Tuesday night’s Town Hall should be memorialized as the night Kutztown University of Pennsylvania professor Ellesia Blaque shut down Donald Trump. The middle part of her sentence, “Please stop and let me finish my question, sir,” one that began politely with the word “Please” and ended respectfully with the word “sir,” serves to remind us of that which this president and this White House have chronically forgotten: they work for us. That is sometimes a thing that’s easy to forget in the barrage of the usual patronizing, condescending arrogance that ordinarily issues from this administration. We hired them, we pay their salaries, and we can fire them. We, the people.
Dr. Blaque suffers from neurosarcoidosis, a chronic disease of the central nervous system. For Professor Blaque it’s a preexisting condition. Without her medication she would be dead in three days. She is one of the lucky ones because she is insured by the state of Pennsylvania. Others, with similarly devastating preexisting conditions, are not so lucky. Their lives are hanging by a thread called the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, a federal statute that Trump’s lawyers are working tirelessly in the Supreme Court to repeal as I write this — working to take healthcare away from their fellow Americans smack in the middle of a global pandemic.
Professor Blaque reminds us that Donald Trump simply doesn’t care. He is going to repeal Obamacare with nothing to replace it, despite his claim otherwise. Trump told the Town Hall host George Stephanopoulos, “We’re going to be doing a healthcare plan that will very strongly protect people with preexisting conditions.” Stephanopoulos replied, “I interviewed you in June of last year, you said the healthcare plan would come in two weeks. You told Chris Wallace this summer that it would come in three weeks.” Trump replied, “I have it already.” But Trump had no answer when Stephanopoulos asked him, “What is it?”
Beware of the words “two weeks” and “three weeks” when Trump uses them. They never come and they are emblematic of promises Trump has been making since the start of his first campaign in 2015. The fact of the matter is he has no healthcare plan with which to replace Obamacare. If he did he would be crowing endlessly about it with the same zeal and tiresome persistence that he crows about how he “shut down the country” last January, when he limited — but did not stop — people from coming to the US from China. He doesn’t intend to replace Obamacare because he doesn’t want to.
Trump has no healthcare plan, there never has been a healthcare plan and there never will be a healthcare plan. All Trump cares about is destroying the legacy of a black man he is insanely jealous of and obsessed with. The American people can go ahead and die.
And of course they are dying, in ever increasing and alarming numbers. As I write this, 201,348 Americans are now dead from COVID-19, because, just as Trump has no healthcare plan to replace Obamacare, Trump has no organized national strategy for dealing with coronavirus.
Meanwhile the Director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, tells us that the most effective thing we can do to combat coronavirus is to wear a mask. It’s so effective, Redfield avers, that it will even protect us better than a vaccine. If only each of us would wear one.
Trump disavows Redfield’s mask-wearing encouragement, of course, because it would mean having to admit he was wrong about the effectiveness of masks all along. As usual with Trump, it’s all about protecting his ego. Again, the American people can go ahead and die.
My fellow tweeters understand why Trump has no time to work on coronavirus, just as he has no time to work on a healthcare plan. Trump is obsessed with Twitter and he’s on it night and day. When he’s not tweeting he’s watching television or playing golf. He doesn’t have time to work on those things. If asked, however, I’m sure he will have a plan for bringing coronavirus under control, just like he will have a healthcare plan — in two weeks.
I therefore look forward to October 20th, 2020. On that date I have a plan for getting permanently rid of Donald Trump in two weeks. Unlike Trump it’s a two week promise I intend to keep. Until then and, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.