President Donald Trump was in one of his whiny moods. He was talking about Dr. Anthony Fauci, who’s been the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 36 years. “He’s got this high approval rating,” grumbled the president. After all, he’s followed some of Fauci’s recommendations. “So why don’t I have a high approval rating?” Indeed.
Tony Fauci threw out the first pitch at Washington Nationals’ opening day and it was wild, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, Topps, the guys that make baseball cards, made one of Fauci in action. They sold out in 24 hours — all 51,512 of them.
But now that you’ve asked, Mr. President, here are some of the reasons. You’ve ignored too many of the recommendations of Dr. Fauci and so many public health experts — made before coronavirus reached our shores, during the time the deadly attacker struck with a vengeance and after a lockdown barely flattened the curve. And you agitated for a return to “normal,” ignoring, for political reasons, the fact that the deadly organism was still lurking. You have been a fount of misinformation, touting the entirely made-up benefits of hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure for COVID.
Not that you’ve learned any lessons. Even when study after study concludes that “hydroxy” has no benefits, and in fact may kill people or make them crazy, you keep coming back to your fantasy of a “miracle” cure. That idea should have been relegated to the Trumpster dumpster, but you retweeted some Breitbart gobbledygook from a doctor who claims that the medicine is still her go-to drug in combatting COVID. Never mind that she has a pretty bizarre history: She has claimed that sex with demons in dreams causes various gynecological problems, that modern medicines are made from space aliens’ DNA, that witches are responsible for gay marriage and abortion.
But let’s not confine our answer to just Trump’s performance in the pandemic. On just about every issue, with his every utterance and Twitter missive, he has demonstrated that he is a constantly lying, obnoxious and ignorant bigot. A leader is supposed to appeal to a country’s best instincts. He has brought out our worst instincts.
In a nation whose system is built on a constitution that carefully protects against an autocracy, he frequently tries to ignore that constitution. In his latest rant against mail-in voting in this year of the pandemic, because it could promote fraud — which is utterly unproven, by the way — he has floated the idea that the election can be delayed. He ignores the fact that the Constitution inconveniently leaves it up only to Congress to determine the “time, place and manner” of the vote, and gives a hard time of Jan. 20 to transition from one presidential term to another.
But he’s run afoul of the rules before in pursuit of one governmental shortcut or another. Maybe those are some of the reasons, President Trump, why your approval ratings are in the toilet and Tony Fauci’s are sky high. To put it bluntly, Americans overwhelmingly trust Fauci. After your constant lying, they overwhelmingly don’t trust you. On Jan. 20, you will either be turned out of office or America will be on its way to becoming a dictatorship.
Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN. © 2020 Bob Franken Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.