In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the cable news channels had doctors on to speak about the illness. On CNN, there was Dr. Sanjay Gupta. On MSNBC, you may have seen Dr. Ashish Jha or Dr. Peter Hotez.
Politicians are often at their most popular in times of great crisis. Following 9/11, New York’s previously unpopular leader Rudy Giuliani became “America’s Mayor.” Similarly, following the terrorist attacks, George W. Bush had an approval rating of 92%.
Just a few months ago, Chris Christie was helping Donald Trump prepare to debate against Joe Biden. It’s been a strange couple of months for the former New Jersey governor since then.
Christie contracted a case of COVID-19 that was seriousness enough that he had to be hospitalized. And after Christie recovered, he saw his friend Donald Trump pardon Charles Kushner.
Donald Trump and Chris Christie’s relationship can best be described as strange. The duo were friends for a long time, up until the 2016 Republican primaries. The two frequently insulted each other during the debates.
A Pandemic Nurse’s Diary, by Nurse T with Timothy Sheard. New York: Hardball Press, 2020. 143 pp.
Reading A Pandemic Nurse’s Diary, particularly against prevalent media representations of healthcare workers’ experiences during this pandemic, brought to mind for me the opening words of the sketch by the U.S. radical writer Jesús Colón, “Something to Read,” from his collection A Puerto Rican in New York, in which he describes “a piece of working class literature, a pamphlet, a progressive book or pamphlet” as “precious things.”
On Friday, News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch was vaccinated against COIVD-19. The media mogul received the inoculation in England, where due to his age, he qualified to get the vaccine early on.
The 89 year-old man receiving the treatment would not be a big deal if Murdoch didn’t own Fox News. He is, however, is in charge of a network that has done everything in its power to spread misinformation about the coronavirus.
During his Friday night broadcast, Chris Hayes ripped into Murdoch and Fox for the hypocrisy. The MSNBC host began, “For the past nine months or so, Rupert Murdoch-owned media entities have by and large waged a war against public health and the scientific consensus on containing the coronavirus.”
Hayes continued, “And what makes it all the more infuriating is that, as we have noted, while Fox hosts have been dismissing the experts and suggesting that lockdowns don’t work and ridiculing people that avoid the office, and follow public health guidelines, many Fox News employees have been working remotely, literally at the same time.”
Chris Hayes blasts Rupert Murdoch for getting COVID vaccine as his Fox anchors push misinformation. pic.twitter.com/7ZmBnijj63
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) December 19, 2020
Now that there are multiple COVID vaccines available, lawmakers want to make sure people are taking the shot. If enough Americans don’t get inoculated, it will be difficult to completely eradicate the coronavirus.
So a number of prominent figures have promised to get the shot live on TV. This includes former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
On Friday, Vice President and head of the Coronavirus Task Force, Mike Pence, had his inoculation broadcast live. He told viewers:
“We gather here today at the end of a historic week to affirm to the American people that hope is on the way. Karen and I were more than happy to step forward before this week was out to take this safe and effective coronavirus vaccine that we have secured and produced for the American people. It’s truly an inspiring day.”
Leadership is about setting the right example. With that thought in mind, former president’s Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all plan on getting a COVID vaccine while being filmed.
The reason is obvious. It is exciting that there are multiple strains of the vaccine available, they will not hit their objective if enough people don’t take advantage of it.
There are multiple groups that are seemingly leery about getting vaccinated. Republican voters are cautious after the entire party has been spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and downplaying the danger of the virus.
African Americans, a group that has been hit incredibly hard by COVID, also have a history of worry about inoculations. Survey’s have shown they very few of them plan on getting the vaccine.
So Joe Biden also plans on showing leadership by publicly getting vaccinated. He told reporters on Wednesday, “
I don’t want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take. When I do it, I’ll do it publicly, so you can all witness my getting it done.”
There are few people who are more loyal members of Team Trump than Rudy Giuliani. And during 2020, members of Team Trump have proven their loyalty by eschewing both masks and any kind of COVID-19 protection.
While fighting to overturn the 2020 election results, Giuliani has made a point of not wearing a face covering. A recent video showed him badgering a court witness to take off her mask so that he can hear her better.
