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When coronavirus collides with Trump’s ‘very large brain’

President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Leah Millis
President Donald Trump
A year and a half ago, Donald Trump boasted that China was flummoxed by the difficulty of dealing with his  “very large brain.”

I’m unaware of any sources for Trump’s impression of Chinese views on the size of the Trumpian brain, other than the size of the Trump ego and the workings of the Trumpian mouth. 

I recalled Trump’s boast about his intelligence while reading the short passage below, from a recent Washington Post op-ed by (Minnesota native and Carleton College) grad Brian Klaas about the current coronavirus epidemic. It went:

“Who would have thought?” Trump asked during his recent visit to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. In fact, public health experts were warning for years that this would happen. “The threat of pandemic flu is the No. 1 health security concern,” one official in the White House’s global health security unit warned early in the Trump administration. “Are we ready to respond? I fear the answer is no.”

The following day, Trump shut that office in a reorganization.

Who would have thought?

Comments (20)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/10/2020 - 02:56 pm.

    That’s why Trump had his lawyers enjoin any of the schools that he attended from making his transcripts public.

  2. Submitted by Bob Johnson on 03/10/2020 - 03:15 pm.

    Now that Trump has been exposed directly to COVID-19, he should regret actions like closing the CDC Pandemic Response Team or the White House Global Security Unit.
    But he won’t.
    Malignant Narcissism will not ‘allow’ him to ever apologize or express regret.
    He will continue his established pattern of blaming anyone but himself, lying, distorting, yelling ‘fake news’ or simply changing the topic to the question asked.
    COVID-19’s fatality rate is 34X that of influenza, (.1% vs 3.4%), has a transmission vector considerably higher than the flu and symptomatic onset varies from 2 to 14 days. This is problematic to health care professionals and may prove fatal to many senior citizens, particularly those with compromised immune system.
    But, the very large brain of Donald Trump promises us ‘it will all go away.’

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/10/2020 - 03:41 pm.

      It’s important to remember that the Pandemic Response Team and the White House Global Security Unit were both initiatives of the Obama administration.

      Of course he shut them down. What choice did he have?

  3. Submitted by kurt nelson on 03/10/2020 - 03:17 pm.

    Three weeks ago, the WHO announced there were 3 confirmed cases of Covid19 in Italy. Yesterday they closed Italy – 60 million told to keep in place. Now this might be the Italian government messing with the pres, getting in his head (if there’s room along side his large brain) and his bid to be re-elected. More likely it’s the response when experts are asked about what to do, taking the whole thing seriously.

  4. Submitted by BK Anderson on 03/11/2020 - 08:31 am.

    Well, of course Trump shut down a government unit set up to deal with pandemic flu viruses. As RB Holbrook notes, that office was an Obama initiative, so presumptively “wrong” in TrumpBrain.

    But let’s remember that this is also the kind of action that EVERY “conservative” president looks to implement–it’s domestic government, so therefore presumptively a “waste”. Just like Bush Jr & Cheney shutting down Clinton’s various terrorist response and monitoring operations as soon as that (democratically illegitimate) Repub president took office in 2001. We know how that worked out, too…

    Pervasive presidential incompetence is a “conservative” feature, not just some Trumpian bug. Although of course Trump’s “very large brain” takes the incompetence to undreamt-of heights! But this is what can be expected when 63 million (incompetent) voters decide that an utterly unqualified fool and conman merits election to the Oval Office.

    In America circa 2020, incompetence reigns supreme.

  5. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 03/11/2020 - 08:37 am.

    Well, the fact that about 20 million Americans don’t have health care insurance, and an estimated 29% of Americans, or about 85 million Americans are underinsured, plus the Health Care industry having been turned into a racketeering complex, money-mining for investors, should mean the death rate here will be higher than anywhere else in the developed world….which you can’t put all on Trump.

    That’s what we get in America, caring more about the health of corporations and the stock market/investments than people.

    • Submitted by kurt nelson on 03/11/2020 - 09:24 am.

      “cant put all on trump”.
      Sure we can. He appointed Mike (I’m afraid of science,but Jebus will save us all) Pence to lead the response. The ignorant racist had a hunch about the numbers, and rejected the actual facts put forth by experts. He wanted to keep citizens on a cruise ship because if they came ashore, the number of cases of confirmed Covid 19 would rise, and he likes lower numbers. These are citizens, not dirty immigrants remember.

      Had the administration acted like leaders, things would likely be very different here, but they didn’t. They scratched their heads, prayed, and fumbled the response – and that killed people.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 03/11/2020 - 09:35 am.

        Trump did not set up an ACA that was about protecting the health of Health Care corporations and investors more than the actual health of people.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/11/2020 - 10:05 am.

          No — he’s trying to kill an ACA that has brought health care (imperfect though it be) to more people than had it under Republican administrations.

