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Columnists

Mea Maxima Culpa

October 19, 2020
Βy Dr. Constantina Michalos

We’ve never met, but I think it’s safe to assume that you are better people than I am. I didn’t send thoughts and prayers to the trumps [sic et seq] when I learned of their COVID-19 diagnosis. I smiled when I heard that Chris Christie and Kellyanne Conway were sick. I laughed when Kayleigh McEnany was diagnosed. And I just about danced when Stephen Miller went home. Now I’m waiting for Bill Barr and Jared Kushner, and then Christmas will have come early. So yes. I’m an awful human being. But I’m not a hypocrite.

When trump announced his diagnosis, my best friend thought it was – um – a hoax. After the week he had, she assumed he and his cronies fabricated an illness that has claimed over 210,000 American lives for sympathy. We learned that he hasn’t paid any taxes for 11 of the 18 years between 2000 and 2017, and then only $750 in 2016 and 2017. When did you ever pay that little? When did you ever contemplate not submitting a tax return at all? And he has $421 million in personal debt. Sort of puts your credit card bill into perspective, doesn’t it? Then there was the Presidential Debate. He knew he’d been exposed to Hope Hicks, but he stood there spitting and sputtering while his family disdainfully sat mask-less.

I wasn’t saddened by the image of him boarding Marine One. I wasn’t frightened for the future of my country – no more than I’ve been since the 2016 election. I knew trump would receive the best care possible – at taxpayer expense. However, his doctors were infuriating as they reported on his condition. Doctor-patient confidentiality doesn’t apply when the patient is the President of the United States, and his family, those who have a right to know are the American people. But Dr. Sean Conley smiled through his equivocations, reassuring us that trump, who is 74 and in terrible physical condition to begin with, was fine. What Conley seems to have forgotten is that just because he’s not giving us specifics about trump’s condition does not mean there are no specifics to give.

Then there was the drive outside Walter Reed in a hermetically sealed vehicle, needlessly exposing Secret Service agents to his virus, for a photo op. Does that surprise us?

He was released from the hospital three days after his admission. And, of course, he scripted his discharge to coincide with the prime TV news hour. Another photo op designed to reassure us that he was strong and able. He walked up the stairs to the balcony, removed his mask and stood there so we could see for ourselves that he was okay. Except he wasn’t. He was clearly having trouble breathing. Another thing Dr. Conley failed to share with us is the potential long-term effects of COVID: damage to the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys; neurological disorders; mood changes, and fatigue. Pick one. Any one.

He has announced that he’s cured, immune, that getting COVID was a miracle sent to him by God, that he feels better than he did 20 years ago. And, in a particularly tone-deaf word of advice to Americans, don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life.” This after seven months of self-quarantining, wearing masks, washing hands till they’re raw, not hugging loved ones and friends, seeing one another in little Brady-bunch squares, losing jobs, losing businesses, losing healthcare, losing minds. Losing loved ones.

COVID never dominated trump’s life, not as president of the United States, not as a candidate, not as host of a super-spreader event. Not because he’s brave and strong, but because he’s selfish and irresponsible.

He was on every medication and treatment available, which cost the taxpayers over $100,000, and which they can’t afford for themselves. He has resumed campaigning, telling his crowds that he is powerful, that he can kiss even the men in his audience, and nothing would happen. Remember how he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue, and people would vote for him anyway?

Now it has been reported that his 15-year-old son Barron tested positive. Though he was asymptomatic, he was still infectious. But trump crowed, “Barron is beautiful, and he’s free, free!” even as he encouraged schools to re-open. "It happens. People have it, and it goes. Get the kids back to school. We've got to get them back to school." Easy for him to say. Barron’s school has been online all semester. More significant, trump continues to ignore the yet unknown long-term effects and damage that corona does to its victims, presidents and first sons alike.

I woke up to the news of trump’s diagnosis and immediately thought, “Karma’s a b***h.” I guess I should go to confession. How do you say ‘schadenfreude’ in Greek?

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