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Our Time

One of my all-time favorite books is Our Gang, by the late, great Philip Roth. It was a deliciously devastating

Philip Roth

That and another book popped into my head when I climbed out of bed this morning. The other one, which I intend to read some day, was Love in the Time of Cholera, by Nobel Prize winner  Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Both books entered my head as a result of a newspaper column on the coronavirus I read the night before: A Trump Fireside Chat, by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, carried in the Palm Beach Post.

President Richard Nixon

Vice President Spiro Agnew

The two books and the column gave me an idea for a book. It would be titled, Laugh in the Time of Corona, and would consist of the endless foibles of our undear leader (I use the term leader advisedly), Donald Trump. Yes, the devastation this abysmal governing – or rather, lack thereof – has wreaked on our country is not funny. But sober-minded folks are helpless to do anything about it, so we might as well laugh.

William Safire

Here is the Milbank column. Unlike Roth’s satire, it does not put words in the president’s mouth. Rather, it is a stringing together of remarks, word for word, that he actually has made leading up to and during the coronavirus pandemic. My favorite: I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be.

The effect is dark humor – both tragic and hilarious.


Dana Milbank

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats reassured and inspired the nation through Depression and war. In these dark times, Americans crave the comfort of competent leadership. I have therefore taken the liberty of drafting for President Donald Trump a fireside chat for our times — using entirely his own words.

The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We have it totally under control.

I’m not concerned at all.

It’s one person coming in from China. We pretty much shut it down. It’s something that we have tremendous control over.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt

President Trump

Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. Just stay calm.

It will go away. The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus.

This is their new hoax.

This is a flu. I didn’t know people died from the flu. Here, we’re talking about a much smaller range. It is very mild.

Some people will have this at a very light level.

Some of them go to work. The mortality rate is much, much better.

In my opinion it’s way, way down. I think it’s substantially below 1%.

A fraction of 1%. I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along.

This is just my hunch.

We have very little problem in this country. We only have five people. We only have 11 cases. Out of billions of people, 15 people.

They’re getting better, and soon they’re all going to be better, hopefully.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

We’re going very substantially down, not up.

The United States, because of what I did and what the administration did with China, we have 32 deaths at this point. To this point, and because we have had a very strong border policy, we have had 40 deaths. As of this moment, we have 50 deaths. I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be.

Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth.

The tests are all perfect.

Anybody that wants a test can get a test. The tests are beautiful. We have a tremendous testing setup. I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. We are very close to a vaccine.

A matter of months.

I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter. No way I’m going to cancel the convention.

Stock Market starting to look very good to me!

We’re the ones that gave the great response.

I’d rate it a 10.

I like this stuff. I really get it. Maybe I have a natural ability. We think it’s going to have a very good ending. We’re going to win faster than people think. I hope.

This blindsided the world! Who could have ever predicted a thing like this? This was something that nobody has ever thought could happen to this country.

I’ve always known this is a real, this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously.

If you’re talking about the virus, no, that’s not under control for anyplace in the world. I was talking about what we’re doing is under control, but I’m not talking about the virus. I didn’t say Easter.

So you’re talking about 2.2 million deaths. If we could hold that down … between 100,000 and 200,000, and we all together have done a very good job.

It was nobody’s fault.

No, just things that happened. I don’t take responsibility at all.

Getting back to Our Gang, a reviewer wrote in 2012 on Amazon: “Nixon had deep character flaws and was very insecure, but he’s a moderate compared to the current batch of right-wingers who have apparent control of today’s Republican party.”

One can only imagine what that reviewer would say of Trump and today’s Republican Party.

#Watergate #LoveintheTimeofCholera #RichardNixon #WilliamSafire #GabrielGarciaMarquez #PalmBeachPost #FranklinDRoosevelt #SpiroAgnew #Easter #natteringnabobsofnegativism #OurGang #PhilipRoth #DanaMilbank

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