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Trump shirks responsibility for virus deaths at Monday presser and blames “somebody a long time ago”

Trump shirks responsibility for virus deaths at Monday presser and blames “somebody a long time ago”

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Despite his political handlers advising Donald Trump that he is only hurting himself by continuing to hold coronavirus pandemic press briefings, the president was at it again today.

After Trump’s ramblings about disinfectant and UV rays as possible treatments for  COVID-19 infections at his briefing last Thursday, his Friday briefing was cut short with no questions taken from the media, and he skipped holding any press conferences over the weekend, preferring to air his grievances and make his self-aggrandizing claims on social media instead.

When the scheduled Monday press briefing was initially taken off the official White House calendar this morning, people thought that we’d have a much-needed reprieve from the incoherent ramblings of a mentally-failing pseudo-leader peddling misinformation to the public.

When the White House press office restored the briefing to the schedule later in the day, it became clear that Trump simply couldn’t accept the concept of “less is more” when it comes to his public appearances.

Anyone expecting some useful information to emerge from today’s extravaganza was instead treated to infomercials in the form of appearances from corporate CEOs touting how hard their companies were working to fight the virus and reopen the economy as Trump seemingly attempts to offload as much of the federal response to the pandemic to the for-profit private sector as only a Republican could.

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As usual, Vox‘s Aaron Rupar provided tweeted live commentary on the press conference as it was happening that gave us some informative video excerpts to show you as we summarize the president’s latest antics.

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It was only after the parade of suits was finally over that the juicy bits of the briefing took place.

Trump took blame evasion to new heights as he managed to assign responsibility to a crisis that only developed in this country beginning in January to “somebody a long time ago” as if he were reading a fairy tale, which, in a sense, he was.

The president did manage to unveil a meticulously labeled 8-part plan that seemed to go to every length possible to disengage the federal government from participation in testing and disaster relief, relying on the states and the private sector to do the heavy lifting.

Despite being surrounded by epidemiologists lately, Trump hasn’t seemed to learn much about viral transmission.

Once the question and answer section of the briefing began, the president was ready to reembark upon his misinformation train.

Trump’s answer that fatality reporting in the U.S. is accurate compared to other countries not only undermines the conspiracy theories that he himself tweeted out only yesterday, it also simply isn’t true since adequate testing capabilities haven’t been available to determine whether the COVID-19 virus was the cause of many deaths that occurred and states have differing standards on which deaths are counted and which aren’t.

For instance, according to The New York Times, in the nation’s epicenter of the disease in New York City, “more than 27,000 people have died since the beginning of March — 20,900 more than normal, and 4,200 more than have been captured by official death statistics.”

One of the reasons that Trump’s advisors may find that his briefings are harming him in the polls is his tendency to say things that are easily fact-checked as outright lies when he speaks to reporters. Today was no different in that respect.

Asked about Attorney General William Barr’s efforts to roll back state emergency quarantine measures in the guise of constitutional overreach, Trump seemed to want to have his cake and eat it too. Let the states take responsibility for protecting their citizens, he seemed to be saying, yet let the federal government sue them when they don’t reopen their economies as quickly as he’d like.

Brian Karem actually expected Trump to take responsibility for the damage his words caused!?!?

He’s been around Trump long enough to know better. He probably just wanted to see the look on Trump’s face when he asked the question.

ABC‘s Jonathan Karl gave Vice President Mike Pence an opportunity to admit to past mistakes and let America know what the administration has learned from them, but Pence squandered the opportunity in favor of layering more manure on the Rose Garden lawn.

When we said we’d have four million tests, we never said that we’d have results is essentially the message that the administration was conveying. Kind of like a student telling their teacher: “when I said I did my homework, I didn’t say I’d bring it back to school for you to see. right?”

The supposed “news” network that has supplanted Fox News as the president’s virtual state media is invariably called upon when they lob their butt-kissing softball questions to Trump. This time they gave him a setup for his likely next round of pardons.

Coherence is not his strong suit.

The economic devastation caused by the preventable pandemic that Trump failed to control properly is now forcing the president to wax nostalgiac over the economy now lost and resort to fables of the future as his presumptuously predicted rebound arrives.

Trump also admitted to never having read the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee report released last week that confirmed that Russia interfered on his behalf in the 2016 elections, despite having called the Russia investigation a hoax as recently as yesterday in his now infamous (and deleted) “Noble” prize tweet.

The vagaries of Twitter threading forces us to repeat that last post in order to show you how Trump avoids a question about whether a president who presided over a higher number of deaths than Americans killed during the Vietnam war should be reelected by trying to move the goalposts.

While many Americans would disagree with the president’s estimation of the quality of his decisions, at least at today’s presser, his decision to avoid recommending any new deadly treatments for COVID-19 infections was a good one.

Resigning immediately would be an even better one.

We can only hope he realizes that America really doesn’t want a president who avoids responsibility for more fatalities than caused by the Vietnam war and leaves office tomorrow.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Aaron Rupar at Vox.

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