During the farcical White House “Coronavirus Task Force” press briefing that kicked off what became a series of near-daily briefings, Donald Trump still couldn’t bring himself to treat this virus outbreak with any degree of seriousness, nor to look at American citizens as anything but “consumers” in an effort to mitigate not necessarily the spread of COVID-19, but the outbreak’s effect on American markets and his own chances of reelection.
How do we know he’s not serious? Well, when questioned by reporters about why he hadn’t been tested, he said he did, but only after people “made a big deal” over his not having been or not wanting to be tested. But then he told the assembled group that he’d had his temperature taken before this very presser, and the reporters in attendance told him that they too had been checked for temperature spikes as they entered the area.
Trump was surprised by that, but clearly pleased. And then he said the most Trumpian thing he could possibly have said in response:
I had my temperature taken coming into the room… [Reporters respond that they also did] You did? Good. Let’s compare, you want to compare?”
At the risk of sounding patronizing to my obviously quite intelligent readers, there are only two possible outcomes when one has their body temperature assayed: Normal and abnormal. It is not a test, and there is no scoring. Lower temperatures are not good, nor are higher temperatures, and there’s no way to “win” a comparison between two temperatures.
But that’s the immediate response from someone like Donald Trump — if there’s a thing he can quantify, it must be quantified in a way that is superior to other people’s measurements for the same quantifiable thing, as though weight is like an IQ score or how many hot dogs one can eat in a single sitting, or the number of times they’ve seen Bloodsport, not counting the times they fast-forwarded to the end fight between Frank and Chong Li.
There’s no winning in fevers, Mr. President. Just be thankful there are people around keeping you from licking the windows of the presidential limo.
Featured image via screen capture
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