From the Left



Trump Turns the People’s House into a Petri Dish

Dick Polman on

First of all, those maskless South Lawn cultists who soaked up Donald Trump’s serial lies with a dearth of social distancing should be required to wear badges identifying themselves as MAGA Super-Spreaders. That way, innocents on the street can flee their presence with all deliberate speed.

There’s no better way to distill Trump’s deadly feral narcissistic essence than to assess Thursday night’s desecration of what, until now, was known as the people’s house. We taxpayers were forced to underwrite the toxic spectacle, staged for the sole purpose of coaxing the average American sap into believing that normalcy reigns supreme and that COVID-19 is in the throes of surrender.

I won’t waste your time fact-checking his endless string of lies - I threw up my hands after he declared that he’d “passed” a reform law to help military vets, a law that was actually signed by President Obama in 2014.

Instead, I’ll focus on his pandemic propaganda, which casts him in the role of savior taking bold action to mobilize the country, shut down travel from China and develop the best testing system on Earth.

In truth, long after the virus was on the march, Trump attempted to assure us that U.S. cases were declining to zero, that it was “under control” and would magically “disappear.” He also said testing should be reduced because more confirmed cases made us look bad and states should reopen, even as they were failing to meet health guidelines put in place by his own task force.

Trump also thought Americans might benefit if they gulped hydroxychloroquine or injected a disinfectant.

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that the blood of 180,000 dead Americans is on his hands. But the ballots of low-information voters count just as much as ours. That’s where the serially bankrupt casino owner has placed his bets.

That’s why he keeps peddling the con about his “bold action” shutting down travel from China. In truth, his ban had all kinds of exemptions that still permitted 40,000 people to enter America from China. And the first confirmed virus cases in America came from Europe, not China.

He’s also betting that enough voters will buy his phony boast about how we’ve supposedly built the biggest and best testing program. In truth, when we look at tests per capita, America lags behind many other countries, including Russia. And the time lag between testing and results is longer in America than in many other countries.

And his boast about America’s supposedly low “fatality rate” - the percentage of virus victims who die - is yet another con. The medical experts at Johns Hopkins University report that of the 20 nations most afflicted by the virus, America ranks 11th. And if we measure deaths per 100,000 people, America is one of the worst. It ranks 4th highest.


But the bottom line, of course - which Trump failed to mention Thursday night - is that America, with only four percent of the world’s population, has 25 percent of all confirmed cases. Indeed, between opening night and closing night of the Republican convention, more Americans died from the virus than died on 9/11.

Do the math: Since the dawn of Trump’s pandemic, we’ve had the body count equivalent of 6000 9/11s. If we recall how Republicans went ballistic when a grand total of two people died from Ebola during Obama’s tenure, just imagine how they’d be reacting now if Hillary Clinton - or Joe Biden - had racked up 180,000 dead. They wouldn’t be buying the lies that fouled the South Lawn.

“We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.” That’s what Joe Biden said… on Oct. 15, 2019.

Will a pivotal share of voters guzzle Trump’s Kool-Aid a second time? I’m loath to predict, given what happened the first time. I just wish people would look up Trump’s 2016 acceptance speech and parse this particular passage:

“The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.”


Copyright 2020 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at Email him at

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