Well, yes, actually, it was. I know it's hard to keep up with such things when every day brings six new scandals, but on March 12th, in a nationally televised speech, the president unilaterally and abruptly announced that the United States would ban travelers from Europe, following an earlier ban on travel from China.
At the end of his 10-minute speech, Trump added this amazingly arrogant and stupid prediction: “The virus will not stand a chance against us.”
Actually, COVID-19 now stands a better chance against the United States than against any other country on the planet. Along with Brazil and Russia (two other countries with incompetent leaders), the United States is now a raging epicenter for the COVID pandemic. With 4 percent of the world's population, the U.S. has 25 percent of the world's coronavirus cases — and 25 percent of the world's coronavirus deaths. The infection level in this country is rising at an unprecedented rate, as several Republican governors scramble to close down their states after arrogantly and stupidly opening them for business as infection rates were rising — following our “stable genius” president's lead.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee gets a special “I'm Extra Stupid” award for even now not allowing the state's mayors to require masks in their cities. (And for pushing through an illegal and unenforceable abortion ban bill. But I digress.)
Science is so overrated, apparently. Karma, unfortunately, is not.
Thanks to this administration's incompetent response to the global pandemic, my wife, a French citizen, can no longer go visit her family — nor can millions of other Americans who want to do business or take vacations or visit family in Europe. Now, we are a shithole country, banned from traveling to civilized societies.
Several other significant stories have broken recently, collapsing on top of each other like a tower of Jenga blocks, each a stunner that would have destroyed any presidency before this one.
The president's personal lawyer, aka Attorney General Bill Barr, has been stepping all over the justice system — getting friends of the president out of stiff sentences, releasing them from jail, and firing the attorney general in the Southern District of New York (who happened to be handling several cases involving Trump and his allies). Barr's behavior was so egregious it caused longtime Justice Department prosecutors to turn whistleblower. But, meh, now it's just another small explosion in Trump's media minefield. A mere diversion.
Then CNN broke a story from Trump officials who had witnessed the president's phone calls with foreign leaders. Here's a sample: “In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdoğan, and so abusive to leaders of America's principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior U.S. officials — including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers, and his longest-serving chief of staff — that the president himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.
“The calls caused former top Trump deputies — including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials — to conclude that the president was often 'delusional,' as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders.”
Okay, so Trump screwed up the coronavirus response and got us banned from Europe; his AG is deconstructing the Justice Department; he's stupid, ill-informed, and abusive on phone calls with foreign leaders. A pretty devastating week, right?
Oh, wait, I forgot to mention that little thing where Trump was informed that Russia had set up a cash bounty hunt with the Taliban on U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan — and ignored it.
The president at first denied he'd been informed about it. The next day, The New York Times, citing two U.S. intelligence officials, reported that the information was in Trump's daily briefing on February 27th. The White House spokesperson then responded that the administration was still considering its options.
The United States has become a banana republic, run by a narcissistic grifter, the kind of guy who blithely posts a video of a man shouting “white power” and then goes to play golf. We have a vice president who again this week praised the president's response to the pandemic as "wonderful." We have an administration run by incompetent toadies and lobbyists. And we have the entire leadership of a major American political party marching in lockstep with it all, as if blindfolded.
I've run out of faith that the American democratic institutions that have guided the country past the pitfalls of nefarious leaders and human inadequacy for 250 years are going to put the brakes on Donald Trump. Except for maybe the election process. Maybe. At this point, our only hope seems to be to survive this idiot until November and vote him out, along with his corrupt enablers. Only then can we begin the long and painful recovery from this unprecedented disaster of an administration.