President Trump is being helicoptered to Walter Reed Hospital following his coronavirus diagnosis. The media are following the story closely and most journalists are trying very hard to be professional.
Still, the media can’t help indulging its great monomania of the past four years: finding a way to magic Trump out of politics forever.
In its morning coverage of the President’s illness, the New York Times immediately raced to what it saw as a perfectly reasonable suggestion: Trump must go off the ballot!
‘Mr Trump’s positive test result posed immediate challenges for the future of his campaign against former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr, the Democratic nominee, with barely a month until Election Day. Even if Mr Trump, 74, remains asymptomatic, he will lose much of his remaining time on the campaign trail. If he becomes sick, it could raise questions about whether he should remain on the ballot at all.’
Excuse us, but what? Trump needs to go off the ballot simply for being ill? What if he gets better? That isn’t authentic analysis. It’s the Times being overtaken by a bout of wish-fulfillment: finally, the wicked Orange One can be removed from the ballot.
The fantasy spread quickly. Soon, wild millenarian visions percolated of worlds where Trump’s presidency would end immediately, thanks to the timely exercise of the 25th Amendment.
25th Amendment? https://t.co/4aDeSEKQKK
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) October 2, 2020
“If the president’s case were to worsen to the point of incapacitation, it would be possible for the vice president and a majority of sitting Cabinet secretaries to invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment — making Mike Pence the acting president.”https://t.co/fwPNwzCcv3
— Democratic Coalition (@TheDemCoalition) October 2, 2020
Some in the foreign policy set implied that the world is simply so dangerous that the President must be shoved aside…strictly on national security grounds, of course:
With the President’s illness amid a divisive campaign, we should not discount the possibility that China will step up pressure on Taiwan or Russia seek to take advantage in Eastern Europe. Important the U.S. signal to both that we are watching and remain fully capable.
— Nicholas Burns (@RNicholasBurns) October 2, 2020
— CNN (@CNN) October 2, 2020
When the US president and his administration are focused on his health and the health of his team, US adversaries may calculate they are not focused on Taiwan, election interference, cyber attacks, Ukraine, to name a few. The implications for US National Security are real.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) October 2, 2020
The reaction to the President’s diagnosis showed that there are actually two diseases dominating American politics: COVID, and his enemies’ case of Trump addiction. Progressives have become junkies and the President is heroin (it helps that Big Orange sounds like it could be a street drug). Their high is emotionally-laden fantasies of the President’s spectacular downfall. Trump’s positive virus test is just their latest hit.
At first, it may seem surprising that more reactions to the President’s illness are not just wishes, explicit or implicit, for his death. But in fact, this is not surprising at all. Imagine if Osama bin Laden had simply keeled over from kidney failure in 2010 rather than being slain in a spectacular nighttime raid. There would have been no celebrating in the streets; Americans would rather have felt like they had failed.
Everybody dies. President Trump dying a prosaic death from coronavirus while still holding power would actually distress the pundit class. They yearn for something greater: the forcible, premature eviction of Donald Trump from power. This desire to humiliate Trump and leave him utterly destroyed has been the one unifying theme of the left’s political actions for the last four years. It’s why the public endured the Russia hysteria, the Ukraine impeachment absurdity, endless articles proposing the President’s impeachment over his taxes or the emoluments clause or his sheer all-around badness. It’s why there are so many repetitive articles speculating that Trump will refuse to leave office, and have to be dragged out screaming by the Secret Service or the Marine Corps. These articles are written, not because the authors fear this will happen, but because they badly want it to.
The bearers of blue checks are so invested in hating Trump that merely defeating him in November doesn’t provide enough emotional satisfaction. He must be given a more cinematic end, a chance to screech and sputter as his empire crumbles to dust. If the President actually dies of coronavirus, that cinematic end will never come. He’ll never be carted out of the Oval Office by the military. He’ll never be charged with a crime, and never lose an election. He’ll never even fume impotently after having his Twitter account banned. He’ll just be a peer of Warren G. Harding and Franklin D. Roosevelt, a president whose term carries the asterisk ‘died in office’. After four years of the President’s infuriating political survival, such an end would barely be better than losing the election entirely.
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