What Could Be Worse Than A First Trump Term? A Second Trump Term.
How is it that a country which has the world’s most advanced health-care system is now finding itself in the midst of a second Pandemic surge which could end up costing us almost as many human lives as the first surge that took place from September until the end of December of last year? How come there are only 6 states with a per-100K infection rate under 150 cases a day?
We’re not talking about places like North Ossetia (which you never heard of) in the Republic of Georgia, where the yaks outnumber the people but almost half the people have come down with Covid-19. We’re talking about the United States, okay? We’re talking about a country where 250 million people have a per-capita GDP that is more than 4 times the per-capita GDP for the rest of the globe.
How has this happened here and how come it’s still going on?
The answer, when all is said and done, is that we had a President who, from the moment he was notified about the threat of this virus, made every, single decision about the government’s response based on one criteria and one criteria only, namely, whether what he said or what he did about the virus would help or hurt his chances of winning re-election last year.
Trump knew that an effective response to the virus would require both a national strategy and a willingness to accept and even be blamed for the slowdown of an economy which was roiling along. And since Trump was planning to run a re-election campaign taking credit for the economic recovery from the recession of 2007–2008, he was not about to let anything interrupt or cast doubts on that narrative.
So much for what a tough and fearless leader we elected in 2016.
Trump was such a neophyte and such an unskilled and inexperienced guy when it came to politics and political affairs, that he didn’t stop for one minute and ask himself whether he could have used an all-hands-on-deck approach to the Pandemic as a way to make himself a stronger, rather than weaker competitor in the 2020 race.
If Trump was really the ‘wartime President’ he boasted about being, he could have used health mandates and economic slowdowns to his advantage, the way that Churchill used the bombing of London to shore up Conservative Party support. He could have easily made Anthony Fauci a partner in this effort, rather than consigning America’s leading infectious disease specialist to a faraway corner of the stage. He could have called up some of the dumber, red-state Governors and told them to ease off on proclaiming that they knew how to handle the virus without requiring vaccines.
But he didn’t do any of those things. In fact, he did the one thing that, as far as I am concerned, made his Presidency the single, worst Presidential administration the country has ever had. He took a public health threat which has increased the number of deaths in this country by more than 20% over the last two years and politicized it so that he could blame someone else in case things went wrong.
That’s leadership? That’s how you make a deal?
I spent a bit of time with Trump back in 1989 when my boss, the Chairman of the Fairchild Corporation, was honored at a charity dinner in New York. One of the companies owned by Fairchild was Banner Aerospace, which despite its futuristic name, actually manufactured the hydraulic systems that were used for flush toilets on airplanes.
Trump had just picked up the leases for the jets that Eastern Airlines flew on the shuttle between Boston, Washington, and New York. The planes were repainted, they put in new carpeting and — voila! — we had Trump Air. My boss figured that maybe Trump would be interested in Banner’s hydraulic systems, so I went up to his office to see Trump twice.
The office contained a total of 12 people, there were another 5 or 6 employees, including the financial guys who are all now singing their guts out to a New York Grand Jury. This was Trump’s entire staff — maybe 20 people were his employees, and that was that.
Trump never owned any of the companies that built or managed his apartments or his golf courses, or any other properties which carry his name. He financed his projets by selling apartments as investments and paid off the investors when the apartments were sold. But what Trump was really selling, and this made him unique in real estate, was his name.
No real estate developer in New York or anywhere else ever stuck his name in big, neon lettering on the side of a high-rise condo. I know several guys who own golf courses and they would never consider putting their names on the course. One of my favorite courses is called Red Tail, located in Devens, MA. I once ate lunch in the clubhouse and only learned by accident that the owner and developer of the club was seated at the next table, maybe 5 feet away from me.
Trump didn’t build hi-rise apartments, he didn’t build golf resorts. He built a brand called Trump. But you don’t go from managing a company with 20 employees to managing the world’s largest corporation unless you hire some really good, experienced help. And whom did Trump hire? That schmucky son-in-law?
I spent maybe 30 minutes all told with Trump and he impressed me as a typical, small businessman who had made a buck. He liked to hear himself talk, and he knew ‘for a fact’ every, single idea that popped out of his mouth. Except he really didn’t know sh*t. He certainly didn’t know what he would have needed to know to deal with Covid-19.
I can’t blame him for that. The ‘Chinese flu’ was like a Black Swan — something which can’t be imagined until it actually shows up.
That being said, I also have to ask myself where we would be now if Trump was in the latter part of the first year of his second term? Because this was the point at which things began to unravel for Nixon, for Reagan, for Clinton and for Bush. Nixon tried to cover up the Watergate scandal and the existence of his taping system in 1973, the year after he was re-elected. Reagan started shipping arms to Iran in 1985, the first year of his second term. Linda Tripp began taping Monica Lewinsky’s descriptions of giving Clinton some pipe jobs in the Oval Office in 1997 — the first year of his second term.
Know what finished off George W. Bush? It wasn’t the invasion of Iraq and the failure to find WMD’s. It was his failure to go down and see what was going on in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 — the first year of his second term. Even though he made an ass of himself by throwing paper towels into the crowd, at least Trump knew enough to go down to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2018.
Today, Joe is going to announce that all federal employees must be vaccinated, whether they have been tested or not. I can just imagine what would be going on at the White House today if Trump were still around. Probably a discussion with the leaders of the Proud Boys who are planning to show up on January 18th to demand that all those ‘political prisoners’ arrested after January 6th be let out of jail.
So, sometimes we get a break, because we won’t have to deal with something even worse than how Trump responded to Covid-19 during his first term.
I have a group on Facebook called ‘Celebrate the Steal.’ Because as far as I’m concerned, I don’t care how we got rid of Trump — he had to go. And if he wants a second chance to do something really crazy after 2024, just remember that he’s already made a mess of things far worse than what any other President did in his second term.
Or as Grandpa would say, “a be gezunt” (read; that’s that.)