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 03/11/2020 - 11:47 am.

            The $500mnth plus $6000-8000 deductible that the ACA offers me, despite that I am in good health, is not health care, it is Health Care Corporations bleeding me until I am dead.

        • Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 03/11/2020 - 12:22 pm.

          The REPs and many more fully worked on and bought into the ACA. The brain death of approx half of our population due to a daily onslaught of planned, purposeful propaganda by those on the R is our 2and most challenging issue, right behind our and our planet’s continued survival.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 03/11/2020 - 09:48 am.

      Sure. But you go to war with the health insurance regime you have, not the one you wish you had. So Trump & Co are bungling this one bad.

      And you seem to forget that Trump and his complicit Repubs opposed Obamacare from the start, have rejected out of hand for over a decade every Dem attempt or proposal to make it work better, have continuously sought to repeal it and replace it with nothing, and are currently asking the Supreme Court (once again) to declare it unconstitutional.

      And this is after Repub Justice Roberts demanded that the Obamacare Medicaid expansion become optional in order to uphold the law in 2010. And every Repub-controlled state took him up on it.

      So, objectively speaking, the “conservative” movement bears the lion’s share of blame for the nation’s failure to reform the health insurance system over the past 12 years. And Team Trump is doing everything it can to make things substantially worse. So stop with the apologia, please.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 03/11/2020 - 11:55 am.

        Ok, we can agree, Repubs generally would rather let people who can’t afford health care die than extend a hand to those Jesus might have stood up for….

        Now tell me why a Health Care CEO under the ACA deserves $60million+/yr in compensation? Or why investments in corporate Health Care are more important than the health and welfare of people generally?

        • Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 03/11/2020 - 06:02 pm.

          The most successful health insurance plans in the world are government set up and tax payer funded. In other words: non-profit. Big important piece of the puzzle.
          But REPs are massive Capitalists and love profit$ and abhor taxes (at least for themselves). They are also big on ‘every man for himself’, as opposed to reaching out and helping others. Or so they claim but let’s also remember that red states have smaller economies and so pay fewer taxes yet help themselves to more federal govn funding than blue states. All while blasting the fed govn…. The irony is rich.
          Last, the DEMs managed the trifecta: Social Security, Medicare and the ACA. All hugely popular and sought after and loved by Americans. If the REPs can blow one–or all!–up they figure they can also blow up the DEMs popularity. Yeah, their thinking is not refined but then their approaches have long been bloody and violent and unsavory and selfish. They want total control at any price. Problem is, they’ve proven over and over again that even when they temporarily have it they don’t have a clue what to do with it. Perfect example: in my lifetime DEM presidents have left the country with a surplus while REP presidents have dramatically raised the country’s debt and more. It is past time for voters to move beyond always voting for a specific party blindly and to now take a careful look at who protects and saves ‘the people’…and who grabs it all for themselves.

          • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 03/12/2020 - 01:22 pm.

            The three programs you lavish don’t pay for themselves. All three will spectacularly fail unless there’s a large new source of revenue in the form of tax increases or a dramatic cutback in benefits that were promised to recipients by presidents of both parties. Nobody has done the right thing and put the programs on the right track. Promising more and more and more benefits to Americans and getting them hooked on them is dishonest at the very least.

            • Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 03/12/2020 - 05:46 pm.

              Let’s be crystal clear: the DEMs work to protect the funding for all 3 (all are funded differently) but the REPs time and time again try to cut finding…or borrow from the Social Security trust (not supposed to be allowed) and so on. They don’t want any of them to be successful because that just makes Americans love these programs more. So they sabotage them incessantly. Further proof that they care not at all about ‘the people’–who they are supposed to represent!–but only their own wealth and prosperity and power. So you tell me: why does anyone in any part of the country continue to vote for these selfish charlatans and cons? In what way(s) are they improving life for average Americans?

        • Submitted by BK Anderson on 03/12/2020 - 07:48 am.

          They don’t, but that’s far outside the purview of the ACA and not reasonable to expect of it. NO CEO should make the appalling “salaries” they make today, across ALL industries. It’s a general abuse of late capitalism, not some special abuse of the failed health insurance regime.

          As for your second point, you are an informed guy and well aware of the societal trade-offs that make dissolution of the American health insurance industry almost impossible. Jobs Jobs Jobs etc., among a dozen others.

  6. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/11/2020 - 10:06 am.

    There’s a difference between a big brain and a fat head.

    • Submitted by Misty Martin on 03/11/2020 - 12:16 pm.


      You are SO right! Worlds apart, huh? I remember the first time I heard President Trump speak of this, and I nearly fell out of my chair laughing, especially with Seth Myers take on it, with President Trump quoting that as being reported by a “Mr. Pillsbury” and you can guess where that line went.

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