Not surprisingly, the former New York City mayor has contracted COVID (as has his protege, lawyer Jenna Ellis). While Chris Christie was chastened by contracting the illness, the same can’t be said of Giuliani.
The Trump lawyer made the comments while calling into his own WABC radio show on Tuesday. “I think you can overdo the mask,” he claimed. “You can overdo almost anything. Everything done in moderation makes much more sense.”
Giuliani continued by taking a shot at president-elect Joe Biden. “
You don’t screw around your whole life because of an illness,” he said. “We face risk! I’d rather face risk than live in a basement all my life.”
The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic largely took place in certain areas of the country. The hardest hit states were full of Democrats with New York, Washington state and New Jersey being hit the hardest.
The second wave, which is happening right now, has been hitting every state in the Union. Those hardest hit now, though, are typically red states where lawmakers have been less enthusiastic about implementing public safety policies.
And the results are starting to get much worse than we saw earlier in the year. On Thursday, 2,706 people died from the virus. There are 101,000 people in the hospital with COVID, a record for the country. Experts expect the death tally to rise until much of the country is vaccinated.
Tucker Carlson, however, feels that these predictions are only meant to close schools and cancel Christmas. The Fox host told his audience on Thursday:
“You hear me? 250,000 Americans dead. You hear me?” A quarter million people. That’s a lot of people. In fact, that’s more than the total number of combat deaths over the entire American Civil War — which, by the way, lasted 4 years — condensed into a single month. Imagine, a Gettysburg every day of the week.”
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have long had a symbiotic relationship. For Trump, who is not respected by most world leaders, Putin’s compliments and support are welcomed. For Putin, there mere presence of Trump in the White House helps lower America’s power and standing around the world.
And Trump’s presidential term continues to be a gift for the Russian leader. The president’s refusal to accept the results in a free and fair election surely please Putin.
Frequent Trump critic Mitt Romney made this point while speaking to Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. The Utah senator told the CNN host:
“The attorney general has said there’s no there there. The courts have all looked at the evidence and said there’s no evidence there. Now, of course, there will be circumstances where one or two, or a handful, maybe even 100 ballots were incorrectly sent in or counted, and those things get adjusted and get fixed. But the idea of widespread fraud is simply not been shown to us.”
The last time a pandemic hit the United States was during the 1918 Spanish Flu. And with pandemics only hitting the country every one hundred years or so, it can be difficult for the government to figure out the best way to handle it.
One thing is for certain, though, few could have handled it worse than Donald Trump. The Conservative cable news programs, however, cannot directly attack Trump for his utter failure to combat the virus. Instead they’ve made Dr. Anthony Fauci public enemy number one.
During the nightly broadcasts of Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, the renowned immunologist has been called incompetent. Fauci has been blamed for steering Trump in the wrong direction.
And during his Wednesday night broadcast, Tucker Carlson called for Dr. Fauci to never work in public policy ever again.
The Fox host told his audience:
“Two days before that classified Senate briefing that only 14 senators showed up for, Dr. Tony Fauci went on television to reassure Americans they could relax. Calm down, America, you can trust the Chinese government. If the Chinese are telling us that this virus jumped from a pangolin in a wet market and no one even knew it existed until New Year’s Eve and we’re doing our very best to contain it, then that’s what happened.”
Candace Owens has had quite a meteoric rise in the last 5 years. She claims that before Donald Trump, she was a Democrat. But after the Gamergate controversy, Owens says that she became a conservative overnight.
And she’s become a big time favorite of Conservatives. Owens missives are frequently retweeted by the Trump family. She did not, however, receive an invitation to speak at the Republican National Convention.
The conservative activist is now working for the Daily Wire and recently appeared on The Alex Jones Show. Conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson was filling in for Jones.
When the topic of vaccines came up, Owens told Watson, “What does every society in the world that has had slaves had in common? And the answer is that there was always more slaves than there were masters.”
The Right Wing pundit continued, “There is always going to be more of us than them. You know, if we say no, it’s a no.”
While these comments are certainly controversial, they are mostly par for the course when it comes to Owens.
