From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:
“An unnerving revelation struck me as I watched the president* deliver his address to the nation on Wednesday night concerning this country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. At this point in his woebegone administration*, I much prefer the president* as the vituperative seventh-grade name-calling goon that he is on the stump than I do his periodic attempts to be a world leader. The former is more natural, more authentic, and therefore, and in a perverse way, more comforting. The latter just seems dangerous and weird.
This was not a speech. This was a cry for help, an SOS from a guy who knows, as Micheal Ray Richardson once put it, that the ship be sinking. You could almost imagine thousands of tiny feet running for lifeboats behind his eyes. You could see him reacting to storm sirens only he could hear. He is thrashing and floundering and he is surrounded by thrashers and flounderers who owe their entire careers to him now. This isn’t chaos. It is surrender to it.
Imagine if, in his address to the nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis, John F. Kennedy had announced a naval blockade of, say, Jamaica, and then had to walk it back minutes later to explain that he meant Cuba. That’s what we had Wednesday night when, minutes after the cameras in the Oval Office went dark, the White House had to rush out explanations that the president*, in discussing his own new policy proposals, didn’t know what in the hell he was talking about. From Business Insider:
Trump and the officials quickly walked back his nationally-televised statements that 1) the administration would ban all travel from Europe to the United States, 2) the ban would also apply to trade and cargo between the US and Europe, and 3) major health insurers would waive co-pays on coronavirus treatment.
Meanwhile, as soon as he began speaking, the Dow futures fell off a cliff. Many people noticed that the exemption on the European travel ban granted to the United Kingdom benefitted his golf properties there. On Thursday morning, pandemonium reigned in European airports. Stop helping, Mr. President*. In the name of god, stop helping.
You knew it was all going to go terribly wrong in the first few sentences when the president* referred to the source of the pandemic as “a foreign virus”—This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.—as though it were something Stephen Miller could lock in a cage and then deport. And, of course, the claim was as false as it was stupid. As the Washington Post helpfully points out, the administration*’s response to this outbreak has been to deny it, ignore it, downplay it, and now to use it as an excuse to ram through some tax cuts, a form of antibiotics that Joseph Lister never thought of.
That was not the speech of a president*. That was not even the speech of a bad president*. That was not even the speech of the worst president* we ever elected. It was the desperate wailing of a man who has fallen down a well, and there’s nobody up there to hear him.