Donald Trump, virus-truther: His final strategy will be to claim that these deaths aren't real - 2020-05-11
Early last week, George W. Bush released a video in which he called for compassion and solidarity during the pandemic. It was the sort of sentiment we used to assume was just pro forma from our leaders in a time of crisis but was a startling departure from anything we've gotten from President Trump. Trump naturally, was miffed and complained that Bush hadn't supported him during the impeachment.
On Friday, Yahoo News reported on a conference call Barack Obama had with a large group of former administration staff and supporters in an effort to rev them up for the Biden campaign. Since the call included 3,000 participants, Obama undoubtedly knew it would be made public. So his sharp criticism of the administration's response to the COVID-19 crisis was notable. I think everyone expected that he would be campaigning for his former wingman Joe Biden, but this was unusually pointed:
"Absolute chaotic disaster" describes it perfectly. Since Trump has already exploded all the other norms it's past time for some of the elder statesmen to remove the traditional cone of silence that requires former presidents to be quiet during their successor's term. We've got 80,000 dead and counting who need a voice in this disaster.
I was a little bit surprised when Trump didn't respond. He spent the weekend at Camp David with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his national security team. We saw pictures of all these middle-aged and older white men sitting in close quarters without masks, and you have to wonder what could possibly be so important they felt the need to convene such a meeting in the middle of this contagion. Perhaps the president really was too immersed in the crisis to care what his predecessor had to say about him?
Not bloody likely. On Sunday Trump spent the entire day tweeting and retweeting like a lunatic, much of the time about the leftovers of the Russia investigation, including the Michael Flynn case and numerous threats that Obama himself was in the crosshairs of the "investigation of the investigation," which Trump excitedly started calling "OBAMAGATE." Apparently he finally heard about that phone call.