Melting Down? Is It Stroke City Yet?

Some networks (they know who they are) are still broadcasting the Toddler’s demented “briefings” — despite many calls for them to stop. According to the internet, yesterday’s performance was especially toxic. Maybe the guy will finally have a stroke? Here’s most of an account from The Guardian that gets bonus points for (1) referring to him as a “toddler” and (2) bringing up his resignation (it’s gratifying to see that a talented journalist reads Whereof One Can Speak religiously, as everyone should!):

A toddler threw a self-pitying tantrum on live television on Monday night. Unfortunately he was 73 years old, wearing a long red tie and running the world’s most powerful country.

[DT], starved of campaign rallies, Mar-a-Lago weekends and golf, and goaded by a bombshell newspaper report, couldn’t take it any more. Years of accreted grievance and resentment towards the media came gushing out in a torrent. He ranted, he raved, he melted down and he blew up the internet with one of the most jaw-dropping performances of his presidency.

This was, as he likes to put it, “a 10”.

[His] Easter had evidently been ruined by a damning 5,500-word New York Times investigation showing that [he] squandered precious time in January and February as numerous government figures were sounding the alarm about the coronavirus.

With more than 23,000 American lives lost in such circumstances, some presidents might now be considering resignation. Not [him]. He arrived in the West Wing briefing room determined to tell the world, or at least his base, that he was not to blame. Instead it was a new and bloody phase of his war against the “enemy of the people”: the media. Families grieving loved ones lost to the virus were in for cold comfort here.

A CNN chyron is a worth a thousand words: “[DT] refuses to acknowledge any mistakes”; “[He] uses task force briefing to try and rewrite history on coronavirus response”; “[He] melts down in angry response to reports he ignored virus warnings”; “Angry [DT] turns briefing into propaganda session”.

The thin-skinned president lashed out at reporters, swiped at Democrat Joe Biden and refused to accept that he had put a foot wrong. “So the story in the New York Times is a total fake, it’s a fake newspaper and they write fake stories. And someday, hopefully in five years when I’m not here, those papers are all going out of business because nobody’s going to read them,” [he] said.

With a dramatic flourish, the president ordered the briefing room lights dimmed. In a James Bond film, it would be the moment that poisoned gas is piped into the room. What happened wasn’t far off: a campaign-style montage of video clips, shown on screens set up behind the podium. There was footage of doctors saying in January that the coronavirus did not pose an imminent threat, Trump declaring a national emergency, and Democratic governors praising him for providing federal assistance.

Veteran White House reporters said they could never remember such a film being played in that room….

Jon Karl of ABC News asked in consternation: “Why did you feel the need to do that?”

[DT] replied: “Because we’re getting fake news and I like to have it corrected … Everything we did was right.”

Over and over, [he] highlighted his decision to ban some flights from China in late January before there were any virus-related deaths confirmed in the US – even though nearly 400,000 people travelled to the US from China before the restrictions were in place and 40,000 people have arrived there since.

The CBS News correspondent Paula Reid was having none of it and cut to the chase. “The argument is that you bought yourself some time,” she said “You didn’t use it to prepare hospitals. You didn’t use it to ramp up testing. Right now, nearly 20 million people are unemployed. Tens of thousands of Americans are dead.”

[The president] talked over her: “You’re so disgraceful. It’s so disgraceful the way you say that.”

Reid demanded: “How is this newsreel or this rant supposed to make people feel confident in an unprecedented crisis?”

[He] reverted to his China travel restrictions but Reid continued to push him on his inaction in February. [He] was unable to muster a reasonable response. It was a case study in how, when he loses an argument, his instinct is to attack the accuser. He trotted out his frayed, timeworn insult: “You know you’re a fake, your whole network the way you cover it is fake … That’s why you have a lower approval rating than probably you’ve ever had before …”

…. The briefing went on for well over two hours. Even Fox News gave up before the end. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House intelligence committee, spoke for many when he tweeted: “Why do reputable news organizations carry these daily Trump press conferences live?

“They are filled with misinformation and propaganda. From the president himself, no less. The country would be far better served and informed if they used highlights [Note: I wouldn’t use that word] later. Enough is enough.”