Tuesday, March 10, 2020


From The Washington Post:
People who interacted with Trump over the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., or the nearby Trump International Golf Club, said the president was in gleeful spirits....

Doug Deason, a Trump donor in attendance, said the president shook almost every hand in sight. “What he keyed in on in his remarks is you’ve just got to live your life,” Deason said. “He’s out there shaking hands.”

Trump also shook hands with supporters who gathered Monday at Orlando Sanford International Airport to watch Air Force One land....

One reason for Trump’s lack of concern [about the coronavirus] is the stream of information he receives from unofficial channels....

Some friends have told Trump that the coronavirus does not seem like a major threat, noting that they don’t know anyone in their communities who has been infected. Some also have sought to flatter Trump by saying that unlike the two septuagenarians running for the Democratic nomination — Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Trump, 73, is so healthy that he is not personally at particular risk, according to a senior administration official.
Trump seems at high risk for contracting the virus. What would happen if he did?

Would anyone tell us? If he contracted it but wasn't seriously ill, there's no way he'd want anyone to know that he's sick. Trump thinks illness is weakness. He claims that his own health is the result of "good genes," a claim that's been echoed by others, most notably former White House doctor Ronny Jackson.

But how likely is it that he could contract the virus and experience only mild symptoms? He's in his 70s. He's overweight. He doesn't exercise. He has a terrible diet.

And yet he seems robust, if not healthy.

Remember, he likes himself and he likes his life. Adulation not only seems to be an addiction for him, it seems medicinal. I believe in science, but I believe that mood affects health, and Trump seems to get regular injections of health-giving brain chemicals as a result of the large number of people surrounding him who regularly tell him he's wonderful.

Beyond that, he's lucky. He's been a lucky bastard all his life. He's never gone to prison. He's never been truly destitute. And now he's the damn president of the United States! That guy! It's hard to imagine anyone luckier.

All this leads me to believe it's possible that he could be exposed to this virus and feel only mildly ill.

If that happened, we'd never be told. Maybe his handlers would say he's huddling with advisors, for days or even weeks on end.

And if he's seriously ill?

Then we're in unknown territory. Within Trump's fan base, his brand is that he's unconquerable; even if he's in critical condition and unable to consult on the media management of his illness, his team will try to conceal the fact that he's ill at all. Maybe there'll be rumors that he's engaged in top-secret negotiations (North Korea? Israel-Palestine?) and can't appear in public; almost certainly there'll be daily tweets written by staffers in the president's voice. The non-MAGA media will discuss the obvious, but there'll be (hollow) threats to sue The Washington Post or The New York Times or CNN for even suggesting ill health on the president's part, and the threats will allegedly come from the president himself.

After a while, the majority of the country won't fall for this fakery (although 30% or 40% of the country might). Eventually Team Trump will privately ponder a switch to an acknowledgment of the president's illness. But will they dare? They don't want to run the risk that Trump will recover and seek to fire anyone who exposed his secret. Congressional Republicans will be reluctant to invoke the 25th Amendment to transfer the presidency to Mike Pence even temporarily (which the amendment allows). Many of their voters will be certain that rumors of Trump's illness are a Deep State plot to drive him from office.

Or maybe Team Trump will admit the obvious and find someone to blame. After all, as Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman has reported,
Last week Trump told aides he’s afraid journalists will try to purposefully contract coronavirus to give it to him on Air Force One, a person close to the administration told me.
So maybe they'll concede that the president is infected -- and blame it on Jim Acosta.

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