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What the Devil won't tell you

No thoughts, no prayers: It's OK not to give a damn Trump has COVID-19

Donald Trump isn’t coming to Tucson after all. No sooner had he announced his planned campaign stop here, than his doctors announced he is infected with the coronavirus.

Well, y’know. Thoughts and prayers. I know. It’s an expression of our common humanity that we are supposed wish him a big old "get well soon" and express empathy for his condition. Truth is, I just lied. No thoughts. No prayers.

I feel bad for Hope Hicks. I don’t have a ton of use for her but as a human being and liberal human being at that, I have human empathy and don’t consider it a weakness.

I feel bad for Melania Trump. Love her. Dismiss her. Whichever, she's Barron’s mom so I hope her COVID-19 prognosis is good.

I don’t want anything bad to happen to Kellyanne Conway. Sure she lies on behalf of her boss. That’s not a capital offense. I wish her a speedy recovery.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis? Check. Get well soon, you spineless toady. Seriously. Listen to your doctors and take care of yourself.  A speedy recovery as well to Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a principled libertarian when being such is convenient to his political goals.

And I really feel bad for former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Bridgegate? Smidgegate. It’s New Jersey politics and everyone should get indicted. He seems like an OK guy in that Jersey kingpin, sort of way.

Donald Trump? It’s time for the nation to set aside our PC tendencies and perhaps even our vaunted Judeo-Christian ethos and say what we should be thinking. His coronavirus diagnosis is the closest thing to karmic justice that the United States has experienced in 47 months.

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And this is especially true of Arizona. Trump didn’t care about whether we lived or died. Why should we care about him? I worked a few desks from former Associated Press correspondent Art Rotstein for 10 years. The virus killed Art but Trump was an accomplice.

I've weighed this for a couple days and ... nah. Can't do it. I can't bring myself to muster sympathy for a man who treats caring about others like a weakness.

Trump was just one of more than 40,000 cases in the U.S. on Thursday, when his COVID diagnosis was announced. Every single one of those people with the virus matter on the human scale as much as Trump. Just don't tell him that. If he'd done his job, we would where Germany was Thursday, which had not quite 1,700 cases or where Japan stood with just over 500 new cases. 

Neither Angela Merkel or Shinzo Abe are lunatics. That's the difference between those countries and the United States.

Razing Arizona

When you talk to your neighbor who worked in one of Phoenix or Tucson hospitals and hear stories about how they were overwhelmed and overloaded to the point of PTSD, remember why it happened.

On April 29, Gov. Doug Ducey extended Arizona’s stay at home order for two weeks. In the days that followed the numbers of new daily cases rose. On May 5, Trump came to Arizona, as part of his “Keep America Great” campaign that included gas lighting the public about coronavirus’ severity. Trump didn’t want to hear nothing from COVID: Open up the country. Get back to work.

Ducey announced on May 5 that businesses would reopen and 10 days later lifted that weak stay at home order. Our state’s daily new cases of COVID were rising from the 200s to the 400s.

The virus exploded as Ducey followed Trump’s game plan. What resulted was a summer that saw more than 4,000 Arizonans die. This state for a while was the world headquarters of COVID-19.

Maybe it’s just coincidence. But Republicans are so willing to jettison their principles to serve Trump that the party’s official platform is now nothing more than blind loyalty to the president.

Trump’s supporters in Oro Valley may not have particularly cared with their 551 combined cases in its Northwest Side ZIP codes. and believed wearing masks to protect neighbors were a human rights abuse, but they weren’t doing the bulk of the dying. South Siders were doing that. People of specific colors were mourning their dead.

Trump sure as hell wasn’t. In fact, what Trump was staggeringly successful at, we should find horrifying. He got the country more or less used to thousands and thousands of people needlessly dying. Other national leaders handled it well, kept caseloads low and saved lives. In the U.S., hundreds of thousands of people are going to die and that’s just the way it is because the president said so.

Trump’s poll numbers barely budged. COVID deaths have become baked into our daily lives. Trump didn’t beat coronavirus. He did beat the empathy out of the country, to the point where we're unable get angry that the president would sacrifice that many American lives for a political talking point.

When you go to Fry’s or Basha’s and see that one person not wearing a mask, it’s a show of support for Donald J. Trump. They do not care if they are asymptomatic carriers and end up killing someone, because Trump told them not to wear a mask. He mocked Joe Biden on the debate stage Tuesday for wearing a mask so frequently and by Saturday, the virus was eating its way through his White House and Republicans who have recently been there.

