The dangerous and delusional raging narcissist-in-chief

I really hate to say it, because anarchism depends upon an idea that human beings are capable of better, but sometimes that bumper sticker that has Star Trek’s starship captain James T. Kirk saying, “Beam me up, Scotty; there’s no intelligent life down here,” might be the most damning refutation of all:

“People will do extraordinary things if you give them the idea,” said Dara Kass, associate professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

Even before the president’s musings, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Monday found U.S. poison control centers were seeing a surge in calls about exposure to cleaners and disinfectants amid the coronavirus outbreak. Between January and March, there were 45,550 calls — a 20.4 percent increase from the same period last year.[1]

In the wake of his hydroxychloroquine quackery,[2] our delusional raging narcissist-in-chief said,

I see the disinfectant that knocks it [the novel coronavirus] out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.[3]

Condemnation was swift:

“The difference between this and the chloroquine is that somebody could go right away to their pantry and start swallowing bleach. They could go to their medicine cabinet and swallow isopropyl alcohol,” Kass said. “A lot of people have that in their homes. There’s an immediate opportunity to react.”

People who ingest such chemicals often die, Kass said. Those who survive usually end up with feeding tubes, a result of their mouth and esophagus being eroded by the cleaning agents.

“It’s horrific,” she said.[4]

After nearly universal and well-deserved opprobrium, Donald Trump now claims, “I said it sarcastically.”[5] As if there were any occasion for sarcasm in the moment. As if a more likely analogy were not that of an utterly unprepared and inattentive schoolchild called upon in class and spewing whatever nonsense comes to his mind in the arrogant, desperate, and vain hope that it will somehow impress the teacher.

Too late:

The Poison Control Center, a subagency of [New York City’s] Health Department, managed a total of 30 cases of possible exposure to disinfectants between 9 p.m. Thursday and 3 p.m. Friday, a spokesman said. . . . According to data obtained by The [New York Daily] News, the Poison Control Center only handled 13 similar cases in the same 18-hour period last year.

Moreover, out of the cases reported between Thursday and Friday, nine were specifically about possible exposure to Lysol. Ten were in regards to bleach and 11 about household cleaners in general, the spokesman said.[6]

After all, and this is my cue to go silent when passengers say this in my car, “President Trump said. . . .”

It has to be hard—I am grateful for a strong stomach myself—for people outside the Faux News bubble to imagine. People really do have a reverence for and faith in Trump that echoes his own reverence for and faith in himself.

And yes, they really will do what he suggests, even if, after the fact, he claims his suggestions were “sarcastic.” And no, this does not suggest a species that is capable of rising to a level that anarchism requires.

  1. [1]Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, and Brittany Shammas, “Trump comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants,” Washington Post, April 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectant-injection-coronavirus-trump/
  2. [2]Associated Press, “FDA warns against using the drugs that Trump touts for coronavirus,” Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-04-24/fda-warns-against-using-trump-touted-drugs-to-treat-coronavirus; Marilynn Marchione, “Heart woes spur partial stop of malaria drug study for virus,” Washington Post, April 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/heart-woes-spur-partial-stop-of-malaria-drug-study-for-virus/2020/04/13/c6460050-7db6-11ea-84c2-0792d8591911_story.html; Aaron Rupar, “Trump and Fox News want to send their hydroxychloroquine hype down the memory hole,” Vox, April 22, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/4/22/21230982/hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus-trump-fox-news-hype; Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Health Dept. Official Says Doubts on Hydroxychloroquine Led to His Ouster,” New York Times, April 22, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/rick-bright-trump-hydroxychloroquine.html; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trump wants to lift lockdowns. Other countries’ attempts show why the U.S. isn’t ready,” Washington Post, April 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/04/21/trump-wants-lift-lockdowns-other-countries-attempts-show-why-us-isnt-ready/
  3. [3]Donald Trump, quoted in Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, and Brittany Shammas, “Trump comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants,” Washington Post, April 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectant-injection-coronavirus-trump/
  4. [4]Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, and Brittany Shammas, “Trump comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants,” Washington Post, April 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectant-injection-coronavirus-trump/
  5. [5]Donald Trump, quoted in Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt, “A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments,” New York Daily News, April 24, 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-new-yorkers-household-cleaners-trump-20200425-rnaqio5dyfeaxmthxx2vktqa5m-story.html
  6. [6]Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt, “A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments,” New York Daily News, April 24, 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-new-yorkers-household-cleaners-trump-20200425-rnaqio5dyfeaxmthxx2vktqa5m-story.html

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