Today, caregivers in hospitals measure such vital signs every few hours. President Donald Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, provided fragmentary information on his patient’s vital signsthis week as he briefed reporters in front of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. But he was far from transparent about the full nature and course of Trump’s Covid-19 illness.
Conley wouldn’t say, for example, when Trump last tested negative for the virus and refused to describe the condition of the President’s lungs (the disease typically attacks the lungs early in infection).
With a presidential election three weeks away, Trump’s vital signs are of more than historical interest. In fact, they are becoming entwined with key questions about where America is heading in a perilous time, when he is far behind Joe Biden in the polls and refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power, should he lose. Trump himself declared in an interview with Maria Bartiromo Thursday, “I am a perfect physical specimen and I’m extremely young.”
But Trump’s infrequent and staged appearances, his raspy voice, his motorcade around Walter Reed and his rip-off-the-mask return to the White House has left many doubtful that he’s fully recovered — and in a position to make presidential-level decisions.
Dr. Chris Pernell, who works at a New Jersey hospital, lost her father to the coronavirus in April. When she thinks of the impact on her family and countless others, Pernell wrote, she can’t help but conclude that “the President of the United States is a clear threat to public health. He mocks infection prevention guidelines, including mask wearing, and taunts those who believe in the science of public health…”
No help from Washington
For Cheryl Esposito, a makeup artist in New York, the stalled negotiations hit home. She hasn’t worked since March 10.
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It’s all one big story
Trump’s “recklessness knows no bounds,” wrote Jeffrey Sachs. “Even on Monday, with all of the dangers he has caused to himself, his wife, his staff and his fellow politicians, and with all of the suffering and deaths across the nation, he tweets, ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.'”
Frida Ghitis wondered about the Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony where Trump announced the choice of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: It was “a shocking spectacle of hubris …”
Miles Taylor, who served as chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration, wrote, “sadly, we will look back at this episode and see photographs of White House aides, top officials, and elected leaders gathered together, hugging, laughing, and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder at mostly mask-less events, mere feet away from the President — all during a global health catastrophe.
For more on the election:
Harris v. Pence
Vice-presidential debates don’t usually determine the outcome of elections, but this year’s version, pitting Vice President Mike Pence against Sen. Kamala Harris, at least drew a bigger than usual audience. Each side claimed victory, while a CNN poll of debate watchers gave the edge to the California senator.
For more on the debates:
The Amy Coney Barrett hearing
The high-stakes, high-pressure hearing on Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the US Supreme Court begins Monday, amid Republican eagerness to cement the court’s conservative majority and Democratic rage at the expedited process in the midst of a presidential election.
Hovering over the Barrett hearing is the question of how Democrats would react if they won the presidency and control of the Senate. Some have suggested that a Barrett confirmation — along with Republicans’ refusal four years ago to even consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland — constitutes the “theft” of two court seats and should prompt Democrats to “pack” the court.
“To allow the American people to govern themselves, to rein in the judiciary and break a would-be reactionary super-legislature — to show Republicans that they cannot keep the ill-gotten gains of the Trump years — Democrats will need to expand the courts.”
Plot against Gov. Whitmer
The FBI arrested six men and disclosed an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and to overthrow state governments.
As Honig noted, the FBI recently warned of the danger of right-wing extremist groups. The Whitmer kidnap “complaint proves, in stark and chilling detail, that the FBI was absolutely correct to sound the alarm.”
The right cheesesteak
After 2016, most Americans know that the winner of the national popular vote isn’t automatically guaranteed to win the presidency: state electoral votes determine the winner. So, our political commentary team, headed by Yaffa Fredrick, is putting a special focus on the swing states that will likely determine the outcome.
These states just happen to have fairly equal numbers of partisans from each side.
Here’s more on the swing states:
These days Robert Redford has been thinking about the 1972 film “The Candidate” and the character he played.
“Bill McKay is running for the US Senate from California,” Redford wrote for CNN Opinion. “At the end of a televised debate, McKay is prompted to give his closing statement. He veers off script — casting aside the careful messages his consultants had crafted — and speaks from the heart. ‘I think it’s important to note what subjects we haven’t discussed,’ he says. He mentions race, and poverty and urban blight. ‘We haven’t discussed any of the sicknesses that may yet send this country up in flames.'”
Those words resonate in 2020, he noted.
In addition to its insight into the dynamics of a campaign, “The Candidate,” had a killer closing line (spoiler alert). McKay, the idealistic son of a former governor, is guided by advisers to soften some of his views and comes from behind to beat an incumbent senator.