The dumbness of yesterday's comments: Late yesterday afternoon, at 5:38 PM Eastern, the American president returned to the briefing wars.
About three minutes in, he said what's shown below. He'd already delivered his memorized monologue above having so many ventilators, way more than the governors need:
TRUMP (4/27/20): We've launched the most ambitious testing effort, likewise, on earth. The United States has now conducted more than 5.4 million tests, nearly double the number tested in any other country, more than twice as much as any other country. Think of that!"Think of that," the dumbest known human said.
Have we really done twice as many tests as anyone else? We're not sure, but it's possible! Part of the reason would of course be this:
Total population, various countriesQuite a few countries seem to have done more testing than we have done on a per capita basis. But we have the third largest population in the world, trailing only China (no reliable data) and India (very poor).
United States: 328.2 million
Italy: 60.4 million
Australia: 25.7 million
Lithuania: 2.8 million
These prime time gong shows will continue to crawl with silly, stupid remarks. Our newspapers do not maintain "dedicated pages" which record, on a daily basis, all the blatantly stupid things the nation's commander says and says and says and says over and over again.
In fairness, sheer stupidity has been the lingua franca of our upper-end press corps itself for a very long time. They say and do so many dumb things that they may not notice, let alone be disturbed, when others sample the culture.
That said, how stupid did yesterday's comments get during Q-and-A? After a CEO Serenade, one presentation by Trump went like this:
REPORTER: Mr. President, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that we need to increase testing by—double it at least, and so does the Rockefeller Foundation. When are we going to be doubling testing?Let's translate! First, Trump told the vice president what he should say. Then, he told him to say it!
TRUMP: Well, that—it doesn’t really matter what they say there. And we just left him; we just had a meeting, but—because we’re going to have much more than double it very soon.
Now, there are big believers in testing, and then there are some governors that don’t feel as strongly about it at all. You understand that. They feel much differently about it.
But we’re going with maximum testing, because it’s something we’re very capable of doing. But we’ll be much more than doubled.
You know, Mike, I’d like you to answer that. We’re going to be much higher than doubled on testing very shortly.
Thus prompted, Pence delivered one of his excruciating soliloquies. Later, though, this occurred:
KARL: This sounds incredibly promising. Walgreens, CVS for the drive-through tests, the diagnostic agencies. But we sat here in the Rose Garden back on March 13. These companies were here, some other companies were here. By my count, only 69 drive-through test sites have been set up by the companies that were here. I'm wondering if—Thus triggered, Pence orated from there. When he was done, Karl followed up:
Of course, Mr. Vice President, back in early March you said we'd be at four million tests by the following week. We've just now got there in the last few days. What have you learned about what went wrong a month-and-a-half or over the last month-and-a-half or two months, and what's going to go right now? What lessons have you learned from the mistakes over the last month-and-a-half or so?
PENCE: Jon, I appreciate the question, but it represents a misunderstanding on your part and frankly, a lot of people in the public's part, about the difference between having a test versus the ability to actually process the test...
KARL: So when you said 4 million tests, seven weeks ago, you were just talking about tests being sent out, not actually being completed? I’m a little confused.He hadn't meant that four million tests would (or could) be conducted. He just meant they'd be sent out!
PENCE: Jon, I think—precisely correct...
The spectacular dumbness of these sessions defines a failed national culture. In closing, we'll offer an obvious thought about one other Q-and-A:
REPORTER: The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee came out with the fourth installment of its report. It concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections and there was not political bias. Do you accept its conclusions?If Trump holds another gong-show today, will someone ask that question again? Citizen, please! What are the odds?
TRUMP: Oh, I don’t know. I haven’t seen the report. I haven’t seen the report.
[To different reporter] Yeah, please. Go ahead.
The ludicrous claims are made day after day. This conduct has been normalized.
Big news orgs don't seem to notice or care. Mike, please! Think about that!