During the summer’s George Floyd protests, she said on her Facebook Live:
“We are being sold a lot of lies at the detriment to the black community, at the detriment to the white community and at the detriment to America as a whole. So, I want to come out and say that I do not support George Floyd and the media’s depiction of him as a martyr for black America.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is rampaging throughout the country. The disease has also made its way through the White House with Donald, Melania and Barron Trump all contracting the virus.
And in the months that have followed, the disease has continued to spread throughout the Republican party. As many have noted on Twitter, more Republican senators have contracted COVID-19 than have publicly acknowledged Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
On Friday, news broke that Donald Trump Jr. has now contracted the illness. The biggest surprise of the situation may be that it has taken this long for Donald Trump’s oldest son to test positive.
Not only has Trump Jr. regularly attended rallies that featured no social distancing and few face masks, his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle contracted the illness earlier this year.
Jennifer Jacobs from Bloomberg tweeted, “Don Jr, the president’s son, has tested positive for coronavirus. He escaped the virus when people around him got infected, including his girlfriend Kimberly, but now has it, per multiple sources.”
Jacobs continued, “Earlier this week Donald Trump Jr. tested positive for coronavirus and has been quarantining at a private location, I’m told. He’s following all medically recommended COVID-19 guidelines, a spokesperson says.”
Earlier this week @DonaldJTrumpJr
tested positive for coronavirus and has been quarantining at a private location, I’m told.
He’s following all medically recommended COVID-19 guidelines, a spokesperson says.
The COVID-19 pandemic is currently raging throughout the United States. The Trump administration has focused all of its energy on contesting the results of the election and has essentially ignored the virus.
Joe Biden is eager to start tackling the pandemic. The president-elect had a call on Thursday that included 5 GOP Governors. There is little he can do, however, while Donald Trump is still president.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a plan on helping to control the disease until both Biden and vaccines come along. The New York congresswoman thinks the country should be paying people to stay home.
AOC made the suggestion in a Thursday tweet-thread. She began, “To get the virus under control, we need to pay people to stay home.”
To get the virus under control, we need to pay people to stay home.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 19, 2020
The congresswoman continued, “Republicans are mad at this when they literally just voted to do just this in March. The reason they’re opposed to it now is because last time they got a Wall Street bailout and this time all that’s left is helping working people, the disabled, the poor, etc.”
Ocasio Cortez closed her comments, “Funny how you didn’t hear Republicans complain about “spending other people’s money” or ask “how are we going to pay for it?!” when they insisted on creating a $4 trillion leveraged slush fund for their Wall Street buddies in March.”
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 19, 2020
There is clearly bad blood between the family’s of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t always that way, though. Bill and Hillary Clinton famously attended the wedding between Trump and Melania Knaus.
And growing up as teenagers in the spotlight, Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump had formed a friendship. The friendship, however, did not survive through the 2016 election.
Clinton told Bravo host Andy Cohen earlier this year, “I’ve not spoken to her since 2016, and Andy, I have no interest in being friends with someone who is not only complicit but actively taking part in this administration’s every day collision of cruelty and incompetence.”
And now Clinton isn’t holding back her feelings on the Trump family and how they’ve treated the secret service agents tasked with protecting them.
The former first daughter shared a Washington Post article about more than 130 secret service agents who have either contracted COVID-19 or were in quarantine due their their contact with the Trumps.
Clinton wrote, “Shame on you, Donald Trump, and your family. You put those sworn to protect you at risk with your reckless, dangerous choices. Hope every Secret Service agent and their family members receive the same care you did if they get sick from COVID-19.”
Shame on you, @realDonaldTrump and your family. You put those sworn to protect you at risk with your reckless, dangerous choices. Hope every Secret Service agent and their family members receive the same care you did if they get sick from #covid19. https://t.co/XJqDCzSRrK
Donald Trump‘s performance during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an utter failure. It has been so pathetic, in fact, that the president himself contracted the virus and needed an experimental cocktail of drugs to get better.
The supporters of the president, both in government and in cable news, will do anything to absolve Trump of any blame. And in order to deflect the attention from the president, these people have largely blamed renowned immunologist Anthony Fauci.
