The elephant in the room
By Luis H. Francia
July 27, 2020 at 9:55 am

President Donald Trump endorses a private company by posting a photo with Goya food products. |@realdonaldtrump/Instagram

NEW YORK — He correctly identified the elephant.


He was able to repeat five words in the order they were said, not once but twice: Person Woman Man Camera TV.


His fans must be beside themselves, once again confirmed in their belief that their man in the White House is a stable genius.

Trump proudly proclaims that he is “cognitively there,” but fails to mention the kind of test he supposedly aced, seeming to believe it was an intelligence test.

Indeed, it was a test, but one intended to help determine whether the test taker has signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Bragging about taking such a test is akin to someone boasting that he or she passed the breathalyzer test when stopped by traffic police for seeming to drive under the influence: “I aced that test and showed how agile and nimble I was when able to walk a straight line.”

But such braggadocio is a sure sign of cognitive failure, as the president’s niece Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist, points out in a TV interview. Ms. Trump, as everyone should know by now, even by Trump’s fanatical base, has written a damning book about her uncle, Too Much and Never Enough, which sold nearly a million copies the day that it was released. When asked for her professional opinion, she has said that the president is “utterly incapable of leading this country, and it’s dangerous to allow him to do so.” According to her, he is a sociopath albeit not a smart one like his father, and his whole life he has been insulated from the consequences of his failures. (I would say this last is a protective function taken on by among others his enablers in the Senate and members of his staff chosen not for their brains but for their seemingly endless capacity for boot- and ass-licking, and for feeding the voracious ego of Don the Con.)

The list the president touted had at least three of his favorite words: Woman Camera TV. But, I wonder, had the words been different, would he have remembered these? Supposing the five words were Empathy Integrity Compassion Honesty Humility? Would he have even known what these words mean? Perhaps, but one is not likely to find these in his emotional and intellectual vocabulary, which is as spare as a pauper’s pantry.

As for identifying that pachyderm (the symbol of his party), for the longest time Trump failed to see—or, worse, ignore—the elephant in the room. COVID-19 staring him straight in the eye. A killer elephant that has so far claimed more than 143,000 lives as of this writing. A brute of a beast that doesn’t give a damn about your political loyalties. The irony of grim reality facing down the reality star and winning.

Only recently, after months frankly of nonsensical even stupid proclamations, has he acknowledged the severity of the pandemic, not out of any sense of discovering his inner empathetic Person/Man but because Camera/TV (and his slipping poll numbers) dictated this volte-face. He could no longer avoid how that elephant kept getting bigger and bigger, and the room smaller and smaller.

To now declare that wearing a mask is “patriotic” is too little, too late. And he must bear responsibility for the spread of the virus. And for the thousands of lives lost because he and his administration have failed utterly in their response to the pandemic. One can speak, justifiably, of the Trump Virus, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has. There can be no doubt that the Trump Virus has infected a good number of the country’s population. Many exhibit telltale symptoms, among them: adhering to the notion that being maskless is a virtue rather than a vice, that the pandemic is really a hoax, and that scientists like Dr. Anthony Fauci are intent on misleading the American public.

The most significant symptom is that the Trump Virus makes its victims lose their minds, proving the veracity of that adage, whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. By now it should be a matter of dogma that the Spreader-in-Chief is demented. How else explain that photo of him, in the midst of the pandemic, grinning madly behind his Resolute desk, a row of Goya food products arrayed before him? He might want to remember these words and repeat them day after day.


Copyright L.H. Francia 2020    

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