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Trump Wednesday presser: public apologies, political prevarication, and more mixed messages

Trump Wednesday presser: public apologies, political prevarication, and more mixed messages

Donald Trump’s daily press briefing started with a scene reminiscent of the reeducation camps of the Chinese cultural revolution with CDC Director Robert Redfield called before the public almost immediately by the “great leader” to defend his comments in a Washington Post interview — where he speculated that the COVID-19 pandemic could “be even more difficult” next winter than it is now — and explain how they were in no way in contradiction with the attitudes expressed by the president in his little red book of optimistic pandemic predictions.

The moment set the tone for the parade of self-praise, arrogance, narcissism, and dismissiveness that the president dispenses daily to the assembled press to demonstrate that anyone questioning his authority, the appropriateness or timeliness of his actions, or breaking ranks with the desires of the “Great Trumpolini” will be swiftly put in their place.

As they do each day, Aaron Rupar of Vox and Daniel Dale of CNN live-tweeted the proceedings, allowing us to present a glimpse of the briefing without forcing the readers here to sit through the frustrating experience of watching the propaganda puppet show in real-time.

Without further ado, here are today’s highlights.

Director Redfield looked profoundly uncomfortable as he was forced to walk the tightrope between the clear warning that he gave in his interview that a return to normal life was not going come quickly or easily and the president’s fantasies of a return to the time when the economy still gave him a chance at being reelected.

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Like yesterday, Trump painted a picture of virus testing capabilities that only he — and a coronavirus task force too politically savvy to contradict him — actually believe are available to the general public in the quantities that they need.

With coronavirus preventing Trump from holding rallies, these briefings allow him to keep up his daily quota of political lies and misinformation without having to double his social media output in order to maintain his uncontested status as the most mendacious president in U.S. history.

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Being the king of lies is not enough for Trump, who now wants the honorific “king of ventilators” added to his official credentials.

The presidential paranoia level has apparently not diminished since yesterday’s briefing when it comes to his persecution by the press complex.

Trump’s mixed messages of an urged reopening of America’s businesses and the concomitant danger of a resurgence in the number of COVID-19 infections made for a macabre combination.

One could make the same statement about the president himself in reference to the reality TV career that he should have never left.

Trump tried to have it both ways by publicly disagreeing with Georgia Governor Brian Kamp’s decision to reopen high-risk personal care businesses in his state against all health experts’ recommendations while refusing to exercise his claimed authority to prevent the governor from doing so.

Trump’s incoherent messaging was never more apparent than in his call for a grand, crowded July 4th celebration in the nation’s capital and his attempts at explaining how that could take place while maintaining social distancing.

He quickly moved back to bragging about what a great job his administration was doing with rolling out testing capabilities for the COVID-19 virus.

When the time for questions from the press came, Trump was immediately asked about the report today in The New York Times about the alleged politically-motivated removal of Dr. Rick Bright from his position as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and as the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response.

Trump’s nostalgia for the roar of the crowds knows no bounds as he gleefully promised wealthy sports team owners that their often publicly-financed stadiums would soon be full again, just like the good old days.

As reporters continued to press the president on testing, Trump fell back on his media persecution excuse rather than addressing the legitimate discrepancies between his rosy and boastful portrait of what he’s accomplished and the reality in the emergency rooms and hospitals across the country.

Trump made sure to point out how he is helping everyone in the categories of voters already predisposed to vote for him, including America’s farmers and its seniors.

The Q & A sections of the press conference can often get testy, and today was no different. Anytime Trump was asked a question that he didn’t want to answer — or couldn’t — he used it as an opportunity to insult or demean the person asking the question, no matter how legitimate the inquiry may have been.

Trump concluded his briefing by again misstating the date of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, likely because no one on his staff has the nerve to correct him.

Ending on another boastful, but unfactual, note. the president walked out the door to the shouted questions from reporters foolishly seeking truthful information when by now they should all know that all that Trump will deliver will be the singular message he wishes to convey — he’s doing a great job, better than anyone has ever done before, a job that no one else could possibly do.

This is not a president, this is a pitiful carnival barker, swimming fully-clothed in the deep end of the pool without a clue on how to swim and expecting Olympic gold.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

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

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