Coronavirus “Reassurance”

* “A republic, if you can keep it.”

* “We’re very, very ready for this, for anything.”–President Donald Trump, in indicating that the U.S. was prepared for whatever the coronavirus threat brings.

* But imagine how “very, very ready” the U.S. would be had Trump not cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, warnings be damned, shut down the global-health-security unit of the National Security Council. And it hardly helps to have a pair of science cynics as president and vice president.

* “I’m leading the (coronavirus) task force.”–Vice President Mike Pence. “I’m still chairman of the (coronavirus) task force.”–HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Whatever.

* “Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low.” That was the self-congratulating Trump, otherwise doing what presidents in times of danger have always done: Reassure the American public. Only this reassurance comes from a science-challenged, narcissistic, pathological liar who has already assured us that Mexico would pay for the wall, his trickle-down tax cuts would benefit everybody, infrastructure would be prioritized, his tax returns would be released, ex post facto hurricane forecasts could be altered with a Sharpie and that–post-Parkland–better gun laws were surely worth implementing. The bottom line: All we have to fear is Trump himself.

* “Namaste, Trump.” The president, who is tough on terrorism, pro-business and friends with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely more popular in India than the U.S. The Trump family is also involved in more real estate projects in India than anywhere else outside of North America.

* “They think this will bring down the president; that’s what this is all about.”–That was Trump’s acting chief-of-staff Mick Mulvaney, in accusing journalists of hyping the coronavirus as a means of undermining the president.

* “In this administration, good men and women don’t last long.”–Retired Navy Admiral William H. McRaven, who was commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014.

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