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Trump desperately reminds us the economy used to be good in rambling virus presser

Trump desperately reminds us the economy used to be good in rambling virus presser

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Donald Trump was comparatively subdued at his press conference today.

Whether it was because he’d found the proper balance of medications or not can be a matter of speculation and debate, but given his bombshell announcement last night that he was issuing an executive order temporarily halting immigration into the United States — an order that he clarified a bit at today’s briefing by stating that it would have some exceptions, including for needed agricultural laborers — one would have expected more fireworks to erupt at a press gathering that didn’t have the excitement of a common sparkler.

As usual, we’ll rely on the live blogs from the hard-working reporter Aaron Rupar of Vox and CNN‘s ace fact-checker Daniel Dale to give you the flavor of the now almost daily ritual of programmed presidential messaging followed by probing questions and evasive answers.

We urge you to check out the full press briefing for yourself at c-span.org to see the unfiltered version of the remarks by the president and his invited guests, although medical professionals would likely recommend that those already suffering from hypertension instead surf the web for soothing pet videos for a less stressful, and perhaps more enlightening, experience.

Despite the COVID-19 virus continuing to rage across the nation with nearly 800 thousand diagnosed cases and an unknown number of undiagnosed infections in asymptomatic people, the president was still focused on reopening the country as soon as possible and introduced Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to discuss the deal negotiated with leaders of both parties in Congress to pass a new round of financial stimulus and relief.

Trump used the pandemic crisis and the resulting massive levels of unemployment to implement a policy he has been trying to accomplish since the first day of his campaign — a total ban on new immigrants into the country.

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While the fact that New York City didn’t actually need the help that Trump sent with great fanfare a few short weeks ago is good news, the president downplayed the new studies showing that the drug that he had been touting so forcefully just last week was not an effective treatment against COVID-19.

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Trump’s “good” friend North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s health didn’t seem to be weighing very heavily on the president’s mind, as he revealed that he hadn’t even made a phone call inquiring about his health, much less sent a card or flowers.

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The president still is trying to pass off total numbers of tests for the coronavirus as more significant than per capita percentage of tests administered, despite trying to ignore the fact that the U.S. has more total cases of the virus than any country in the world — a number one status that no one is proud of and is a direct result of his administration’s failure to plan and act quickly enough despite his protestations to the contrary.

Hopefully, we’ll all be able to speak about his presidency in the past tense soon as well.

The literally unbelievable decision by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to reopen gyms, hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, and bowling alleys — some of the types of businesses least able to protect people through the CDC recommended social distancing practices — later this week drew no rebuke from the president, despite the obvious danger that Kemp’s decision poses to his state’s citizens and eventually to the nation as a whole.

Daniel Dale alternated between straight quotes directly from Trump’s mouth with his lightning-quick real-time fact-checking.

Here’s Trump describing the virus in terms that many people fear will describe their own trajectory if the nation reopens too quickly.

Then there’s Trump’s mockable inability to correctly remember what year the 1918 flu pandemic took place.

One must pity the unenviable job of fact-checking a president who is such a font of misinformation, although it does give Daniel Dale an extraordinary level of job security as long as Trump remains in office.

While the president is quick to retweet any poll that he believes shines a positive light on his popularity — even when it doesn’t indicate what he thinks it does — Dale points to some polls that Trump seems to have ignored in his rush to reopen the country and salvage his reelection bid.

Well, Trump certainly doesn’t appreciate it, and since he apparently has no ability to see anyone else’s point of view, he simply assumes that everyone should feel that way.

After more lies about testing, the president proved that even his own children are not immune to his jealous narcissism.

Trump concluded today’s proceedings with another shout out to his buddy Kim Jong Un, before taking a question that was so much of a softball that he (or his staff) couldn’t have written it better himself. It was no surprise that the question came from a reporter with OANN, the right-wing “news” outlet that makes Fox News seem like a den of Trotskyites.

While overall today’s briefing was relatively dull, perhaps low-level frustration is a better way to feel at the end of the day than the outright anger and panic that his more contentious sessions have engendered.

Odds are good that we’ll see that type of briefing again in the not too distant future.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Aaron Rupar at Vox and by Daniel Dale at CNN.

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