Donald Trump is on defense these days. He went out of his way to issue a statement today in essence calling his former chief of staff (we’re talking about number four — Mark Meadows) a liar.
This is in contradiction of what Mark Meadows says in his new book. The Guardian:
Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 three days before his first debate against Joe Biden, the former president’s fourth and last chief of staff has revealed in a new book.
Mark Meadows also writes that though he knew each candidate was required “to test negative for the virus within seventy two hours of the start time … Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.”
Meadows is portraying Trump as the powerful Alpha Male who was not going to be felled by COVID. No siree bob, he was going to go out there and debate, infected or not, and infect his opponent as well. Why not? Misery loves company. Tim Miller, The Bulwark:
The Meadows claim that Trump had tested positive for COVID pre-debate is further supported by the following facts:
Two days after the test, Trump and Pence held a joint event during which they were unusually distant from one another
Trump refused to take the required COVID test at the debate site, claiming that he had arrived too late to take a test.
The White House refused to answer whether it had submitted negative tests to the Cleveland Clinic as required by debate organizers.
During an onanistic post-election interview with the Trump fluffer-in-chief Mollie Hemingway, the former president only refused to answer one of her questions: Whether he had COVID during the first debate.
These are all the actions of someone who knew he had COVID and wanted to debate anyway. Just as Meadows wrote.
Or, to reframe the episode just slightly: One sick old man decided to risk getting his old man opponent sick, too, and lied in order to do it.
Biden at age 77 was in the prime risk category for COVID-19, Trump spent an entire evening screaming and spittling in his general direction—remember, this was that debate—indoors, from a few feet away, without a mask.
Trump risked other people’s lives because he needed to get off on the applause that he expected after schlonging Biden (whoops). But also in order to wriggle out of the consequences of his months long refusal to take reasonable precautions regarding COVID, because he was intent on downplaying the virus. And then he lied about it and tried to coverup his lies in the aftermath.
Trump was lucky that he didn’t become “one of the diers.” As a country we were similarly lucky that this sitting president did not infect and kill his political rival with his carelessness. Donald Trump’s pathological megalomania put us in the position where that was possible and the only reason the country didn’t have to face the unrest that would result from such a horror was luck.
Trump was the chaos candidate. Some people hoped that the weight of the presidency would make him more responsible. It did not. Others hoped that, despite his erratic nature, the country might escape calamity during his watch. We did not. If private citizen Donald Trump wanted to risk his own life playing COVID roulette, that’s his call, though I’d be pretty damn pissed if he had put my grandmother at risk the way he did Biden and others.
Interesting that Trump did this and now wants to walk it back, making Meadows out to be the liar. Wonder what that’s about? And it’s also interesting to wonder whether calling Meadows a liar will affect Meadows’ feelings about Trump enough to influence his testimony next week before the January 6 Committee. Why should he show loyalty to Trump when Trump clearly is showing none to him?