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For Trump, even during a pandemic, there's always time to act like a jerk.

One would think that the leader of his country during a crisis this so-called leader keeps calling "unprecedented," would give his undivided attention to ending it, or at least mitigating it. But with Trump, there's always time for the petty, the personal, the paltry, and the penny-ante:


• This past week he notified Congress of his plans to fire Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community. It was Atkinson who insisted on following protocol by telling lawmakers about a whistle-blower complaint last fall. Then came the impeachment. Now, at this critical time, the impeached president said, he needs people he can trust. The problem is, there aren't any: the White House leaks information like a sieve, and every stupid thing he says and does gets out, no matter how fast he can spew it...and he can spew it.


•Friday Trump picked a fight with 3M for exporting 6 million N95 masks a month to Canada and Latin America, something the company has always done. At the same time 3M produced and arranged for the arrival of 45 million such masks for the United States in March alone. I'm not a 3M apologist, but 3M is the primary supplier for other countries which have historically produced medical supplies for the American market, like Canada. Besides, Canadian doctors and nurses cross the border every day to work in American hospitals in cities like Detroit. But the impeached president said no more shipping them out, except maybe to Italy or Spain. There's no rhyme or reason. Should there be?. "3M will have a big price to pay!" he tweeted. No, as usual, we will.


•The ceaselessly inept and almost unimaginably incompetent Jared Kushner, who is apparently running the coronavirus shadow task force, said this the other day:


You also have a situation where in some states FEMA allocated ventilators to the states, and you have instances where in cities they’re running out but the state still has a stockpile. And the notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile — it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use.


Where this idiocy originated, nobody knows. But it's dead wrong. The stockpile is intended by statute to optimize the emergency health security of the United States. Until Friday, the federal Health and Human Services website reflected the true version. Then the website was rewritten to match Kushner's misunderstanding of how it was intended to work. You can look it up, but don't. It'll just make you angrier.


•Yesterday the CDC finally issued some usable information on masks, which the president diluted immediately by (1) saying he wouldn't wear one and (2) underscoring the idea that wearing them is voluntary. He did say a few weeks ago when he visited the CDC that the scientists there were surprised at the grasp he had on everything. Nobody is surprised anymore.


And just a word about the Republican senators we used to call his enablers? No more—now they're accomplices.



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