On July 27, President Donald Trump held a press conference and, for a brief spell, seemed to come to his senses about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Anthony Fauci, no doubt, were pleased to hear him advocate the use of masks for the first time and endorse other cautionary measures which public health professionals, world-wide, have found effective. For a moment there I was breathing easier; the man was making sense. Maybe he’s waking up, I thought.
But, true to form, he reversed himself straight away. I should have known. He was just reading from a script. His real beliefs emerged later that day when he endorsed a speech from a doctor who claimed she’d cured 350 people with the drug hydroxy (hydroxychloroquine) which studies have shown to be good for malaria but not for our current scourge. She also said face masks weren’t used in her office. “You don’t need masks. There is a cure.”
Trump thought her speech was “very impressive” so he re-tweeted it twice. Donald Jr. said it was a “must watch.” So, who is this expert, new on the scene?
Just when you thought things could get no stranger, meet Dr. (and the Rev.) Stella Immanuel. She’s a pediatrician, trained in Africa, and practices in a Houston suburb. She is a longtime Tea-Partier, Trump supporter and has founded a church.
Now you need to sit down for this next bit. She’s on record as claiming “gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are … caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.”
Also that our government is full of “lizard aliens.” This last claim I endorse heartily and offer Sen. Mitch McConnell as irrefutable proof of it. When Facebook took down Immanuel’s video, she warned them Jesus would destroy their servers. She self-describes as “God’s battle ax,” a “deliverance minister”and a “wealth transfer coach.” I suspect these three roles are intertwined in ways modeled in history by Genghis Khan, Jesse James and Al Capone (actually, only Khan used a battle ax). To make matters even more surreal, Madonna came on board for the doctor.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins tried to explore Trump’s feelings about Immanuel and he dodged the question. When she pressed him, he cut off the conference and hastily retreated, as any “war president” would.
So, in a week that began on a hopeful note, our president showed us again that he doesn’t get it: that we have to control and contain the virus before the economy can recover, and that real science, not magical longing, is our only pathway to it. That his enablers haven’t made that clear to him shows us the power of shared delusion. I fear the GOP is having a “Jim Jones moment.” Oh my, is that smell hydroxyor Kool-aid brewing?