Forgive me my human failing but we have a president passively trying to kill us because he’d rather campaign on the economy growing than deal with a virus that is his crisis. I don’t feel bad for him.

Now we’re supposed to show him care and concern? No. In fact, let me just write it: It’s OK feel a sense of satisfaction that Trump’s monster is coming for him now.

Don’t resist it. Indulge in it.

Please, be clear: If I ran Walter Reed Army Medical Center, I would insist he receive proper care. I would not, for instance, take Barron away from him and lose track of the first son. I would not adopt him out to another family and call it comeuppance like his administration did to asylum seekers.

A wave of infections is now moving through his inner circle because he wouldn’t take the virus seriously. But hey, a storm surge of infections is moving through his country for the same reason. His caregivers are not charged with delivering justice and I would act accordingly.

As a citizen, meh.

Trump’s entire re-election effort pivoted this summer to fan fears that the white suburbs were under mortal threat from protesting Black people. I’m willing to guarantee you that more suburban Arizonans died of COVID on a typical day than in the entire specious history of “Black mobs.”

A defense of democracy

I've lived in Arizona for eight presidential elections. Not once have I had to wonder if the vote of the people will count for nothing. Now I wonder if the Legislature might disregard the people and just send a slate of electors to Washington on Trump's behalf because they can.

Trump's re-election now seems to increasingly hinge on being re-installed rather than re-elected.

Just by way of putting news into a context I did not create, I must point out that Vice President Mike Pence is much less likely to attempt to render constitutional democracy inert. Trump’s campaign is trying to figure out how to get swing-state legislatures to override the popular vote and install him as president.

Hey, if state lawmakers call the election fraudulent but narrowly win re-elections themselves, they’ll insist they remain in office because they won the hoax. That’s a recipe for one-party rule as prescribed by law.

If Trump dies of the virus, the country is far less likely to have a violent transition of power and – I can’t emphasize this enough – it’s not my fault for pointing that out. It’s Trump’s fault for threatening the outcome.

Now, I don’t believe that this will work. I’m not sure they won’t try to nullify the election on Donald Trump’s command.

Pence is a radical and wrong on everything, I believe anyway, but the republic would survive him. He’s wrong. He’s not a monster.

I would much rather the country vote Trump out, than bury him. If he’s on the ballot, it’s more likely the party threatening an assault on democracy will pay a steep price for what is borderline treason.

Mike Godwin, stand aside

We haven’t even gotten into the lying, the corruption, the criminal activity in plain sight, the flirtation with white supremacists or how he abdicated the title of “leader of the free world” and now just serves as coffee boy for a crackpot Legion of Doom.

He’s also taken people here, who I know are good human beings, and twisted them with fantasies of tribal grievances. White men apparently have been oppressed for too long. Sure, they own everything but they are a aggrieved nonetheless. Conservatism is dead as a philosophy. It’s now just a tantrum of vengeance.

So, hey, Mike Godwin: I’m going there.

The Nazis didn’t rise because a majority of Germans believed in killing the Jews or launching a global world war. No. They rose because enough Germans thought “I don’t agree with everything Hitler says and sometimes he goes too far. But I have money, this autobahn idea is cool and I don’t like socialism.”

Trump has the United States dancing with that devil. Politicians can't hide behind Internet memes meant to dismiss fascist comparisons if they embrace ethnonationalism, wrapped up in grievance against intellectuals and academics poisoning the minds of our children with subversive works spread by an enemy media.

It's not the fault of the press that we're reporting the political mosh pit we are seeing right in front of us.

Don’t like cancel culture? Great. Allow me to throw a line from a movie on the social justice no-no list summing up my opinion of Trump contracting SARS-CoV-2.

Frankly my dear Donald, I don’t give a damn.

The monster has COVID-19, the monster that the monster created. Call it the writer in me who simply sees it as poetic.

Blake Morlock is a journalist who has spent 20 years covering government in Arizona and also worked in Democratic political communications. Now he’s telling you things that the Devil won’t.


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Gage Skidmore (2016)

President Donald Trump's Tucson visit was canceled because he has coronavirus. Pardon the columnist for being unable to muster so much as 'thoughts and prayers.'

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