Alden Graves | Graves Registry: He knew the truth all along

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Donald Trump is defending his indefensible handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by saying that more people could have died. The real tragedy, of course, as we approach the appalling 200,000 dead mark is that it is very likely that far fewer would have died if we weren't cursed with this ongoing nightmare of a presidency.

And still, the stalwarts defend him. In a television ad, Big Trump Booster Elise Stefanik voices her concern for the plight of senior citizens and castigates New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's mishandling of restrictions on nursing homes. The ad ends with Stefanik surrounded by a bevy of smiling old folks. None of them are wearing masks. A recent column in the Banner bemoaned the negative tone of the Democratic National Convention. I would wager that people standing on the sloping decks of the Titanic weren't commenting on how bright the stars were that night.

There's something to be said about the magnitude of the stupidity involved when a man who has been consistently downplaying and dismissing the seriousness of one of the most catastrophic events in modern history admits, on tape, to a journalist that he was always aware of the deadly potential of the cononavirus.

He knew how it was transmitted. He knew it was much worse than a bout with the flu. He knew.

(The virus is) "more deadly than your, you know, your — even your strenuous flus. This is deadly stuff," Trump told Bob Woodward in February.

That was one of the more startling (not to be confused with surprising) revelations in Woodard's new book, "Rage," that incorporated taped conversations with Trump. (The fact that Trump's words were actually recorded on tape should dissuade no one from believing that he can't or won't deny he ever said them.) In a surprisingly knowledgeable segment of the 18 interviews he gave to the co-author of "All the President's Men," the president informed Woodard that he was perfectly aware of the gravity of the situation.

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Someone presciently said that we could not have had a worse person in the White House as the pandemic raged across the country. That person was absolutely right. We didn't have a compassionate man who was capable of acting for the greater good of the people in a nation he professes to love, we had a hollowed out shell of a human being, capable only of calculating the effect the virus would have upon his fortunes, political and personal.

He was recently confronted by ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl about lying to the American people about the deadly threat of the virus. Mr. Trump climbed up upon Indignant, the high horse that transports him away from having to answer serious questions concerning his callous incompetency. Sputtering nonsense about wanting to avoid panic, he berated Karl for asking the question, even including the word "phraseology" in the rebuke that I would have previously thought was beyond the limited confines of Mr. Trump's verbal expertise.

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The following is a compilation of statements made to the American people as the death toll surged and Trump's chances for reelection diminished exponentially. Bear in mind, he knew the truth about COVID-19 from the beginning: "We have it very much under control in this country." "It's going to be just fine." "It's one person coming in from China." "It's a Democratic hoax." "We're doing a great job with it." "It's going to have a very good ending for us." "We're in great shape." "We have 12 cases — 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now." "Just stay calm. It will go away." "When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days, it is going to be down to close to zero." "It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle — it will disappear."

Allaying panic — is he kidding? The man whose very name instills a chilling sense of dread throughout the entire world is going to play Daddy Donald because the American people aren't capable of handling the truth about an issue that will either profoundly alter or — in some cases — claim their lives?

It is as if the National Weather Service opted to keep a Category 5 hurricane quiet to prevent spreading alarm in the area threatened by the storm. There is no difference despite how Trump's appeasers attempt to spin it. The American people had a right to know exactly what they were facing. Those gooey globs of pabulum he fed us have nothing to do with avoiding panic. They are transparent attempts to save his own endangered butt.

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The Trump administration has worked tirelessly to undermine any rational scientific conclusions about the virus if it interferes with Mr. Trump's spoonful of sugar approach. Elementary precautions such as the wearing of masks have been sneered upon and actively discouraged. The public's faith in the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control has been polluted by political interference. Potential leaders in the fight against COVID-19 have been demoted, demeaned, or dismissed by a clueless amateur who, at one point actually recommended drinking caustic disinfectant as a potential cure, and by the damnable complicity of his sycophants.

It's hard to believe that anyone could make it into his mid-seventies and still think people could drink Lysol. And, did I mention that he has the nuclear codes?

But hey, the news isn't all bad. A Wisconsin judge denied Kanye West from including his name on the presidential ballot. Can you imagine this egotistical clown in the White House with Kim Kardashian posing as first lady?

Come to think of it, it probably wouldn't be that much of a change.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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