While Donald Trump dangerously downplayed the risk of the coronavirus to Americans, he played himself up as its biggest victim and biggest hero. Sean Hannity was on hand to play lapdog and handmaiden.
In the midst of boasting about the U.S. economy, Trump cast himself as the unsung hero of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. You’ll notice that his only concern for Americans was a general hope the virus "doesn't happen over here."
TRUMP: We got hit with the coronavirus. And that was out of surprise. I started hearing about it very quietly a couple of months ago from China. And I said, wow, I hope that doesn't happen over here. They got a little bit more, little bit more, little bit bigger. And against the advice of a lot of great professionals, frankly, and they worked for the administration and outside -- I closed the borders to China.
And that's why we have a very small number of people that we have to really worry about. And you know, a lot of things have happened that have been very fortunate. But I closed the borders, against the advice of a lot of people. And it turned out to be a very wise decision. Otherwise, we would have had, you know, a lot of people coming in during the course of a number of weeks.
We're doing great job. We have a great group. Mike Pence is doing a fantastic job. I put him in charge of the group. And we have the greatest doctors in the world. We're also helping other countries. We help a lot of other countries. We would even help Iran, if they wanted. They're hit very hard. But we're helping a lot of other countries.
There was more fluffing from Hannity about Trump’s Brave Decision to stop Chinese people from coming and how, as Trump put it, “we have been doing really well,” meaning, of course, himself. And, instead of pressing Dear Leader for details about Pence’s “fantastic job,” Hannity exploited the serious public health situation to bash President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Joe Biden. There was no mention of how Trump has dismantled the pandemic response team Obama built up and sabotaged the U.S. response.
HANNITY: [T]he H1N1 virus, that was a pandemic in 2009 and '10, interestingly, in Obama/Biden years. We lost around 17,000 Americans. The CDC estimates are, we lost 200,000 to 500,000 lives worldwide. In that case, children were more at risk with the H1N1 pandemic.
Eventually, at about 17:13, Hannity asked, “What are we prepared as a country to do to keep our citizens safe?”
Trump either could not or would not answer. The only safety he seemed interested in was that of his own political fortunes.
TRUMP: Well, I just say that it's, you know, a very, very small number in this country. And we're going to try and keep it that way as much as possible. I will say, though, the H1N1, that was swine flu, commonly referred to as swine flu. And that went from around April of '09 to April of '10, where there were 60 million cases of swine flu.
And over -- actually, it's over 13,000. I think you might have said 17,000. I had heard it was 13,000, but a lot of -- a lot of deaths. And they didn't do anything about it. Interestingly, with the swine flu, children were -- in particular, they were vulnerable, sort of the opposite in that respect. But children were very vulnerable to the swine flu.
But they never did close the borders. I don't think they ever did have the travel ban. And we did. And, again, they lost at least 13,000. It could be as high as 17,000 people.
And we acted much differently. And then I watched Biden try and criticize us, but I'm not sure he knows what he's criticizing, to be honest with you. But I watched him the other day try. Or I watch Schumer. Every time they put a mic at his face, he has no idea the incredible job these people are doing. He will say, oh, they're doing a horrible job, horrible job.
Well, he says that because that's like the auto -- he will say it about anything. If you say, how great is the deal with China, oh, I don't like it, I don't like it. He said, he took away tariffs. Well, I didn't take away the tariffs. They're paying 25 percent of $250 billion. They pay us a tariff of 25 percent on $250 billion.
But he was screaming, he took away the tariffs. You know, he didn't want the tariffs. And then, all of a sudden, when he thinks they were taken away -- but we didn't take them away. Just the opposite. It was rather incredible that we didn't take them away, but that's the way it is. And we're getting along very well with China.
Later, after Trump spread his dangerous misinformation about the “corona flu” by telling people to listen to his “hunch” instead of the World Health Organization, and suggesting there was no need to stay home if you're ill, Hannity and his Bedtime BFF painted the Democrats as more dangerous than COVID-19 – while the two pretended to have the entire’ country’s interests at heart:
HANNITY: And even as quickly as you acted, I -- you were attacked for it, xenophobe, you're stigmatizing countries, when I assume that your interest were the best interest of the American people.
What does it say about the state of our politics, we can't even agree to work together on solving a virus that will attack all of us?
TRUMP: Well, Sean, the Democrats weaponize the virus against the Trump administration. They weaponize anything we do. And yet, if they did it, they'd be, you know, hailing it. But they do weaponize this. You know, when -- they know what a great job we're doing. They know we have the best in the world. We have -- and we have really shown it. Even when you look at the small numbers that we're talking about within this country, they're very, very small.
I mean, we have a very large country, to put it mildly, and a great country, by the way. And it's getting greater all the time. But they weaponize the virus against us. And they will just say -- even though they have no facts, they will just say, oh, we don't like the job they're doing. You know, it's just off the cuff.
It's like a natural reflex. And it's not good. Especially, it's not good with something like this. They can say it about certain things, but, this one, everybody has to pull together. And not all Democrats have done that, I must say. Lately, I notice that it's gotten really a lot less, I would say 50 percent less.
But the same -- the bad ones, the Schumers and others, they will always say -- no matter how good you do, if you found a cure, and everything disappeared within 24 hours, they would say you did a terrible job, terrible, terrible.
And that's unfortunate for the country. But we live with it. And here I am in the White House. I'm president, and they're not. It's sort of an amazing factor, isn't it?
You can watch Trump's inability to tell viewers what he's doing to protect Americans - while Hannity pretends Trump is not completely inadequate to the task below, from the March 4, 2020 Hannity.
The image of Nero and fiddling while Rome burns, keeps coming to mind.
~ H.L. Mencken, writing in The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920