"The governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire," Trump said Friday of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who over the weekend extended Michigan's stay-at-home order to May 15. "These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely!" Trump said of protesters who brought guns but not masks to the Michigan capital. "See them, talk to them, make a deal," the president urged.
Make a deal. Make a deal with what exactly? Life? The science of biology? A virus that knows no partisanship, no boundary, no instinct other than proliferation?
What's Whitmer going to say to the protesters? Is she going to say: "Hey, guys. Knock yourselves out getting a highly contagious virus that you may or may not survive, but in the meantime you'll take it home to you kids, your spouse, your siblings, your parents, other MAGA hat significant others?"
What she rightly did say, was "Whether you agree with me or not, I'm working to protect your life if you live in the state of Michigan."
And pray, Mr. President: Would a "deal" with protesters roll back or even slow American tallies of more than 1.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 — more than five times the cases of any other country on the planet? And did we mention that the more than 68,000 U.S. deaths in just four months is more than four times the directly confirmed flu deaths of 2017-2018 — the year of the most confirmed flu deaths in America over the past seven years?
If the protesters — like Tennesseans, thanks to Bill Lee, Jim Coppinger and others who've rushed to reopen — think there's something so important in Hamilton Place mall or any mall that they must line up to obtain, well, bless their hearts. What's more, in Michigan, where the malls wisely aren't open, more power to the protesters who could channel their energies into setting up sidewalk markets on their front doorsteps and invite others to shop and trade with them right there in their own neighborhoods. Since when is it a constitutional right to shop in a mall? Or sell in a mall or strip center?
Knock yourselves out to get sick, folks. But don't shove that sick onto the rest of us.
And don't force a longer shutdown later.
But that seems inevitable now, thanks in part to the shortsighted protesters and the delusions of our president. Health experts have said COVID-19 will raise its ugly head perhaps with even more vengeance in the fall.
Over the weekend, Trump realized he'd have to scale up the estimate he has used for the number of expected coronavirus deaths. Just two weeks ago he had said "maybe" there would be 60,000. But here we are already topping 68,000, so now he's projecting that the U.S. toll may be as high as 100,000. And he acknowledged that Americans who have been wearing face masks and social distancing in recent weeks will "have to do that for a while," even as states reopen their economies.
Tell that to "the very good people" protesters, whose uncovered loud mouths are open and spewing.
Trump has been and still is just making stuff up.
Deborah Birx, one of Trump's actual expert COVID-19 advisers, on "Fox News Sunday," offered a mild-mannered contradiction of the president's serially low-balled death projections.
"Our projections have always been between 100,000 and 240,000 American lives lost, and that's with full mitigation and us learning from each other of how to social distance," she told Chris Wallace.
But not to worry. Most of us got a letter from the president in recent days. "Your Economic Impact Payment Has Arrived," it proclaims. It bears Trump's signature.
The letter — clearly not written by Trump as in places it sounds almost presidential, has no misspellings, no ALL CAPS, and doesn't call COVID-19 the "Chinese virus — is cleverly designed propaganda in which the president all but takes credit for an act of Congress. Of course he'll ride this pony — especially this close to Election Day.
The letter begins "My Fellow American: Our great country is experiencing an unprecedented public health and economic challenge as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. Our top priority is your health and safety. As we wage total war on this invisible enemy, we are also working around the clock to protect hardworking Americans like you from the consequences of the economic shutdown. ..."
The letter looks to be on White House letterhead but is postmarked from the IRS in Austin, Texas. That's a no-no, as it undermines the nonpartisan ideal of the IRS, the department of government with which Americans have the most direct contact.
On the backside of the one-page letter, the message is written in Spanish. Trump's minions must have snuck that past him lest his ire cause them personal pain.
Many Trump detractors called the letter a waste of money. They suggest Trump might better have thrown out cleaning wipes or mailed us all toilet paper instead.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, however, put it quite succinctly Sunday when he told the Austin American-Statesman: "If Trump's name belongs on anything, it is the many death certificates that have resulted from his delay, denial, and ongoing deception."
We could not have said it better.