Alden Graves | Graves registry: Paging Dr. Hunch

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"People are really surprised I understand this stuff. Every one of these doctors said, `How do you know so much about this?' Maybe I have a natural ability." - Donald Trump

This just in from the White House: President Donald Trump has generously offered to donate an entire wing of Mar-a-Lago for the care of people who are infected with the coronavirus. Citing a rapidly declining stock market, the upcoming election, and a longstanding humanitarian streak that the state of New York won't let him exploit anymore, Mr. Trump told reporters, "If this doesn't nab me the Nobel Prize, it's rigged."

The First Lady also offered her services and she has contacted a prominent California couturier to begin work on a designer hazmat suit. Mr. Trump, in an uncharacteristically accurate assessment of his wife's role in his administration said, "At least it'll finally give her something to do."

Mr. Trump has no plans to travel to his gaudy Florida estate in the foreseeable future, telling Fox News that he is "kind of tired of golf and New Jersey's closer anyway."

The president, not missing an opportunity to further wedge his foot into his mouth and emphasize the gulf that exists between him and reality, told reporters that the first fatality in the United States from the virus was a "wonderful woman" from Seattle. The fact that the victim was a man is typical of Trump's not knowing what he is talking about. And the word "wonderful" is simply a stock adjective from his limited bag of descriptive words that he uses when he wants to feign praise or sympathy. "Beautiful" pops up a lot, too. You will be thrilled to know that we have a lot of "beautiful coronavirus testing kits" that are "perfect." That's another favorite even if it didn't prevent him from being impeached.

No attempt was made by anyone attending the news conference to correct Trump lest the stark evidence of his woeful ignorance evoke his fury and the Washington Monument begin to teeter. But, is it really asking too much that the president of the United States know the gender of the first American fatality in what is potentially a catastrophic pandemic, the ramifications of which are virtually incalculable at this point?

Mr. Trump put his fawning fan-boy vice president in charge of the government's response to the rapidly expanding crisis. When Mike Pence was governor of Indiana, he opposed a needle exchange program recommended by public health officials to halt an outbreak of the HIV virus in Scott County. Governor Pence, in keeping with the precepts of the ideological Neanderthal that he is, offered prayer as an alternative before he finally bowed to public pressure. In the interim, however, it is now estimated that 127 people contracted HIV.

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Asking a man like Donald Trump to intelligently discuss something as complex as a deadly new strain of virus is like asking a third grader to talk about nuclear fission. The man can't even be bothered to learn how to spell the word correctly ("Caronavirus"). The one thing we know for certain about the coronavirus is that information that may potentially have an enormous impact upon our lives and our livelihoods is now being tightly controlled by an administration that is terrified of its threat to their stranglehold on power in the United States.

Trump is now facing the second major crisis of his misbegotten administration that is not of his own making, but there haven't been any significant deviations from the cruel and disastrous response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico..

Intelligent information about scientific facts has always been the Republican Party's archenemy so, to peddle their desired spin on the coronavirus, they called out the buffoon squad led by the country's premiere dispenser of whack job conspiracy theories. The recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom dismissed the virus responsible (so far) for over 3,300 deaths worldwide as "the common cold."

You really should keep in mind when you read statements from Mr. Trump like the one quoted above that they are emanating from a man who didn't know what state the Super Bowl winners were from. It is from a man who has destroyed more businesses than the San Francisco Earthquake; someone who thinks Vladimir Putin is a swell guy. This is a man who shies away from any kind of personal introspection as if it was a coiled rattlesnake. So, in the vast empty caverns of Donald Trump's mind, what takes years and years of dedicated study for most people, just comes naturally to him.

He has "a hunch" that the death rate — established by people who actually know what they are talking about — is inflated. It is just a hunch, you understand, but it was derived from conversations with people who know a lot about this stuff.

And now, folks, we are all at his mercy. Any information issued by the Centers for Disease Control as to how to combat the coronavirus has to be filtered through the White House. In other words, if it is perceived as a threat to Mr. Trump, it will not be disseminated to the American people. And that, in a nutshell, is the real extent of their concern for us. Even a potential pandemic is all about Donald Trump.

I guarantee the look on the faces of the doctors and scientists at the CDC when Trump made that statement was just sheer wonder as to how this supremely clueless and ignorant man was ever given domain over millions of lives.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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