Just one day after Donald Trump reiterated his magical thinking, believing that the COVID-19 virus would disappear of its own accord — virtually clicking his heels and repeating his mantra of “I’ll be right…eventually,” like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz trying to get back to Kansas — the president posted a tweet that indicates that he may have finally read his poll numbers.
The tweet features a photo of the president with half of his face obscured by a mask, making it among the most flattering portraits of Trump ever taken…at least of the 50% of his face that is covered.
The post seems to be an attempt by Trump to reverse course on his stated disdain for masks as public opinion has swayed far from regarding the president as a trustworthy steward of the one issue that is consuming our nation every day lately: the fight to stop the continuing spread of the coronavirus and to reverse its rapidly mounting death toll.
We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President! pic.twitter.com/iQOd1whktN
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2020
Disregarding the errors in grammar and capitalization that are the hallmark of Trump and those who post on his behalf, one must note the change in the tenor of the president’s attitudes towards face masks, a health accessory that he has only deigned to wear in public once, setting a conspicuously bad example to his extraordinarily self-absorbed followers who seem to value their freedom to infect anyone of their choosing over public health considerations.
Calling the wearing of protective face coverings “Patriotic” — rather than calling for protestors in states where sensible Democratic governors mandated masks for the safety of the populace to “liberate” themselves from totalitarian restrictions on their free dispersal of infectious aerosols — marks a substantial change in strategy for the president who has seen his approval ratings drop like a mob snitch covered in concrete and tossed in the ocean because of his mismanagement of the pandemic and the economic relief efforts surrounding it.
Of course, Trump still refers to COVID-19 with the racist term “China virus” and writes his closing line like he was Stan Lee writing in the back of a silver age Marvel comic book, but who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Judging from the Twitter response, the president’s attempt at repositioning his image was seen as too little, too late, and not particularly sincere.
And the name of the virus is Coronavirus, not “China Virus,” or any of your other xenophobic names. Just take responsibility for your screw up and apologize to America.
— Mrs. Krassenstein (@HKrassenstein) July 20, 2020
You can't imagine how your president sounds over here in Switzerland. He's the laughing stock of all of Europe and everybody is wondering how anybody can take this downright stupid, lying sorry excuse of a president seriously.
— catawompus (@catawompus3) July 20, 2020
Furthermore, when Joe Biden wore an almost identical looking black mask, Trump and his Republican cronies made fun of him for being weak. Now when Trump finally catches on and follows Biden’s lead, he wants to be seen as a hero. Trump is just a loser, unoriginal racist demagogue.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) July 20, 2020
Maybe his masks are Ivanka scented.
— Snarky Duck (@thesnarkenator) July 20, 2020
ALWAYS SELLING A LIE
America's number one conman – TRUMP – is always trying to con Americans & sell a lie. The man who ABANDONED the nation to drown in COVID19 & who answers to PUTIN now wants to claim he is Mr. Patriotism! No, Trump is still the #TraitorInChief & #PutinsPuppet!
— MURRAY (@murray_nyc) July 20, 2020
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) July 20, 2020
Apparently, Trump’s declaration of his patriotism and his status as the favorite president of a majority of Americans was not only premature but obviously belied by all major polls, including those from his formerly beloved Fox News.
No wonder the president is so desperately flailing to rest his image.
He’s willing to say or do anything to get re-elected. It’s the only thing keeping him out of prison at this point, and he — and the majority of Democratic voters — already know that.
Hopefully, the independents and the disgruntled members of the GOP will see right through his latest ruse.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.