God help us. Photo by Reuters. Front photo by Tаrо Yаmаsаkі
Oh man. Apocalypse now or soon: Spreading virus, plunging markets, growing evidence of "gross amateur hour incompetence" by our ill-equipped fake prez and his band of Christian zealots, headed by inept Vice-Pastor Pence. On Monday, WHO confirmed over 108,000 cases of coronavirus around the world, and at least 3,800 deaths. In the U.S., there are at least 500 cases and 22 deaths - despite Trump's blithe pronouncement a few weeks ago the hoax's 15 cases would soon be zero - with daily reports of spread. Facing the crisis is a depleted health system thanks to Trump's oblivious cuts; wildly unprepared hospitals - no masks, tests, info - where barely 1,900 Americans have been tested, often after begging, compared to South Korea's 10,000 tests a day; "chilling" reports of gaps in screening; horrifying reports of a White House ignoring experts' advice in the name of PR; panicked financial markets crashing, in part in recognition that Trump is "literally the worst person to be in charge" of this or any other crisis, including a run on Samsung TVs at Walmart; and the growing consensus of the "stunning," fatal incompetence of Trump, who had since January to get it together and failed, utterly. A pandemic, notes John Pavlovitz, is singularly problematic for Trump. You can't gaslight, bully, threaten, fire, buy off, rage-tweet, lie about, blame windmills or Obama for it: "You can’t bullsh*t a pandemic—so nothing you know how to do will help you here."
Still, the mad king and his minions insist such criticism is "colossal nonsense" because they have God on their side. While evangelicals pray to stop the virus so "the forces of evil don’t use it to disrupt the coming awakenings,” they argue it couldn't come from God, like AIDS, because Trump is president and all's right with the world - though maybe televangelist Jim Bakker should stop shilling his fake cure on TV. In January, many of those believers gathered at a glitzy Miami mega-church to launch the Evangelicals for Trump coalition, where Trump claimed he'll save religion, under siege by "extreme anti-religious" socialists," and declared, “I really do believe we have God on our side. There would have been no other way we could have won (in 2016), right?" He's supported here by many rabid underlings: Mike Pompeo, whose speeches, like "Being A Christian Leader," are deemed "pure proselyization"; Betsy DeVos, who wants to use schools to "build God's Kingdom"; the ever-dazed Ben Carson, who has said suppressing faith is like schizophrenia and just badly failed at pretending there was a plan for the docking of a virus-infected cruise ship; and William Barr, who even Christian leaders say poses "a threat to American democracy” and who recently overlooked two established groups to give million-dollar anti-trafficking grants to sketchy right-wing Christian programs, including Hookers For Jesus - “Follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” - which allegedly practices "born-again coercion."
Little wonder that Mike 'Rapture Boy' Pence kicked off his reign as Coronavirus Czar with "a public prayer photo op," leading Thomas Chatterton Williams to note, “We are so screwed.” “They’re treating this disease with the seriousness and urgency they bring to gun violence,” he wrote, calling Pence performatively praying for the camera "a chilling window into their actual epidemiological unpreparedness and incompetence.” The image was proudly posted by an anti-abortion activist - "This administration invites God’s help" - presumably to reassure us. Instead, it was pilloried by many who specified they object to prayer by a supposed health team (of all men and only two doctors) led by an anti-science fanatic who believes in creationism and conversion therapy, slashed public health funds, and sparked one of the country's worst HIV outbreaks by refusing to approve needle exchanges while he "prayed on it." Others cited scriptures: "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them." Amen. Joining Pence is fellow Trump bootlicker and CDC Director Robert Redfield, a wingnut who in the 1980s called AIDS “God’s judgment” against homosexuals, designed policies that left many dying AIDS victims abandoned, and recently served as ghastly, grinning cheerleader for Trump's deranged visit to the CDC - a surreal spectacle deemed "soul-shreddingly shocking" in its ineptitude.
Though there've been many, fact-free, WTF Trumpisms on the virus - his “hunch” the death rate is "way under 1%" though WHO says it's 3.4%, his urging sick people to go to work, his equating the virus with flu - the bonkers CDC visit, a surreal explosion of MAGA-hat-wearing misinformation and "a repudiation of good science and good crisis management," topped them all. He lied everyone can get “beautiful” tests, called Washington's governor a “snake,” bragged about tests as "perfect" as his Ukraine call, about his Fox ratings, about his “natural ability to understand this stuff," like his friggin' "super-genius" uncle, said he didn't want the stranded cruise ship to dock "because I like the numbers being where they are." He ranted, rambled, spouted gibberish. Others follow suit. Thanks to him, "How many thousands of Americans didn't contract this virus?" Hannity asked Donnie Jr., who recently modelled new, Jiffy-Lube-like cult uniforms while whining about "leftists' tacit complicincy." "Well, many," he gravely intoned. Monday, Trump still jabbered as #MoronAvirus trended, Ted Cruz and Mark Meadows self-quarantined, word of new conflicts and screw-ups and freak-outs emerged, and lawyers offered free representation to coronavirus whistle-blowers. Meanwhile, FLOTUS, in another Be Best Marie Antoinette world, wrote she is "excited to share the progress of the Tennis Pavillion" (sic), complete with hard hat, because never mind the virus and kids in cages and world exploding, let them play tennis. And both days this weekend, Donald played golf. No doubt, God smiled on him.
Coronavirus instructions.— Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) March 4, 2020
Wait for it...pic.twitter.com/WvnKBwKUtb
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Vice Pastor Pence prays it away. Photo-op by D. Myles Cullen