The tanned man has a green monster
By Charles M. Blow
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist and a leading voice in our battle against COVID-19, has gotten under Donald Trump’s skin.
He won’t lie to make Trump look better or cover for the lies Trump tells. He won’t paint a rosy portrait of our prospects during the pandemic or offer excuses for the Trump administration’s failed response and all the thousands of lives needlessly lost.
Fauci insists on following the science and telling the truth about it, and that means that the American people trust and respect him for it.
But, this — being more popular and well-regarded than Trump — is heresy in this White House. There is but one king in that palace and all his dogs wear his collars. In that conception, Fauci is off the leash.
Trump is a man ruled by jealousies and insecurities. In his mind he is the greater, the best, the supreme, even when he obviously is not. All of which presents him with an ever recurring quandary: How precisely is it that a lying, lecherous, anti-intellectual grifter doesn’t enjoy the same high standing as the honorable and the honest, the well-read and well-behaved?
Tuesday, Trump bemoaned aloud the fact that Fauci enjoys a higher public approval rating than his own, even though as Trump put it: “He’s working for this administration. He’s working with us, John. We could have gotten other people. We could have gotten somebody else. It didn’t have to be Dr. Fauci.”
So, if Trump isn’t high enough to stand shoulder to shoulder, he’ll do his best to cut you off at the knees.
The Trump administration has tried to undermine Fauci and has even attacked him. Trump himself has openly undercut Fauci and questioned his judgment.
Trump’s jealousies are so petty that when Fauci threw out the first pitch at Major League Baseball’s opening day at Nationals Park, Trump lied and said that he had been invited to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 15. As this newspaper reported:
“There was one problem: Mr. Trump had not actually been invited on that day by the Yankees, according to one person with knowledge of Mr. Trump’s schedule. His announcement surprised both Yankees officials and the White House staff.”
Fauci is now in danger of being lumped into Trump’s envelope of envy, the same place in which Trump has placed Barack Obama, a space in which you must endure Trump’s endless attacks because you are something that he could never be: an accomplished person who is also decent.
Obama attended Occidental College, Columbia and Harvard. Trump in one breath cast doubt that Obama actually attended those schools, saying, “The people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don’t know who he is,” and also suggesting that Obama wasn’t smart enough to go to those schools, saying: “I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?”
Apparently Mary Trump, the president’s niece, may know the answer to a similar question. Trump has touted his attendance of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School as “super genius stuff,” but not only did the admission officer who interviewed Trump tell The Washington Post: “I certainly was not struck by any sense that I’m sitting before a genius. Certainly not a super genius.” But also, Mary Trump writes in her recently published book:
“Donald worried that his grade-point average, which put him far from the top of his class, would scuttle his efforts to get accepted. To hedge his bets he enlisted Joe Shapiro, a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker, to take his SATs for him.”
There is no way to independently verify the claim, but it would most certainly jibe with Trump’s lifelong record of fraudulence and fakery.
By the way, in 2017 The Daily Pennsylvanian published an article titled “Many of Trump’s Wharton classmates don’t remember him,” that included this passage:
“Out of the 269 people The Daily Pennsylvanian contacted while researching this story, 74 of Trump’s classmates responded. Sixty-eight of those alumni said they had never encountered Trump at Penn. Four shared classes with him and two declined to comment.”
As is usual from the king of projection: That for which he condemns another is often an indictment of self.
Trump, who falsely claimed to have written his book “The Art of the Deal,” (it was actually ghostwritten by Tony Schwartz), has accused Obama of having his book “Dreams of My Father” ghostwritten by Obama’s friend Bill Ayers, a white man. As Trump put it:
“Bill Ayers was a super-genius. And a lot of people have said he wrote the book. Well recently, as you know last week, Bill Ayers came out and said he did write the book. Barack Obama wouldn’t be president — and, you know, I wrote many bestsellers, and also, No. 1 bestsellers, including ‘The Art of the Deal.’ So I know something about writing. And I want to tell you, the guy that wrote the first book didn’t write the second book.”
Obama received a Nobel Peace Prize; Trump desperately wanted the same recognition and claims that the only reason he hasn’t gotten it is that the awarding system is rigged against him.
Trump’s jealousy of Obama is now legendary. Trump’s entire presidency is a stand against Obama’s legacy, to knock it down, to erase it.
And when the history is written about America’s response to the pandemic, the story will have two leading men, Fauci and Trump, one in the right and one in the wrong, one working to save lives and one needlessly costing them.
Fauci will be the hero and Trump the villain. This is a Trump nightmare, a logical impossibility. He simply can’t see it this way because as writer Christopher Vogler once wrote, “a villain is the hero of his own myth.”