Sunday, March 08, 2020

"His ignorant narcissism poses a risk to the country"

Jennifer Rubin is a conservative opinion writer for the Washington Post, in the ancient sense of a conservative of five years ago. She sized up Trump and Trumpism early on and has been writing some of the sharpest, most trenchant criticism of him, in my opinion. This is from her today, which I think captures Trump's surreal response to the epidemic quite well:
...Trump is mentally unfit to hold office — any office, but especially the presidency.

Trump’s statements about the coronavirus, filled with self-congratulations, inanities, falsehoods and non sequiturs, remind us that he is unable to cope with reality; his sole aim is to elevate himself (although his antics make him look ridiculous). He wants a cruise ship to stay offshore so the number of reported cases in the United States will remain artificially low? That’s just nuts, and worse, it is dangerous.

Trump seems to believe that he “knows more about” everything (energy, medicine, diplomacy, nuclear weapons, intelligence, law enforcement, trade, etc.) than anyone, and yet his gaping ignorance and refusal to learn the basic facts imperil the country and the economy.

Trump thinks North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un loves him, so Trump gives up leverage that might force North Korea to denuclearize. Trump trusts the word of Russian President Vladimir Putin over the U.S. intelligence community’s, so Trump refuses to secure America’s elections and tries to extort Ukraine, a U.S. ally. Trump is obsessed with Barack Obama, so he tries to wreck whatever bears his predecessor’s name or is associated with Obama’s legacy, despite his own failure to devise a better alternative (e.g., the Iran deal, Obamacare).

It is not simply that Trump is an ignorant narcissist; rather, the concern is that his ignorant narcissism poses a risk to the country — one that brings us to the brink of war with Iran, emboldens Russia and leaves the United States vulnerable to a pandemic, which in turn may bring on a recession....


David in Cal said...

Jennifer Rubin is not really conservative. Also, she is hysterically anti-Trump, so much so, that her opinions on Trump are not reliable. I could poke many holes in that excerpt from her column, but it's not worth the trouble. Her columns about Trump should simply be ignored.


Ned said...

David in Cal -- of course Rubin is a conservative. It's not her fault that 90% of the people who used to be her fellow conservatives have abandoned their principles and joined Trump's Jonestown Cult.

David Appell -- thanks for posting that. Yes, it definitely captures Trump's surreal response to the epidemic. There is something fundamentally wrong with that man. It's not about politics or policy, or the fact that his vision for the country is different from mine. It's that his personal character makes him utterly and totally unfit for the presidency. He's childish, vain, insecure, amoral, petulant, thin-skinned, ignorant, and narcissistic to the extreme. Clearly there was something very wrong in the way he was raised.

Until now, this was mostly just a national embarrassment. It turns out that when things are going OK, the nation can muddle along without a president. But now there's a major crisis and suddenly people are realizing that we need competent leadership and we don't have it.

David in Cal said...

Trump's response to the epidemic has been praised by the Head of the World Health Organization and by Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Gavin Newsom Praises Trump/Pence Response To Virus In California, ‘Every Single Thing They Said They Followed Thru On’

WHO Chief Praises Trump for Leading Coronavirus Response From the Top


OnymousGuy said...

CNS News and Weaselzippers?

These are the kind of sources that, in my opinion, reduce one’s credibility.

Ned said...

Congratulations, DiC, you've discovered that Trump's vanity and child-like mentality make him easily susceptible to flattery by people who want things from him.


"He's Definitely Melting Down Over This": Trump, Germaphobe-in-Chief, Struggles to Control the Covid-19 Story

Republicans close to Trump fear his rosy assessments are fundamentally detached from reality in ways that will make the epidemic worse. "He is trying to control the narrative and he can't," a former West Wing official told me. [...]

"He's just now waking up to the fact that this is bad, and he doesn't know how to respond."

America's Coronavirus Testing Still Isn’t Moving Fast Enough

We know the virus is here and spreading in many places. Restrictive testing policies—especially ones focused on travel outside the United States—clearly don't make sense anymore. There are sick people in this country whose doctors think they need testing and who still cannot be tested. Every day that this epidemic continues without adequate testing, the country's ability to slow the outbreak will deteriorate.

