For just one day, the reporters in the coronavirus press briefing room should step aside and let a group of randomly selected Americans suffering through this pandemic ask Trump the questions. Just round up some folks from across the country brave enough to hop on board a plane together, zip them off to the White House and have them ready to surprise Trump when he walks through the doorway, prepared with his daily dose of pre-scripted tantrums, rambling masturbatory plaudits, and a pail of fish to toss to Pence or Barr when they blow into the right horns.
It’s a delightful thing to just sit back with all this free time imprisoned in my home and imagine the expression on Trump’s face as he strolls into that press room and finds himself unexpectedly confronted by a horde of hostile, hurting Americans desperately needing leadership, and increasingly terrified they’re going to be left to their own devices to survive.
Every day, I wait for some brave reporter in that room to finally jump on the grenade, stand up and scream, “Hey, fat boy! Thousands of Americans are dying around us every day. And if the only answer you’re ever gonna give is ‘fake news!’ then just go sit on your tweeting toilet and entertain yourself while the grown ups go about conquering the biggest global health crisis in a century.”
But that brave reporter never shows up. The closest we get is Jim Acosta, who frankly already earned his stripes back in 2018 when he got into that microphone tug-of-war with the helpless little intern who ended up dropping into a useless ball on the floor wishing she’d taken that server job at TGI Friday’s. Remember how angry and frustrated Trump got when Acosta took control of the room from him? He started pacing back and forth like a spooked gorilla who’d just had a roomba dropped into his cage.
But with the reporters, we seldom get a true “Acosta moment.” They tend to just look chagrined while Trump shouts them down, cursing them for being “mean” or “unfair” before boasting ad nauseam, then sucking up some late-morning phlegm and moving on to his next punching bag.
I understand these reporters need to conduct themselves carefully. They don’t want to lose their jobs.
That’s exactly why they should let some average Americans in there instead. They don’t have jobs anymore. No income, no health insurance, no Palm Beach resort to hide in when life gets too scary.
And they won’t sit there and just absorb the nonsense the way the press does. You think Marjorie from Wisconsin wants to hear about a pill that makes malaria disappear? She needs a pill that makes the five kids and the farting husband in her living room disappear. And who believes Joe the sheet metal guy’s gonna sit patiently while Trump calls him “snarky” and “nasty”? Joe’s been wiping his ass with InStyle Magazine for the last two weeks. He’s ready to go down fighting, just like Kate Hudson’s bridal gown photos did.
Trump would crumble like a pie crust if he actually had to face the people suffering the most from this epidemic. And no, he didn’t cause the epidemic, but he didn’t take it seriously either when his own people were telling him to do so. It was just another “democrat hoax,” a partisan effort to tear down his most perfect presidency and the best economy the world has seen since Trump inherited it from Barack Obama.
And now, because Trump disregarded science, the experts, and all the people who were dropping dead in Asia and Europe, Americans everywhere are paying the price. Hospitals are asking patients to go “halvsies” on respirators. Governors are bidding against each other like contestants on The Price is Right. Doctors and nurses are being forced to jeopardize their own lives so they can save the lives of the sick in their charge. Cher had to cancel her 2020 tour. Cher! A woman who survived the 1970s, Sonny Bono and that shitty Abba sequel, and even she can’t even rise above the mess Trump’s made of us.
It shouldn’t be this way. And it didn’t have to be this way. Trump could have listened to the advisors he trusts the most, once they were done peeing on him. Instead, he tried transforming Covid-19 from a lethal global pandemic into a personal attack on his almighty wisdom. He thought he could misdirect, obfuscate and outrun this crisis like he has all the others.
But he can’t run from this, because Americans can’t run from it. They’re screwed, they’re scared, and they’re angry. They’re having to endure a parent dying alone, no family members with them in their final moments of life. They’re attending funerals on FaceTime. They’re having to eat those cans of beans they saved for the poor at Thanksgiving. They’re watching rednecks with mullets and three teeth roll in the dirt with tigers on Netflix.
And maybe those Americans forgot about Trump cuddling up to the Russians, kissing North Korea’s ass, ditching the Paris Climate Agreement, running away from our Kurdish allies, and blackmailing the leader of Ukraine. Perhaps they don’t remember him disrespecting gold star families, handicapped reporters, the McCain family, The Department of Justice, the NFL, Univision, Macy’s, and every guest who’s ever been on Morning Joe. But the number of days between now and November 3rd isn’t enough for Trump to outrun the coronavirus carnage he’s released on them all. People in this country don’t have anything else to do but think about what a rotten leader they have as they’re confined to their homes, except for the ones still gathering in herds at the beaches and churches in the south. But they won’t be around come November. And the dead don’t vote, unless you’re Brian Kemp and you’re suddenly running behind Stacey Abrams in Georgia.
The press may be complacent, but Trump’s daily briefings are seen by the rest of the country for what they truly are: an impotent scramble to save a withering presidency that had all its chips on the economy, now faced with an ugly new reality: 16 million unemployed in three weeks, a staggering halt to economic activity, homes in jeopardy, families shattered by death.
People may be too afraid to go out and get a haircut, but as we saw in Wisconsin this week, they’re not afraid to go out and vote. This may be the worst news of all for Donald Trump.
And when he’s finally exterminated from the White House this November, along with his chinless, dead-eyed brood, sycophantic goon squad, and prized tanning bed collection, there will be over 300 million Americans waiting for him. And they won’t be carrying pens and microphones in their hands.