Is it time to vote?
Donald Trump, on tape and repeatedly, says he understood what his intelligence team was telling him about the utter widespread terror of a global pandemic and decided "to downplay" the danger.
There are 190,000 dead Americans and six million ill because he didn't want to deal with it properly. And our economy is devastated.
What more do Americans need to know?
Ignoring the deadliness of the coronavirus is a dereliction of the basic job of being president. Trump is incompetent.
Disclosure of the Trump attitude toward hearing bad news is at the core of the new book Rage by Bob Woodward, the longtime Washington Post reporter and editor, who also released a portion of the tapes of the 18 conversations he had with Trump over four months.
There are no anonymous sources in the heart of this book, no disgruntled former employees, no enemies. It is Trump talking about being Trump.
The Trump on these tapes refuses to recognize his racism, thinks he and Kim Jong Un are blessings to the world and believes he can unleash the military in American streets without a second thought.
But it is his remarks about skipping over the public dangers of coronavirus that practically leap off the page. In January, Trump understood there was a serious problem; by March 19, when he talked to Woodward, Trump admitted he had deliberately minimized any danger. "I wanted to always play it down," he said.
In other words, as Trump told us this virus was marginally worse than seasonal flu and refused to coordinate a full national response, he lied – and put Americans in danger of serious illness and death.
What does Trump think this job is about?
Woodward had written an earlier book about Trump et al and it did not offer a positive picture. Trump had to know what he was dealing with in cooperating with another effort. There is no "gotcha" here.
Additionally, the book shows Trump calls generals pussies who care more about alliances than Trump's trade policies; people who work for him think Trump is an idiot; Dr. Anthony Fauci, the virus guru, says Trump can't pay attention to incoming information.
Trump cannot do the job. Trump can rail, insult, signal unquestioning followers, but he can't do the basics of his job.
Basically, the source of this conclusion is Trump himself in these conversations. Trump called the book "just another political hit job" and said his remarks reflected that "You cannot show a sense of panic." Fox News labeled it a "distraction."
No one can say that a disclosure like this will affect the outcome of the November election, but in combination with reports of labeling wounded and dead soldiers "losers" and "suckers" and Trump attitudes about the hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters for social justice, there has to be a residual effect. Many of us have a relative or friend who has been sickened or succumbed to COVID-19, and we certainly have lost jobs and had our lives turned upside down because Trump "didn't want to cause a panic."
Fear and panic?
We've spent the last seven months tearing ourselves up about wearing masks, about creating physical distance, losing jobs and school and normal lives. At the same time, Trump was disowning all of those effects?
Who does Trump think he is? He works for us, not the other way around.
It is his job to bring us into the needed information about the virus and to get this nation moving in a singular direction to fighting that contagion.
Trump seems to have absolutely no problem trying to get us to focus solely on the perceived violence of Portland and Kenosha. All of a sudden, violence that happens in the middle of the night on a single block or two of a city can be blown up by this administration to reflect complete panic in the suburbs. What is the difference?
Trump has no problem building up fear.
He only has a problem with losing the spotlight on himself, and on the visceral need for re-election.
Trump can't do the job.
Is it time to vote?