This is the YOLO presidency

The most important lesson Trump learned from both his business days and his political career is that there are no consequences. Ever. For anything. He can lie. He can cheat. He can move goal posts. He can break his promises about deficits or who will pay for the wall. He can renege on international trade deals or private contracts for chandeliers.

Yet he never pays a penalty, at least not politically. His followers forgive and forget [...]

Unfortunately for those he governs, the president has become almost pathologically incapable of thinking about the future. The problem isn’t that he merely plays down the value of tomorrow; he behaves as if tomorrow doesn’t exist.

The unique incompetence of Donald Trump in a crisis

There are, unfortunately, three important differences between the Obama administration’s Ebola response and the Trump administration's covid-19 response. They are all related to the unique incompetence of President Trump coping with a crisis not of his own making. [...]

'Doomed from the Start.' Experts Say the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response Was Never Going to Work

An effective response, experts say, would have required that administration officials capitalized on the temporary delay of new infections offered by containment strategies in order to aggressively prepare for inevitable outbreaks. But not one of the dozens of experts, doctors or former public health officials who spoke with TIME thought that the Trump administration used that delay effectively.

"Quarantines are intended to buy us time. Did we make good use of the time? No"

The containment measures were meant to buy the Trump administration time to move aggressively, but they didn’t do that, Konynkyk added. "What did you do with the delay?" he tells TIME. "If you buy time, you need to use that time to prepare. It's insane to me that they're still harping on containment and travel controls and keeping the disease out when that is not going to be the driver of transmission at this point."

David in Cal said...

Ned - you have a point about my sources. However, those are direct quotes, which should be accurate, since they can be easily checked. OTOH you quote Vanity Fair and Times Magazine, who are equally biased and unreliable, including the use of anonymous sources.


Ned said...

I didn't make any point about your sources. That's a different person. Check the names of the people you're replying to.

Having said that ... if you think "weaselzippers" and "CNS News" are in any way, shape, or form comparable to the actual journalists I quote here (writers for Time, The Atlantic, VF, and WaPo), you're delusional.

Anonymous sources have always been an important part of journalism. Stop drinking the kool-aid.

David in Cal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Layzej said...

those are direct quotes, which should be accurate

That probably depends on the quality of the journal providing the quote. It seems in this case they are hiding the context, misquoting the part they didn't hide, and spinning. This is not journalism, it's propaganda.

"Every Single Thing They Said They Followed Thru On"

The quote is actually:

"Every single thing he said they followed through on"

This was in response to Donald saying one thing publicly but another privately.

Publicly Donald said he was not interested in repatriating the Americans on the cruise ship. Privately he said he would repatriate. His staff are acting on his private statements, not his public ones.

As in: "Every single thing he said (in the private conversation) they (his staff) followed through on"

That's not even faint praise.

Layzej said...

The Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus quote is at least faint praise. He's saying that the file shouldn't be left to the health minister but should be managed from the top, and USA is doing that. He doesn't comment on whether the strategy or execution is any good.

I'm not sure whether Donald is doing a good or bad job. Canada is probably a week or two behind the USA. I think trouble is in store for all of us.

I do know that disinformation is not helpful during a crisis. Donald ought to consult with his experts before he speaks, or leave the communication to the experts or a spokesperson who can accurately relay the facts.

David Appell said...

David iC:

Just want to say that I appreciate your role as the loyal opposition. Thanks.

David in Cal said...

Layzej - I agree. Fortunately, in his most recent press conference, Trump finally did what you suggest. He walked out after an introductory statement and allowed the experts and Pence to answer all the questions.


Layzej said...

Good to hear.

Layzej said...

After watching the way New York went from yellow to red within the span of a few days, I'm reevaluating whether we're a week or two behind the states in terms of infection. Possibly we are a few days from something similar in Toronto or Vancouver.

Layzej said...

Someone in a smallish north Ontario town has been diagnosed. "During the investigation, Public Health Sudbury & Districts discovered the man had attended the Prospectors, Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference on March 2 and 3 in Toronto. The event attracts thousands of delegates every year." -

This is going to quickly blow up in Canada as well.