“Some people, ain’t no damn good,” is the opening to the classic John Mellencamp song, “Crumblin’ Down.” And though it was recorded in 1983, the song perfectly describes the last week in the campaign to re-elect Donald J. Trump.
America, “you better stand clear when the walls, come tumblin’ down.” And they are all coming down in ways that stagger the imagination. But it is my job to imagine things for you, so I am going to give part of these last seven days my best shot.
Around 1:00 AM on Friday, October 2, President Trump tweeted out the news that he and the First Lady had become infected with the coronavirus. Later that day, he was airlifted via Marine One to Walter Reed Hospital for treatment. And then, pandemonium ensued.
Of course, how many times can guys like me use the word “pandemonium” to describe this bunch? I will give you a final count early next year.
At least thirty-four White House staffers are now also infected, according to a Thursday evening update in New York Magazine. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got it and is in the hospital. He apparently caught it when helping Trump prepare for his horrendous debate performance against challenger Joe Biden on September 29. Or maybe he got it at the super spreader event in the Rose Garden a few days earlier. Why were they in the Rose Garden? Oh, yea. There was a nomination party to fill a court vacancy. It is a controversial move that most Americans oppose, but that’s remarkably small potatoes at the moment.
It seems the president is suddenly interested in COVID-19. He’s learning about how many of the more than 7 million Americans infected have felt. The citizenry might know what his experience is like, and dare I say, what his current health status is if his doctor and communications team would quit lying to us about it. Then again, many of the designated liars are quarantining due to their own infections, so at least the lies are coming from new faces.
And the president began proclaiming he is “cured,” “immune,” and no longer contagious just three days into his battle with it. Those are just three lies of his own this week. The White House refuses to report to America details of the timeline of his testing, his treatment or details of his health.
In the midst of this, new polling shows the president is not only losing his reelection bid, he is dragging down the rest of the Republican ticket with him. But the campaign had the vice presidential debate coming up. That’s it! That will get things back on track. Vice President Mike Pence will destroy Senator Kamala Harris on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City. Right?
Wrong. By the time the dust settled in Utah, polling showed that Harris outperformed the former Indiana governor by more than 20 points.
A few visuals on the stage stole the show. Harris’ expressions on the opposite side of the COVID-required protective plexiglass is a great contrast to Pence’s stoic, predictable presence. But there also seemed to be something wrong with the VP’s left eye. It looked like pink eye, which is a side effect of the coronovirus, though he continues to reportedly test negative. Some of us were a little preoccupied with that until a housefly stole the show by parking on top of Pence’s white hair for two and half minutes on national TV. Social media exploded with comedy. It’s meaningless fun, but it is honestly the hardest I have ever laughed at Pence, and I’ve laughed at him plenty.
On Thursday, the Presidential Debate Commission decided that the October 15 presidential debate will only occur in a virtual format to protect against further spread of the virus. Trump immediately announced that he won’t do that. The trouble is, he’s the one that needs the debate. Biden can coast to victory without some intervening event.
Trump has released a few video rants and given a couple of Fox interviews these last days. Anyone can hear in his voice that he is ill. But his words make it even clearer. Calling Senator Harris a “monster” and a “communist” are indicative of a mania America just hasn’t seen in its president ever before. “25th Amendment” is now trending, 25 days away from Election Day.
I am certain this update will be buried under the rubble of crumblin’ walls that will fall later today or tomorrow. Voters are the only defense left against an experiment in governing that has clearly failed.