Trump Unmasked, Biden Explained

 “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

* “Our country was not meant to be shut down.” Or shut up.

* Vanity and ventilators. So, President Donald Trump goes to the Ford Motor Company’s repurposed factory in Michigan, which now makes ventilators, in order to be seen as doing and saying, well, something in the critical swing state of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. It was the day after he had vilified Whitmer and the state with false claims of voter fraud.

What he was heard saying in the Ypsilanti plant was that he couldn’t wait for the country to reopen for business and Trump rallies–and also worked in a reference to “200 beautiful new miles of border wall.” And what he was seen doing was defying plant guidelines by preening about without a mask. Trump doesn’t like the optics, and his ego won’t permit public masking, even as his inability to lead during a crisis has long been unmasked.

The political upshot from the state where most polls have Trump trailing Biden: “He’s going to be asked not to return to any enclosed facilities inside our state,” announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

* Bully pulpit update: The tumult over Trump taking hydroxychloroquine is certainly warranted–but not because it could put the health of the charlatan-in-chief in jeopardy. It’s because it necessarily sends a message to fellow Americans, especially those who channel this president, that an unproven malaria drug could be worth trying–potential fatal side effects notwithstanding. 

*The  Senate approved the confirmation of Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, as next director of national intelligence. His confirmation passed 49-44. For the record, that’s more “no” votes than any other DNI nominee. Maybe it’s because he was blatantly unqualified. When Congress created the DNI position two decades ago, it was with the expectation that directors would be nonpartisan national security experts. With Ratcliffe, they get a Texas congressman known for Trump loyalty whose best credential is that he has been a member of the House Intelligence Committee for a year.

* It’s beyond ironic–and hypocritical–that Trump, the embodiment of immorality, has hectored hard for churches to reopen. Perhaps he will double down to keep his appeal to evangelicals by showing up–sans mask–at a service and passing out collection plates, sharing a prayer book and joining in congregant singing and chanting.

* For the first time in more than two months, Trump was able to play some golf–at the Trump National Golf Club in suburban Virginia. No mention of whether his caddy was Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham or William Barr.

* Not that anyone’s nostalgic, but there’s a post-Cold War arms races going on. Who would have thought the “new normal” would include a competition in hypersonic (speeds in excess of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound) weapons among the U.S., Russia and China. “Our ultimate goal is, simply, we want to dominate future battlefields,” said Mark Lewis, the Pentagon’s director of defense research and engineering for modernization. As for the commander-in-chief: “I call it the super-duper missile.” Whatever.

* Trump continues to heap scorn on the practice of voting by mail with his unproven and unprovable accusations of fraud. Presumably, that doesn’t include his While House mail-in to his “home state” of Florida.

* Political karma update: “Alabama, do not trust (Senate candidate) Jeff Sessions. He let our country down.”

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