By James Fitzgerald
The world views US President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a renowned leader who steered America through the Great Depression and second world war, but during his tenure the public was scarcely aware that he was unable to walk unaided — after being struck by polio in 1921— and was wheelchair bound behind closed doors. The Secret Service would routinely seize and destroy photographs that showed him in a weakened state and the press were asked to portray him as strong and virile. And so the illusion of physical stature endured.
Today the media has a quite different relationship with POTUS, and yet here again the public is faced with illusory narratives that rely on the same tricks and omissions. On October 2, President Trump was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after being diagnosed with Covid-19 the previous day. The First Lady, Melania, had also received a diagnosis. POTUS tweeted “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
Trump appeared in a limousine on Sunday, with suit and mask, waving to well-wishers outside. Some corporate media outlets preferred to call them “demonstrators”. Newspapers had been perplexed by the mixed signals from the President’s doctors and advisers over the state of his condition, despite his doctor saying that the president was “doing very well”.
But why and how could a man with an acute respiratory illness present himself in public and in a broadcast public address at the weekend without any signs of disease? Trump benefits from his enemies’ sloganeering about him being narcissistic and mercurial, as he leads them on one goose chase after another. Journalists, reared on soundbites and emerging globalist agendas, no longer appear to have critical thinking abilities and are far from neutral on any subject that isn’t owned or controlled by their masters. They are therefore ill suited to offer any substantive insights into a military and subtextual campaign that permeates every facet of this President’s public life. Once again, this latest volley of announcements and decisions from the White House is characteristic of Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese strategist studied by West Point cadets — and hopefully a puzzle that will have a beneficial resolution, if indeed it is ever deciphered.
The other White House staff to have tested positive last week included Hope Hicks, a close advisor; Kellyanne Conway, a former senior advisor who had taken part in White House duties last week; Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien got the result on Friday; Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, was another to test positive, although she had been in Michigan for the previous week.
Media reports focused on the White House Rose Garden celebration for President Trump’s third nominee to the US Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, on September 26 after it emerged that Sen Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen Thom Tillis (R-NC), the Reverend John Jenkins, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who all attended the event with Conway, had been added to the Covid list. Photographs of the event show some of the 100 attendees in masks, while others did without and mingled both outside and later inside the White House. Barrett had received a negative result for the virus on Friday.
However, the Rose Garden theory was undermined after 11 positive coronavirus cases were traced back to people involved in the setup and organizing for the first debate between Trump and Biden, according to Cleveland officials.
“The City of Cleveland is aware of positive cases of Covid-19 following the September 29 presidential debate. In total, at this time, we are aware of 11 cases stemming from pre-debate planning and set-up, with the majority of cases occurring among out of state residents,” a statement from Cleveland City Hall read.
Separately, last week, a White House member of staff and three WH journalists tested positive. Needless to say, all of these people will have embarked on 10 to 14-day self-isolation.
And on Monday, Kayleigh McEnany, White House Press secretary, issued a statement saying she had tested positive on Monday, “while experiencing no symptoms”. She will continue her duties while working remotely under quarantine. This had followed numerous negative tests, which brings into question the reliability of the testing protocol and apparatus — given that blank swabs and pau pau fruit have also tested positive.
Social media was achatter with theories as to why this inner circle of Trump loyalists should all get a red light concurrently — with most Republican supporters at a loss for explanations. DeAnna Lorraine, a former Congressional candidate, said: “This is getting too weird”, in response to news of McEnany’s positive test. Some commentators suggested that the White House had been targeted in a bio attack, although no evidence has surfaced to corroborate such suppositions.
Joy Reid of MSNBC said Trump was trying to escape presidential debates with Joe Biden. Michael Moore, the documentary filmmaker, suggested that Trump was an “evil genius” who was seeking sympathy by faking Covid-19. David Axelrod, a political commentator on CNN, tweeted on Monday: “If the @POTUS is taking a steroid that sometimes produces wild mood swings, shouldn’t he surrender authority to the VP under the 25th Amendment?”
POTUS has been given a combination of drugs that may not have been given together to a patient before — the antiviral remdesivir, a coronavirus antibody cocktail and the steroid dexamethasone. This powerful mixture may indicate that he is determined to get well quickly and is prepared to take the risks of side-effects and contraindications, or that his condition was worse than his physician Sean Conley had proposing.
“If you look at the therapeutics which I’m taking right now, some of them and others that are coming out soon that are looking like, frankly, they’re miracles,” Trump remarked in a video posted to his Twitter account at the weekend.
Twitter on Sunday banned a top US doctor after he posted a video wishing President Trump well and proposed an early treatment plan. Dr. David Samadi, a urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital and a Fox News contributor, suggested the use of a proven early treatment of HCQ, zinc and Zpack.
CNN raised concerns about the sudden onset of Trump’s illness, and claimed that Dr. Conley and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had provided “conflicting information” about the President’s health. In a typically disparaging report on Monday, CNN said: “On Saturday, Conley reported that the President had been sick for 72 hours. He then released a statement correcting himself and claiming that the President was on his third day of illness.” The report continued: “It will be at least another week before the President is out of the woods. Covid patients often take an abrupt turn for the worse about seven to 10 days into the course of disease, and even then, he’s also at risk for long-term complications of Covid, what some are calling long-hauler symptoms.”
The network’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on Sunday said President Trump’s doctors were “purposely misleading” the public and “hiding things”.
Despite this, the White House remained “optimistic” that Trump would be released from the hospital on Monday. And so it was, with Trump tweeting at 3.20pm local time: “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
With the US Senate closed until October 19, due to lawmakers testing positive, the timing of this group’s reemergence from quarantine would coincide with the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the two-week recess on Saturday after three Republican senators tested positive for the coronavirus. But the move, described as an effort to protect the health of lawmakers, will not derail the Judiciary Committee’s plan to hold hearings on Judge Barrett. McConnell is putting the chamber in “pro forma” session, which would still allow for committees to meet remotely.
Questions remain over what will happen to the HEROES Act — a proposed $3 trillion stimulus package in response to the pandemic — which is due before the Senate.
In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII signed a papal bull that promulgated a reformed calendar, that would become known as the Gregorian calendar. In order for the Roman Church to keep track of Easter, which fell on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox, on March 21, they dropped 10 days from the calendar to bring the vernal equinox from March 11 back to March 21. This happened at the beginning of October and became known as “10 days of darkness”.
It is a strange echo through history that so many White House staff should embark on 10-day retreats on the same date 438 years later. But, then, that might be an omen that even Sun Tzu couldn’t have foreseen.
Could this orchestrated lockdown of key figures in the Trump team be a safety measure as part of some strategic military operation taking place on an auspicious date? What modern day Sun Tzus might call “optics” — amid what has been described variously by some scientists and investigators as a “scamdemic”.