Monday’s announcement of a promising Pfizer vaccine has particularly stuck in the craw of Republicans. Conservatives think that the timing of the announcement was delayed in order to hurt Donald Trump‘s reelection chances.
On Thursday night, Lou Dobbs ranted, “Dr. Anthony Fauci today — that’s right, he hasn’t gone away. He is, well, he’s up on a perch claiming advancements of the China virus vaccines will mean the China virus pandemic may soon be over. Now, you do remember how many times he’s changed his mind and how he made it a jihad of sorts against the Trump presidency? Well, here’s his very latest pronouncement, as of this morning.”
Despite Dobb’s comments, Dr. Fauci has said that it will take more than just a vaccine to end the pandemic. He said during a Thursday webinar:
“The cavalry is coming but don’t put your weapons down, you better keep fighting because they are not here yet. Help is on the way, but it isn’t here yet. So to me, that is more of an incentive of, ‘Please don’t give up. Don’t despair, the end is in sight,’ as opposed to: ‘Hey, we are good to go, don’t worry about anything.’ We are not good to go. We have got to continue to double down on public health measures.”
When Donald Trump was tasked with beating back the coronavirus in early March, he failed spectacularly. At that point, he was backed by experienced doctors like Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci.
The COVID pandemic is once again growing in America. While Trump has behaved as if the country has put it behind them, the US is close to hitting 100,000 new cases a day.
And voices like those of Birx and Fauci have been silenced within the White House. They’ve been replaced by that of Scott Atlas, an unqualified doctor who is often willing to tell Trump whatever he wants to hear.
And because of the presence of Atlas, Birx has reportedly stopped attending task force meetings and hasn’t been to one since the summer.
CNN’s Kate Bennett says, “I hate to use the term doctor shopping, but it almost feels like if this is what President Trump did until he found someone in the medical field that agrees with him.”
A colleague of Birx, Dr. Jerome Kim, told host Jake Tapper:
“I’ve known Debbie a long time. She really is completely driven by getting things done and being effective, and I think she’s frustrated. If she can’t get it done in the White House, the way to do it is go into the field and use personal diplomacy to convince politicians there is a right way to do this and a right way to approach things, and the consequences of failure are significant. Without an authority coordinating things centrally, the only thing you can do is make people aware of the facts and the truth, and my guess is this is her solution.”
Restaurants have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Indoor eateries have been highlighted as places where the illness could spread more quickly than others.
And the Republican party has been oddly focused on the food services industry. Recently, when he was asked what people don’t like wearing masks, Donald Trump replied by saying waiters.
And Rand Paul also seems fixated on waiters and how they should operate. The Kentucky senator referenced restaurants during a recent for Republican House candidate Nick Freitas.
“If I owned a restaurant,” Paul said, “I’d have a whole wing for senior citizens or for anybody who is worried about getting sick, and I would say, all my servers have already had it. If I had a cruise ship… everybody would have had the infection that works on the boat.”
Rand Paul says 97% of viruses can go through cloth masks and calls for restaurants to set up senior only zones to be served by waiters who have survived their battles with COVID. https://t.co/nXddZndM3c
Donald Trump wants to hold rallies and nothing is going to stop him. Even if those events are being held in states with rising COVID case loads. Iowa certainly fits the bill. The state is currently seeing around 20% of its tests come back positive.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has ignored the rising cases and moved the reopen the state at a breakneck pace. She also says that she trusts Iowans to do “the right thing.” But on Wednesday night, she was appearing at Donald Trump’s Des Moines rally where neither social distancing or mask use was being practiced.
In mid-September, Reynolds told reporters, “I think the goal is to do what we can to reduce the spread of the virus. I believe that is the end goal and that we can get there without a mask mandate. I believe that and that’s what I’m going to consistently do. I trust Iowans to do the right thing, and I think they are doing the right thing.”
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has mandated masks and social distancing for large gatherings, yet she is at Donald Trump’s super-spreader event in Iowa where neither are being observed.
The GOP has made it clear that they won’t follow any rules, even the ones they made themselves. https://t.co/GbJisZaeZe