This is part two; part one ran in the Oct. 2 edition of The Flume - Editor 

Maya Angelou famously said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The audio tapes, released by Bob Woodward after publication of his latest book on President Trump, “Rage,” reveal, in Trump’s own words, who he is and how he prioritizes. 

Woodward conducted eighteen interviews over eight months, all recorded with Trump’s knowledge. Trump admitted he had an early understanding (Feb. 7) of the corona virus and the potential for pandemic. He told Woodward it “was more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” and described the danger of airborne transmission. Yet in late March on Fox News, our President repeatedly down-played the virus, warning instead of the deadly nature of the common flu: “I’m talking about death, 36,000 deaths a year ... from the flu. But we’ve never closed down the country for the flu.” 

“I wanted to play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump said. And this from a President who warns the country about caravans of invading Central American migrants, who tells suburbanites that gang members will move into their neighborhoods, who talks about chaos and mayhem in the streets if Biden is elected. 

The U.S. now has experienced over 6.5 million cases of COVID-19, with over 200,000 deaths. And our President has not found it in his heart to deliver a message of condolence to the victims and survivors of this virus. He is now taking advice from a radiologist, Dr. Scott Atlas (formerly associated with Stanford Medical), who has told Trump to allow the virus to spread naturally, to achieve “herd immunity” (which Trump mistakenly, or not, calls “herd mentality”). 

The best case scenario for herd immunity in the U.S involves some startling math: take 60 percent of 328 million Americans (percentage thought to create herd immunity – probably) and a 2 percent death rate (at 2.9% now) from COVID-19, we are left with almost four million dead friends, relatives, neighbors – way more than have died in all our wars plus the Spanish Flu pandemic combined (1.1 million war dead, 675,00 Spanish Flu dead). Do we really want to reelect a President who down-played the pandemic for months, who holds in-person rallies without social distancing or masks required, who takes advice from a radiologist who recommends sacrificing almost four million Americans to achieve herd immunity? That’s a dicey prospect anyway, since no one knows if antibodies create immunity to COVID-19. 

While Woodward’s book reveals shocking information about Trump’s handling of the corona virus pandemic, the sections discussing foreign policy, the dangerous interaction with Kim Jong Un, the denigration of his generals and the military and intelligence agencies indicate a chaotic, unfocused approach to national security and our place in the world. Trump’s former Defense Secretary, General James Mattis, is quoted as telling the former Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, that Trump is “dangerous” and “unfit” for the presidency. “There may be a time when we have to take collective action,” Mattis told Coates later. Woodward reported Mattis saying after he resigned, “When I was basically directed to do something that I thought went beyond stupid to felony stupid, strategically jeopardizing our place in the world and everything else, that’s when I quit.” Trump fired DNI Dan Coates six months later, and so he lost the counsel of two of his serious, most seasoned advisors. 

On Sept. 3, Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor of the Atlantic magazine, published an article enumerating Trump’s frequent insulting comments about the U.S. military. Apparently, as Goldberg explains, our President does not understand the concept of service, of working for something that benefits the common good, not yourself personally. Trump called those who serve “losers” and “suckers” – he could not understand the purpose of doing something with no tangible personal reward. “What was in it for them?” Trump asked of his Chief of Staff John Kelly, at the graveside of Kelly’s son Robert, a marine killed in Afghanistan. Is this the commander in chief our troops deserve? 

We have Trump’s own words, on tape, evidence of his shallow understanding of governance, service, international relations, science – a man who doesn’t read and spends his mornings, according to several sources, watching Fox News. Donald Trump was not ready in 2016 to take on the Presidency of the United States. And he surely doesn’t deserve four more years. 

Trump has “shown us who he is.” The evidence is on tape, is quoted in many sources. Please vote for Joe Biden in November. Unless Trump suffers a resounding defeat at the polls, he will not leave quietly, and a Constitutional crisis may occur. Trump has stated several times that if he doesn’t win, the election had to be rigged, and he may not consider it legitimate. 

Please join us at Democracy is not a spectator sport. Your vote matters!

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