilitude, pity the doctors, as well, charged with such a mission as conveying a message both medically sound yet politically sanitised. Historically, such White House physicians are paid to diagnose the leader patient. The job prescription also entails a bit of mendacity, if required, prompting the rather cynical observation by Aaron Seth Kesselheim, professor of medicine at Harvard, that care for the US president has been marked, at stages, by “incompetence, secrecy and downright deception.”

Author and Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins is even resigned on this score. “Doctors have never known how to handle sick leaders.” Trump’s situation, he is reminded, is much like that of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who also contracted the virus in March. The doctors initially claimed he was “just fine and cheerful.” “When this proved untrue he was said to be dying. Bulletins merged into bullshit. Nothing was believed. Johnson had to bitterly protest his health only this weekend.”

In lowering the tone of what was already the bankrupt political conversation of the republic, Trump also lowered the bar of believability. There is no higher plateau of political grace to seek. Everyone’s in for a mauling. We are in the gutter, and we are going to stay there, eyes averted, from the stars. And the truth.

 

 

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5 comments

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  1. Jack Cade

    Allowing this malign creature into the general populace is a criminal act on the part of the medical profession, and reinforces my belief that the prick just has a cold. Now the Appalachian sister-shaggers will see him as an invulnerable messiah, and also that the virus is harmless and can be beaten. Ockham’s razor should be in full mode; an embarrassing debate; tax evasion scandal; etc. ‘What can we do, Mitch?’
    ‘I’ve got an idea, y’all.’
    It is a MILITARY hospital, after all. And the top US medical team spirited away JFKs brain to avoid evidence on an inside job…

  2. Michael Taylor

    Jack, it’s the only time Trump’s been in the military. 😉

  3. Jack Cade

    Michael
    The other day, one of his aides said ‘He’s a warrior, he’s a fighter.’ I nearly choked on my Nutrigrain, scared the bejasus out of my dog…
    The heel-spurred bunker boy – a ‘warrior and a fighter.’Ffs.
    I found out just the other day that the Union troops in the civil war could buy their way out of it, but poor old Johnny Reb was dragooned.
    So Trump IS a traditionalist. O my send the poor bastards who have no money to fight for ‘freedom and the American Way.’

  4. Caz

    I don’t consider myself a member of the tin hat brigade, but I do believe that it is not beyond the realm of possibility that this lying, scheming pussy grabber has faked this whole new circus. He is quite capable bullying medical staff in the way he has bullied everyone who has worked for him. With Trump it is “do what I want or I will replace you”.

    So if I am having a senior moment then and he really does have the virus, then his irresponsibility is astounding. He has no regard for his security staff who had no PPE when they accompanied him on his little jaunt. Shades of the Bible display a few months back.

    I pity AMERICA if they reelect Trump. But I fear for Americans if he loses. I foresee riots that will make BLM riots seem manageable and moderate.

  5. Jon Chesterson

    MILKING THE DYING AMERICAN COW – On the basis of probability and form, this is another Trump stunt, not so much for an excuse of why he lost the election, but for the sympathy vote, rallying the hate-ridden warmongers, the brainless dead, the zombie US flag waggers, the sand-eaters, bullet sluggers, gun slingers and his biblical arse licking fans to win the un-winnable election – He knew, his advisors knew it was over and had to manufacture a miracle out of false news on a grand scale of mass deception (like his false business mandate), that which he does best to hide the absolute failure this wanton prick is. Would the doctors at the US military hospital or Johns Hopkins collude with such a stunt or have they been bribed, threatened or blackmailed with a suit should they confirm or deny anything on the grounds of privacy, presidential privilege, national security or plain corporate bullying? Are they not the very same stock of Republican privilege and conformity? Is that not how he controls everyone around him to subjugate his subjects. He is a modern day feudal arse hole blowing wind and sucking the light like a black hole, as if there is no tomorrow. Whatever, the truth is, Trump will stop at nothing to manipulate the polls and the election, to evade scrutiny, justice or loss of his tyrannical and fraudulent kingdom. It’s time Karma took its course, Karma I call it not schadenfreude – that would be Trump’s projection, Trump fans’ and voters’ motives, not that he nor the vast majority would have the intelligence to look it up in a dictionary… Why would they when their morals, their democratic and social standards rage like the vast open sewer they have made it, America has become.

    If Trump wins this next election, we should close the borders for good before the rest of the world is infected with a lethal dose of something far more sinister then Covid-19 which he in all likelihood he never had. And if he did, Christ look how he milks America’s teats in his hands, both ways.

    …Putin laughs himself off his 3-legged stool and Morrison has been tugging like a bloated leach on the Aussie udder despite the drought before he ever got in office.

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