The Shootout on Fifth Avenue has Begun

When campaigning in Iowa during January of 2016, Donald Trump said “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”  At the time it was a statement of how blindly loyal his voters were.  He was rightfully confident that people who supported him would unquestionably accept any behavior from him.  As the campaign rolled out of Iowa, and we got to see more of the real Donald Trump, it increasingly seemed like the upstart candidate had finally told the truth. The long list of atrocious behavior, outrageous claims, intentional deceptions, combined with an embarrassing disregard for history and of the Constitution already has been well documented.  Trump rolled to victory over a clown car of the best the Republican establishment could muster, and then in a flurry of atrocious behavior, outrageous claims, intentional deceptions, combined with an embarrassing disregard for history and of the Constitution, Trump was handed the nuclear football in a stunning victory over Hillary Clinton.

For many of us, it would only be a matter of time before this uniquely unqualified stooge would drag our country into a mess from which we might genuinely struggle to recover.  His parade of lies, his inability to find any qualified advisors (at least ones not destined for federal prison), and his complete contempt for a free press has already cast him in the role of “Worst President Ever.”  At the time I called his election the worst day in American history; and despite the harassment from the most curious of species, the Trump supporter, and the professional consequences levied by inept and spineless school administrators, there hasn’t been a day that I stopped believing in the veracity of that claim.

Again, the list of Trump miscues, high crimes, and misdemeanors is well documented.  In a world where a man might actually be punished for shooting a man on Fifth Avenue, Trump would have been removed from office a long time ago.  But his Republican enablers, who so hated him when he came into their lives, saw a path to making their racism, misogyny, and greed the law of the land.  In the end, of course, it is not Trump nor his voters who are to blame for the consequences of Trump’s atrocious behavior, outrageous claims, intentional deceptions, combined with an embarrassing disregard for history and of the Constitution.  We will have to build a new wing of the National Hall of Shame for Mitch McConnell and his slappies who unconstitutionally messed with the Supreme Court, abrogated their responsibilities as the most important branch of the government, and when given a chance to clean it all up, refused to remove the impeached and red-handed criminal, Donald J. Trump, from office.

But I digress.

In February and March of 2020, Trump started shooting people in the middle of Fifth Avenue.  As the rest of the world became aware of the COVID-19 virus and its potential destructiveness, Donald Trump downplayed the threat.  He called it a hoax.  He blamed Democrats for trying to use the virus to attack him.  “The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus,” Trump said. “One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That did not work out too well. They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. … They tried anything. … And this is their new hoax.”  Instead of mobilizing the immense power of the federal government to develop testing and a plan to deal with the problem, Trump use the power of his office to assure his foo….er…his supporters that like every other challenge of the past 3+ years, he was blameless and the problem was with the truth tellers telling the truth.

The CDC refused to adopt WHO-approved and effective test kits in favor of one they were developing that turned out not to work.  Early testing would have saved lives…perhaps tens of thousands of lives.  The CDC even refused to approve promising work from organizations outside of itself.  They waited until March 2 to approve work by the Cleveland Clinic.  Nine days later…NINE!…a new testing kit was ready to go that could reveal accurate results in 8-10 hours instead of 2-3 days.  I suppose when all this is over, some analytics team much smarter than me, will be able to model how many lives would have been saved had we taken the problem seriously from the outset.

Trump’s contempt for science and the truth did not start in 2020. In 2018, he cut funding for a pandemic response team and never restored it.  While federal deficits soar and money pours into the pockets of the rich, scientists who most certainly would have had at least some positive effect on the impending pandemic were sent packing.  Throughout the crisis Trump has eschewed the data and the counsel of scientists in favor of his perceived natural abilities to know what to do.  (This, despite his admission that he didn’t realize people died from the flu.)

As Trump downplayed the disease and made it all about him, the virus has been spreading throughout the country.  The body count is just beginning.  It is almost certain each of us will personally know someone who dies from this.  In the end, we will have the opportunity to ask if Trump was telling the truth in January of 2016.  Will we really let him get away with murder?

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