Goddamn It, Trump
You. Yeah, you, the one with the inexplicably expensive jeans and incredibly cheap red hat. This week, your very impressive and handsome president was forced to make some dumb announcement about taking the coronavirus epidemic seriously because, I don't know, Idris Elba caught it. (Or because over 100 people have died, whatever). But if you're an affluent American, you should know that that didn't apply to you. You can read between the lines, right? You know that when the very rich President of the United States says that people shouldn't gather in groups larger than ten...
... but does so surrounded by fifteen people, he's sending the message that these nanny-state rules only apply to the kind of losers who can't even cough up three measly months of saved wages to cover their missed Applebee's shifts. He knows that, like him, you're as likely to listen to self-quarantine guidelines as you're going to start paying your fair share of taxes. So instead, President Trump's been leaving not-so-subtle clues as to how other rich cool guys should operate during the looming pandemic. So throw away that dumb CDC pamphlet and immediately start following these Trump-approved COVID-19 protocols:
You're an important, rich guy (emphases on all of those words). COVID-19 hasn't changed that, so you need to keep acting like you own the place. So forget about Vulcan salutes and ruining your ten grand custom Italian shoes bumping feet. The world is yours. Touch everything. Shake everything. Lick everything.
In a clear message of "do as I do and not as I say," while President Trump was declaring the coronavirus national emergency Friday surrounded by the most powerful captains of industry in the country, he shook hands, squeezed shoulders and fondled the microphone 31 times. He did so having been in contact with infected officials and at the time refusing to be tested. Only one unbeliever insisted on doing an elbow bump instead of touching the divine decrepit hand, Bruce Greenstein. A former executive for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services? What does that guy know?
But that wasn't just a gross violation of containment guidelines, that was a power move to show Typhoid Trump's still in charge -- not some virus. Real Americans don't cotton to leftist nonsense like "social distancing." (Leave it to liberals to invent a restraining order against microaggressions.) You think a playboy like President Trump was going to stay inside and what? Talk to his wife and have Barron teach him the multiplication tables?
In the past few weeks, the president has spent more time going out, playing golf and posing for pictures with than he did attended CDC meetings. And sure, he might breathe in and out like his lungs are filled with bronzered pus, but our mighty leader tested negative on COVID-19, which definitively proves that the only kind of social distancing a rich person needs to do is keep reminding the overly familiar valet that their Mercedes is worth more than their shitbox of an apartment.
So how do you support the president in this? By doing what every other real American patriot is currently doing: ignoring government guidelines. Rub your bare bodies against each other on Spring Break before going home to give your grandparents their obligatory annual hug. Walk into a crowded restaurant with your kids and cough on each other's food. Go to noted hotspot/hotbed Mar-A-Lago and shake hands with a Brazillian official. Do it all, because quarantines, isolation ... that's not what this great country is about. Like the president, Americans should never have to suffer the bondage of staying in for the weekend just because it would save the lives of their most vulnerable countrymen. To quote Patrick Henry: Give me liberty and/or give me death.
ABPTB: Always Be Passing The Buck
So you followed the president's previous advice and licked the rims of all the coffee cups at your local McDonalds', and now seventy-three grandmothers are in the ICU? Don't worry, that's not on you. There are millions of people who can be blamed for this virus. So blame them. Blame anyone. Screw these constant calls for togetherness and empathy. The buck has to stop with someone and it sure as hell isn't going to stop with you.
Or President Trump, for that matter, who keeps insisting he cannot and should not be blamed for massively screwing up his first response to the coronavirus. The president has made this clear in his Rose Garden address: "I don't take responsibility at all." Like any great leader, he knows it's always someone else's fault. But who then? So many classics to pick from. How about the Center For Disease Control? It's in their name, after all. And let President Trump tell you, these nerds really have been dropping the ball lately, really showing their incompetence by letting the guy who graduated bottom of his class at Pumpkin Business School and his yes-walrus slash their budget, chase off their leadership and disband their national pandemic response team in 2018.
OK, not the best scapegoat. What about Obama? If President Trump has proven anything, aside from that painting in the corners of your spray tan is a sucker's game, it's that you can always blame "lazy" Obama and "sleepy" Joe Biden for everything bad that happens. Did you know it's because their handling of the 2009 swine flu was such a "full-scale disaster" you're not getting adequate prevention measures today? They only managed to *checks anyone other than Trump's notes* start nationwide testing, reverse-engineering a cure and declaring a state of emergency in the same time frame that President Trump was still calling the coronavirus alarm as a Democratic "hoax". And somehow, this is why the current federal government is unable able to do more to cope with the coronavirus than a nine-person Iranian fishing village.
That doesn't make a lick of sense? Passing the buck doesn't have to. But fine, let's go for the slam dunk: foreigners. That's right, President Trump calls it like he sees it: This is not just a coronavirus, it's a "Chinese Virus." This is why the president's first plan was always going to be to close the borders -- that medieval knee jerk reaction policy that famously always works out and is why we haven't had a single epidemic since 1377. In fact, travel ban them all, Trump seems to think; the Chinese, Iranians, all those dirty Europeans -- all, except the ones with Trump resorts in them anyway.
After all, how could you ever know for sure if someone got infected because of your own irrational irresponsibility when, for weeks, diseased foreigners could've crept into our country? Just because we couldn't be bothered to screen them properly? How dare they! If only we had Trump's precious wall, as the president also lamented, then we could've at least stopped the overflow from the Mexican pandemic with their ... less than 100 recorded infected. And no fatalities.
