I can understand the argument that we don’t have to be afraid of COVID-19, that it shouldn’t run our lives, and that in the past six months, the nation’s scientists have invented an armamentarium of medications that can cure anyone who gets infected. I’m not sure any of that is right—but I can understand it as an argument. What I can’t understand is the idea that returning from the hospital after dispatching this non-alarming and very mild flu is worthy of a movie suggesting that the patient must have had the courage of Achilles to face it down. Have you seen the video of President Donald Trump’s triumphant trip back from Walter Reed? You would think the man was returning from liberating Europe, not getting a steroid shot in Bethesda. I should make a movie about the time I went to urgent care for a UTI.
He could have stayed longer in the hospital. But our president could not tarry. Making America great again, again, again requires a man of action. On September 24, he endured nearly two minutes of getting booed while he paid his respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg (he even wore the stupid mask to make the crowd happy, but there’s no pleasing these people), and two days later, he extended his tribute by ignoring her dying wish. After a lifetime of public service that had ended with her hearing oral arguments from her hospital bed, the justice had asked only one thing of her country: wait. Wait to fill her seat until “a new president is installed.” She had tried so hard to make it to the inauguration, but she couldn’t. It didn’t seem a big ask; if Republicans could deny Merrick Garland a confirmation hearing for 11 months, then surely—surely—they would be willing to wait until January before beginning a confirmation process. But this is not a do-nothing president, a sucker president. This is not Jimmy Carter issuing a press release about his hemorrhoids, or George H. W. Bush barfing in Japan. This is a president who knows how to close a deal, and fast. Ginsburg’s body had not even been interred at Arlington National Cemetery before he announced that he would nominate Amy Coney Barrett to replace her, which is exactly the kind of thing that drove Hamlet around the bend. (Horatio: “I came to see your father’s funeral.” Hamlet: “Don’t mock me.”)