Here's a well-known quote from Shakespeare's "Macbeth": "A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Innocent question: Does that timeless quote remind you of anyone?
Trump struts and frets at length on a White House "stage" during his
seemingly endless daily coronavirus briefings. He congratulates himself for his
great victories in the battle against the deadly virus and picks fights with
his enemies, real and imagined. He always claims credit for any good news
and/or positive developments, no matter how trivial, and always blames others
for any mistakes, setbacks or shortcomings. He even went so far as to run a
campaign video during a briefing.
One of his
"enemies" is the respected Wall Street Journal, which had the
temerity to criticize Trump's coronavirus briefings. In a strongly worded
editorial the Journal, which usually agrees with his economic policies, opined
that the president should limit his briefings – which can last two hours, or
more – to 45 minutes, or less, and give more time to his strong supporting
cast, which includes Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the president's
Coronavirus Task Force, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on
first-rate health experts have become supporting actors … ushered on stage to
answer a technical question or two," the Journal observed, asserting that
the daily question-and-answer session frequently "deteriorates into a
dispiriting brawl between the president and his antagonists in the White House
"pat on the back from his newsroom pals," the president goes on the
attack when someone asks a "nasty " question, such as "Why did
you wait so long to order lockdowns and quarantines after your top advisers
told you that COVID-19 was a killer pandemic?"
sort of exchange usually devolves into a useless squabble that helps Mr.
Trump's critics and contributes little to public understanding," the
Journal continued. "If Mr. Trump thinks these daily sessions will help him
defeat Joe Biden, he's wrong."
I wonder if Trump
realizes that his presidency is in the balance because if voters think he lost the
War Against Coronavirus in November, he'll be a one-term president.
reality TV ("The Apprentice") star fired back against the Journal,
calling the editorial "fake news" and reminding everyone that his ratings
are "through the roof." The Journal politely told Trump that his
ratings would be even higher and more helpful if his briefings were
"shorter and more focused." Amen!
our "wartime president" claimed that he has total authority to lift
quarantines and/or reopen businesses in all 50 states even though the 10th
Amendment to the Constitution clearly states that "powers not delegated to
the United States (the president, that is) by the Constitution … are reserved
to the States." Trump backed down, but added that he's thinking of
reopening parts of the economy by May 1.
not a king," some of the more outspoken governors told the president.
"We'll make those reopening decisions, thank you very much." Our
thin-skinned president must be furious and looking for ways to punish those
rebellious governors. Trump's petty dustup with the governors reminds me of a
memorable line from a very funny Mel Brooks movie: "It's good to be the
King." Fortunately, that's not how our representative democracy works.
Thank God we
have constitutional checks and balances as our volatile president navigates his
usually unfocused and unpredictable way through the coronavirus crisis. For our
sake, I wish him well.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.