Donald Trump is not modest

The only place Trump's name belongs is on the virus that affected million

US President Donald Trump waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return to Washington from Camp David, US, November 29, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/YURI GRIPAS)
US President Donald Trump waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return to Washington from Camp David, US, November 29, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/YURI GRIPAS)
Franklin D. Roosevelt said that any memorial to him should be a block of stone no larger than his desk, placed outside the National Archives. It took 20 years after his death to dedicate that modest piece of granite and until 1997 for a larger memorial to be dedicated.
Donald Trump is not that modest or patient. On his way out of town, the 45th president has sent aides scouring the country for high visibility opportunities for – literally – keeping his name in the public eye. Reports say he’d like an airport (but only one with a good reputation), an aircraft carrier, a major public building or some other memorable landmark. He reportedly wants it nailed down before leaving office.
That shouldn’t surprise anyone. He has devoted decades to naked self-promotion, even licensing the use of his name on properties he doesn’t own. Selling his celebrity status has been a major source of income. His brand can be found on office towers, hotels, golf courses, aircraft and casinos from Washington, DC, to Scotland, Istanbul, Brazil, Mexico and China.
Increasingly, it has been a mark of failure. Who wants to remember his multiple marriages, bankruptcies, failed casinos, Trump University, Trump steaks, neckties, deodorant, Trump Airline and mattresses? The New York Daily News called him an “egomaniacal mogul” who named at least 222 companies after himself as of 2010.
Not least is his failed presidency. Two “perfect” phone calls, one that got him impeached and another on tape, will be permanent reminders of four years of chaos, corruption and lies.
One of his greatest disappointments – other than losing the presidency, which he tries to deny – is not getting the recognition he complains he richly deserves but which his enemies have plotted to deny him. He was so upset not to be named Time’s “Person of the Year” that he had fake magazine covers announcing the award printed up, framed and hung in his golf clubs.
But the biggest and most elusive have been several Nobel Peace Prizes he felt he deserved for bringing peace to the Balkans, the Middle East and Korea. To rectify the insults and oversight, Trump awarded it to himself, tweeting a video of himself with a Nobel Prize superimposed alongside the presidential seal.
He also claims credit for the COVID-19 vaccines.
“Everybody’s calling to thank me” for the “miracle” vaccines. “If I wasn’t president you wouldn’t have a vaccine for five years,” he told a Fox News interviewer. Missing in all this boasting is any empathy for the victims.
FACED WITH widespread complaints about failing to develop a national strategy to deal with the pandemic, a vaccine distribution policy or providing state and local public health officials with urgently needed funding, he tweeted last week, “The Federal Government has distributed the vaccines to the states. Now it is up to the states to administer. Get moving!”
Trump calls it the China virus to deflect any hint of accountability. Among his most memorable words were, “I don’t take responsibility at all,” when a reporter asked about problems dealing with the coronavirus. He put all the blame on Democratic governors and mayors and China.
If Harry Truman’s motto was “The buck stops here,” Trump’s is “The buck passes here.” He confessed to Bob Woodward early last year that he knew early on the virus was more “deadly” than the flu but downplayed the threat because he didn’t want to “panic” people by telling them the truth.
He called the virus a hoax, said it was “under control,” likened it to the flu and assured everyone it would disappear right after the election.
“Just stay calm. It will go away,” he said, “like a miracle – it will disappear.” He called warnings of the current deadly second wave “fake news.” He even threatened to fire experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who contradicted him, while relying on advice from obsequious charlatans.
When confronted by the worst crisis to face the nation in a century, the man who ran for the presidency boasting of his management skills and declared “only I can fix it,” went AWOL.
He appeared at a few public briefings by his task force, where he quickly changed the subject to air his grievances and boast about his achievements, real and imagined.
Instead of developing a national pandemic strategy, he turned over all responsibility – and blame – to the states, showing up only to take credit for any successes. He feared that talking too much about the pandemic might depress voters and harm his chances for reelection, so he pushed for premature opening the economy and schools and lifting local restrictions. Criticized for his lack of empathy for the millions of victims and their families, he said he saw his role as the nation’s “cheerleader.”
He politicized testing, mask-wearing and other mitigation measures, hosted super-spreader events at the White House, Mar-a-Lago and political rallies, and touted quack cures and dangerous treatments like hydroxychloroquine and household disinfectants.
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu could teach Trump a lesson about responding to the pandemic. Facing initial criticism for mishandling the crisis and facing political and legal problems of his own, he made the vaccination campaign a personal mission. His country has become a world leader in vaccinations, with some 15% of the population inoculated as of this writing, compared to less than 1.5% in the United States. The Jerusalem Post reports Israel’s proportional mortality rate from the disease has been “notably lower” than the US by two thirds.
Health officials in Israel have been quoted saying it could be the first country fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It helps that the country has a more advanced and inclusive healthcare and insurance system, covering more people than the US and having a leader who takes the threat seriously.
The United States, with 4.25% of the world’s population, has 25% of its coronavirus cases, over 21 million. And Trump can’t blame that on China, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or Democratic governors, as much as he tries.
Since the election, he has barely mentioned the disease except to try to take credit for the vaccine. Pfizer, the first to develop an approved vaccine, got no federal funding and distanced itself from Operation Warp Speed, which has fallen far short of its promised goals.
One of Trump’s more obsequious admirers, Geraldo Rivera of Fox News, has suggested that the vaccine be named for Trump.
Not so fast. The one place where Trump’s name rightly belongs (in addition to the list of failed, one-term and corrupt presidents) is on the virus that has infected nearly 21 million Americans and killed more than 352,000 people on his watch. That’s more than the number of US combat deaths in World War II.
Typically, and with no evidence, Trump falsely claims that without his intervention the COVID-19 death toll would be millions, so he wants to be credited with saving all those lives.
COVID-19 should be known as the Trump virus. It showed up on his watch, just a year ago, and he met it with neglect, excuses, grievances and tragic ineptitude. His disastrous response can be blamed for tens of thousands of deaths.
Ultimately, it is that cold-blooded trail of human carnage, not the lies, the public tantrums or even the failed coup to overthrow an election that will define the Trump presidency for the ages and bear his name. And shame.