After his premature return to the White House from Walter Reed hospital, a suspiciously bronzed Donald Trump stood on the lawn to try to make political capital from his infection with COVID-19. He declared, “I think it was a blessing from God that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise.” This clip from the October 7 episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” suggests how that idea might have gone over.
We offer this reaction (what Aramaic equivalent of “Oy, vey!” would Jesus have uttered?) in the spirit of the many Evangelical Christians who have reacted positively to our messages. These people of faith have argued that Trump is the antithesis of how Jesus said his followers should behave.
But alongside Trump’s invocation of God as he’s plugging a drug that he has a financial interest in, we need to remember that he is also still busy promising that a vaccine against the coronavirus will be ready any moment now. Certainly before the election! This promise is something like the governmental equivalent of offering “thoughts and prayers.” Easy to say, but the effects are difficult to measure. From the same Kimmel show, here is a reminder of how Trump has used that particular empty promise as a substitute for an actual plan, leadership, effective public health measures, and basic honesty.
As Trump said on September 24, “So soon you won’t even believe it.” You’re right, Mr. President. We don’t believe it.