Monday, June 21, 2021


No one should be surprised by this:
In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil.

“Don’t we have an island that we own?” the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. “What about Guantánamo?”

“We import goods,” Trump specified, lecturing his staff. “We are not going to import a virus.”

Aides were stunned, and when Trump brought it up a second time, they quickly scuttled the idea....

Such insider conversations are among the revelations in “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” a new book by Washington Post journalists Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta....
We alread knew that, early in the COVID-19 crisis, Trump didn't want to allow infected Americans from the cruise ship Diamond Princess to disembark on U.S. soil. Abutaleb and Paletta say that Trump wanted to fire the State Department official who let the passengers back in, furious that the decison "doubles my numbers overnight."

He wanted to look good at all times and he wanted to be reelected. Scott Lemieux's gloss on the Gitmo story is that, "in his own authoritarian way, Trump made clear that he knew how serious this was." That's not how I read it. He wasn't concerned about the potential for widespread illness, loss of life, an overtaxed healthcare system, or any of the things you or I would care about. He cared only about "my numbers."

How would Trump react when the need to deal with a health crisis threatened his lifelong effort to make people see him as one of the world's greatest winners? We should have known the answer, because Trump told us what it was, on The Howard Stern Show in 2008.
"I was at Mar-a-Lago and we had this incredible ball, the Red Cross Ball, in Palm Beach, Florida....

So, you have all these really rich people, and a man, about 80 years old - very wealthy man, a lot of people didn't like him - he fell off the stage...

So what happens is, this guy falls off right on his face, hits his head, and I thought he died.

And you know what I did? I said, 'Oh my God, that's disgusting,' and I turned away.

I couldn't, you know, he was right in front of me and I turned away. I didn't want to touch him. He's bleeding all over the place, I felt terrible.

You know, beautiful marble floor, didn't look like it. It changed colour. Became very red.

... these 10 Marines from the back of the room.

They come running forward, they grab him, they put the blood all over the place—it's all over their uniforms—they're taking it, they're swiping [it], they ran him out, they created a stretcher.

They call it a human stretcher, where they put their arms out with, like, five guys on each side...

I was saying, 'Get that blood cleaned up! It's disgusting!' The next day, I forgot to call [the man] to say is he OK.

It's just not my thing."

I turned away ... I didn't want to touch him ... beautiful marble floor, didn't look like it ... I was saying, 'Get that blood cleaned up! It's disgusting!' ... I forgot to call [the man] ... It's just not my thing.

Concern for another person's well-being that overrides self-interest, even momentarily? No, it's just not his thing.

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