As I watched a pale President Donald Trump in his plush hospital suite stage videos, one in which he signed what appeared to be a blank sheet of paper, I must admit I was not the least bit sympathetic to his COVID-19 diagnosis.
Unlike so many public officials who took the high road by sending thoughts and prayers, I felt nothing. Zero. I’ll save my compassion for those who lack the kind of world-class medical treatment that Trump is receiving, and for those whose health insurance he and the Republican party want to abolish. (I have noticed that he is feeding quite excellently at the public trough for his $750 annual tax payment.)
If the last four years have taught me anything it is that, in the former first lady Michelle Obama’s words, to go high when they go low, is utter nonsense. When our democracy is threatened niceties are the last refuge of the naiveté. It’s like bringing a used Q-tip to a gunfight. The low road that the docile GOP and its unhinged ringleader have razed with their bulldozers should cause every American to reconsider what “doing the right thing” means.
Trump’s own examples of how not to behave are instructive for this rather delicious moment when the great coronavirus denier, the mask-less one, the contagion-in-chief, got his much-deserved comeuppance.
Sadly, those examples are too numerous to review, but it is worth noting his comments when Senator John McCain passed away. Former Homeland Security official Miles Taylor told the New York Times last month that he received an urgent call from the White House regarding the lowering of the flag at half-staff following the senator’s death.
“I get someone from the White House, a senior person there, who calls and says, ‘What is going on with the flags? The president is upset, this has gone out too soon and he doesn’t want it to happen.'”
A second example involving Trump’s attitude toward American heroes is also worth noting. The Atlantic reported that in 2018 Trump labeled war veterans buried at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France as “losers” and “suckers” for serving our nation.
His quote: “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” So, of course, he didn’t pay his respects to those soldiers during his visit to France. Besides, it was raining that day and the man who writes off tens of thousands of dollars for personal haircare did not want his coiffure to suffer a muss up.
Neither Trump, whose mysterious bone spurs kept him from serving, nor any members of his family, will ever be considered heroes. Yet, as I write this, the president is receiving medical care at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center that has long provided care for those military heroes, none of who are losers or suckers.
Nightmare of Trumpism
With as much hateful rhetoric and inciteful vitriol that President Trump has spawned and spewed out into our divided nation (and into the greater world), why would I ever wish him a speedy and full recovery? So he can wreak more havoc? So he can further trample the Constitution?
I suspect the feeling is mutual. He cares nothing for me, a loyal lifetime Democrat who supports Joe Biden in the hope that we can end the nightmare of Trumpism. In fact, I would argue, Trump would wish for my own painful demise from coronavirus. After all, he has not exactly been sending out prayers to the 210,000 Americans felled by this plague. So, is a continuation of that beastly behavior worthy of my sympathies?
Consider another odious politician: the late Senator Joseph McCarthy. Consider the lives he ruined, the “enemies within,” as he rooted out imaginary Communists through his venal House Committee on Un-American Activities.
Consider that his chief counsel was Roy Cohn, a horrid individual on which President Trump has modeled his own despicable behavior. In 1957, when McCarthy was dying from alcoholism and hepatitis in Bethesda Naval Hospital, aka Walter Reed Army Medical Center, would we have been sending him thoughts and prayers? Is this the higher road we should have taken? Would those actions have made us better human beings?
As he languished in the hospital, simply another elderly man facing mortality, I wondered if it occurred to Trump that, as the Bible says, “a man reaps what he sows.”
Anyway, whatever fate awaits the president is out of my hands. Prayers matter little and I have none left to spare for the likes of him. I make no apologies. No one lives forever. It is what it is, and one day, just like the rest of us, he will simply disappear into that great unknown. To use his words, it will be like a miracle. But, I might add, an ordinary miracle at that.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.