Like picking at a scab you know will hurt and bleed I watch Trump’s daily briefing in full today and predictably I became so angry I had to walk around the neighbourhood for an hour afterwards to calm down.
I’m not a big fan of arrogance (even though I’ve been known to exhibit this characteristic at times) and so prevalent was the rambling self-aggrandizing on display that I clenched my teeth and fists throughout.
So far so obvious. I knew what emotions this viewing was likely to arouse in me and yet I felt the need to experience it yet again. Perhaps it is the profound level of absurdity inherent in each of his daily spewings that make me unable to look away. Or perhaps it is to fully comprehend the magnitude of his insensitivity and shocking injustice of him being the ‘leader of the free world.’
What particularly enraged me today was his constant tactic of taking over and down to the journalists asking questions - except for the fawning obsequiousness of the right wing press; and when he repeated the well-worn ‘fake news’ strategy to the CNN reporter who was attempting to bring Trump to task over his failure to adopt early safety measures I thought I would try a thought experiment.
I imagined I had voted for Trump in 2016 and found him a valued and trust-worthy leader during this pandemic. My bank balance diminishing, my concern over my future employment increasing, I have tuned in hoping to hear some clear guidance about when this crisis may be over. Everything presented as the press conference seemed to suggest things are indeed getting better: all the safety equipment needed seems to have been supplied (‘King of ventilators!’); the governors are all in agreement with Trump and think he’s done a great job and should be ready to open up again soon; those protestors are ‘great people - but they’ve been treated a little bit rough’; and the left-wing press seems to content to proffer fake news that is pessimistic in tone, factually incorrect and easily swept away by the President.
But this is not the case is it? Early state openings will result in further loss of life and weaken an already unstable economy and relatively easy fact checking reveals the President was very late in acting on the suggestions of his health advisors.
My frustration then is this immense gap between reality and the egotistical self-serving narrative Trump is continually spouting.
Yet Trump's approval rating is down significantly from 49% in March, while his disapproval rating is up 9 points from 45% so perhaps it is best to let him continue to speak at these briefings; perhaps he is slowly digging himself a grave. Let’s hope so.
(Apologies for the simplistic political analysis given the superior acumen of my fellow contributors to this Covid-19 diary - it was written in a fit of pique.)