Testing Is For Losers
Like Donald Trump, you probably have the kind of amazing private doctor who looks like he can sell you expired quaaludes at a discount -- but in a good way. And maybe your throat has been a bit sore, likely from licking all those McDonald's coffee cups, and it'd ease your mind some to use that executive health plan, get tested and have doctors assure you no dirty commoner has touched you. If so, I have just one question: Why are you trying to make your president look bad?
To the countless journalists reporting that President Trump has been intentionally downplaying the epidemic for personal and political gain: No duh. Trump is acutely aware that his approval rating for handling the outbreak is abysmal. And according to even more pointless scientists, there are likely five to ten times as many infected Americans than the official test numbers. But if we all come together and do our very least, we can make that twenty times the discrepancy. Maybe even thirty. C'mon, we want to keep this false superiority to China or Italy going, but that won't happen if all our old folks keep ruining it by dying in public instead of under their floorboards like patriotic possums.
Don't get it twisted, it's not because President Trump guesstimated that 1.9 million Covid-19 tests are on their way that that implies he wants you to actually use them. Even in the days leading right up to the national emergency declaration, the president made sure to often remind the commoners that: "Again, we don't want everybody to take this test, it's totally unnecessary and this will pass. This will pass through, and we'll be even stronger for it." And by "we," President Trump obviously meant: "Me. I'll be stronger for it if you don't get tested."
So if we want a second term of MAGA or KAG or whatever campaign slogan for middle-school treasurer we're stealing this time, we have to stop make the president look like a containment chump. That includes not burdening the WHO with a bunch of positive tests. But also, not having him admit he didn't even know Americans (like, for example, his grandfather) still died from the common flu too. Also, stop letting people ask the president "nasty" questions live on air like, for example, "Do you take responsibility for disassembling the government's pandemic response unit?" Or, "Do you ever catch your reflection on your phone and realize you look like a melting waxwork of the very concept of the Peter Principle?" Or, "If you're president, then who's replacing you at the Smithsonian Zoo as the guy they bring in to make the pandas feel smart and competent?" None of that, please.
Never Be Consistent, Never Be Accurate
Look, just because you and I know that the coronavirus isn't a big deal for the people who actually matter, that doesn't mean you're not going to get an earful from your lessers wanting to know exactly what's going on. So have you read the extensive 450-page how-to manual written by the CDC explaining how leaders should only talk in facts and with clarity as this is the only way to prevent "creating higher levels of anxiety, higher levels of uncertainty and higher levels of social disruption" in an already on-edge population? No? Good. Neither has President Trump.
As the president is smarter than an entire building full of medicine nerds and since he was also the architect of the age of MAGA (Make America Guestimate Again), President Trump knows that what the American people truly trust is a head of state who says a lot of conflicting lies really fast and even has the courage to contradict his top experts with the kind of unearned confidence only a trust fund kid could muster. Like when he half-remembered a conversation he had with Jared Kushner, that ghost of a Victorian orphan trapped in the body of another Victorian orphan, and then told the nation that Google has "1,700 engineers" working on an immediate release a state-of-the-art testing infrastructure for all citizens. Now, none of the words in that sentence are true (except for the Victorian orphan part) but wasn't this brief delusion that someone competent was taking care of things a nice break from reality? You can thank your president for that.
Not that we need it anyway, since "anybody that wants a test can get a test" already. Furthermore, those Covid-19 cases will soon go from few to "close to zero" and we're also "very close to a vaccine". Again, none of these are true, but that didn't stop the Commander-in-Chief from saying them in the reassuring tone of a put-upon dad telling you that you're "fine" and to walk it off, all without looking up from his newspaper.
At Any Cost, Protect The Wellbeing Of America's Most Vulnerable People
Up until now, we've been describing a presidential model that could be interpreted as a bit selfish. And while you, like President Trump, should always first look out for the top dog (especially when your litter's a bunch of runty, chinless disappointments), it's even more important not to forget about the little guy, the truest Americans. It has always been the sacred duty of the affluent to take care of the nation's most vulnerable, but precious people.
I'm talking, of course, about corporations.
While President Trump has finally advised against panic-buying tons of groceries as if triple ply will be the new currency in the post-coronapocalypse, he does still want you to support family businesses. That is, businesses his family can later get eight-figure jobs at after he loses the presidency. The president has not made it a secret that his primary concern is for the good health of the American economy, not its people, because we're two about liberal media articles on the benefits of socialized healthcare and basic universal income from this great American Experiment being over.
That's why President Trump waited to declare the national emergency half an hour before the stock market closed on a Friday and, instead of medical experts, paraded around a group of corporate suits as America's saviors like this is the start of an Ayn Rand novel. That's why he warned his governors they shouldn't count on the federal government to help them acquire life-saving ventilators, but didn't bat an eyelid when the Fed injects $1.5 trillion of taxpayer-funded loans to temporarily stabilize the stock market. Because the free market must survive the coronavirus. Capitalism must survive the coronavirus. So we have to prove that money is still worth more than people. If the dollar isn't that strong, how will Trump be able to pay those German scientists to give him sole control over a coronavirus vaccine so he can hand out salvation like a capricious god-king while leaving the rest of the world to suffer? Seriously, how is he the bad guy in this scenario?
For more medical advice for rich people (they mostly involve licking the railings at the DMV), do follow Cedric on Twitter.