Blustering deeper into corona quicksand
As the Covid-19 death toll soars past 20,000 in the US, Donald Trump fans the crisis in his inimitable way
Donald Trump, as he likes to keep reminding us, is "a very smart guy".
So smart, in fact, that he retweeted a tweet calling for US health czar Dr Anthony Fauci to be fired.
This is, after all, the president who first dismissed the coronavirus as a hoax and, when it became abundantly clear that it wasn’t, began pushing hydroxychloroquine as a cure, a claim that experts — by which we mean people with more than just gleanings from social media on medicine and science, not to mention the widow of an American who tried it — say has no basis in fact.
While the drug is being tested as a possible therapy, the global body of medical opinion is a long way from bowing in the direction of the White House and chanting "Praise be! A cure!"
While the president seeks to divert attention from his epic fumbling of the biggest crisis to hit the US since the Great Depression or the Spanish Flu or World War 2 (take your pick), the numbers continue to stack up against him.
As of Tuesday, more than half-a-million Americans have been infected and 23,647 have died, 10,058 in New York state alone.
Yet the leader of the free world, who is becoming increasingly irascible as venom grows on the social media platform from which he appears to govern his country, is trying to tell state governors that he has "total authority" and that the country will open for business when he says it does. Never mind that the US constitution says otherwise.
On March 12, David Litt, a speechwriter for Barack Obama during his presidency, wrote a warning on Twitter following Trump’s "coronavirus address" in which he said no nation anywhere in the world was more prepared than the US.
"As a former presidential speechwriter," Litt wrote, "my careful rhetorical analysis is that he’s gonna get us all killed."
The coronavirus crisis is Donald Trump’s Vietnam.