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The Naughty Trump's erratic behavior


A defiant President Donald Trump is chasing his own political goals while ignoring the human and economic toll of the pandemic, with his super spreader White House in chaos and top Pentagon generals in quarantine.

With uncertainty still clouding official bulletins of the President's condition as he battles Covid-19, there is increasing bewilderment in Washington at some of his tone deaf and erratic moves since leaving the hospital on Monday. Trump suddenly blew up congressional negotiations on a Covid-19 economic rescue package. And in a fresh assault on public health strategies needed to quell a now-accelerating pandemic, Trump claimed falsely that it was no worse than the flu, as he portrays himself as a hero leader who conquered the virus.

Trump dumps economic relief talks

One day after the President returned from hospital, Trump's official physician, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, issued another upbeat assessment of his condition, reporting that the President was doing "extremely well" and had reported no symptoms. Mystery however still surrounds Trump's lung function after he appeared to be laboring after walking up the stairway to the balcony above the White House's South Portico Monday.

There are also no clear answers still on how bad his condition got, with medical experts wondering why the President was offered an aggressive regime of experimental treatments reserved for only the sickest Covid-19 patients. The White House is also refusing to say when Trump last recorded a negative test before he got sick. That question is important because it would reveal whether the President went ahead with campaign travel and other events that would have put many people at risk in the knowledge that he was contagious.

There is no sign that Trump's own bout with the disease has made him a more responsible steward of the nation's well-being at a grave moment.

He returned to his previous and misleading position that the coronavirus was no more deadly than the flu. In fact, the pandemic has killed more Americans so far than succumbed to the season influenza over the last five years.

"Are we going to close down our Country?" Trump tweeted, referring to the flu. "No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!"

The Virus has killed more than 210,000 Americans, Trump is adopting a high-risk strategy that potentially offends bereaved relatives of those who died from the disease and almost everyone else who has seen their lives, schooling and family life shattered. By squelching economic rescue talks, he leaves himself open to charges of indifference to the plight of millions of Americans thrown out of work during the pandemic and who relied on now expired federal unemployment benefits.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden seized on the sense that the Trump White House is running off the rails to pledge to restore national unity and to lead the nation out of the pandemic, following in Abraham Lincoln's footsteps in warning America was again a "house divided" on the battlefield at Gettysburg, the scene of the Civil War's bloodiest clash.

Trump's latest attempts to downplay the virus --- even as he is on a regimen of strong and experimental drugs to fight his own infection -- are sure to be a centerpiece of Wednesday night's debate between Vice President Mike Pence and the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris of California.

The President on Tuesday also made his most flagrant public attempt yet to force regulators to accelerate the approval of several Covid-19 vaccines that are currently being trialed in an effort to help his own reelection prospects. The move followed a CNN report that the President had been personally pressuring drug companies to deliver on a vaccine before Election Day.

"New FDA Rules make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day. Just another political hit job!" Trump tweeted at US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn. FDA rules require several months to elapse after patients are administered the last dose of a prototype vaccine to ensure there are no serious side effects. The practice is designed to maximize public trust in a vaccine -- the best hope of ending the pandemic -- that polls show has already been dented by Trump's politicization of the issue.

Trump's own administration meanwhile is becoming a glaring symbol of his own irresponsible approach to the crisis. White House domestic policy adviser Stephen Miller is the latest top official to test positive, bringing the number of Covid cases among White House officials to at least 11. A fourth press aide to White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, who is at home with Covid-19, also has the virus. After blazing through the West Wing, Trump allies on Capitol Hill and in his campaign, the virus has reached the highest echelons of the US military.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, and several other senior members of the Pentagon's leadership, are quarantining after the vice commandant of the US Coast Guard Adm. Charles Ray tested positive on Monday. Ray was at the White House on September 27 and later met other top military officers.

Pence haggles over debate screen

New Washington cases of Covid-19 came on a day when the fears of public health experts that a fall and winter spike in the disease is materializing came closer to being realized. By mid-evening, another 38,000 cases of coronavirus were recorded along with 603 deaths.

The administration descended further into open chaos on the eve of the debate in Utah between Harris and Pence. Incredibly, given that he is the head of the coronavirus task force and that he works in an administration riddled with Covid-19, Pence initially balked at the use of plexiglass screens at the debate that are now familiar at shops and offices to prevent the spread of the virus when social distancing is not possible. His campaign also mocked his opponent for taking advantage of the precaution. Screens protecting Harris, the moderator and the audience will graphically repudiate Trump's argument that the pandemic is almost over and it is time to move on.

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