The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: trump illness

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Trump’s Reckless Conduct Endangers White House Workers

Despite the late nights and long hours that took my father away more than this daddy's girl would have liked, he never stopped being my hero. I knew that when he finished his day job, changed clothes and headed to his extra shifts tending bar or waiting tables for local caterers, he was doing it for a reason. Lots of them, actually —my mom, two sisters, two brothers and me.

For someone as proud as he was, it was a sacrifice because of what he had to put up with from people with a lot more money and a lot less character. They treated him like he was "invisible," or worse, and he put up with it, for us.

Read Now Show less

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

LISTEN: The Strangest Moments Of Trump’s ‘Virtual Rally’ With Rush Limbaugh

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

President Donald Trump conducted a two-hour phone interview on Friday with talk radio host and Trump-conferred Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh. Promoted beforehand by Limbaugh as the "largest virtual rally in radio history" — and coming right after Trump publicly refused to hold next week's presidential debate remotely, despite his recent COVID-19 diagnosis — the appearance instead became a lengthy conversation between the two men, attempting to cast the president as America's great leader in these tumultuous times.

The interview began in a quite surreal fashion, with Limbaugh's production team playing a recording of God Bless the U.S.A., a country song often performed at Republican rallies, followed by the canned sound of imaginary cheering crowds. And then Limbaugh greeted the president, asking his guest to envision the sight of a great campaign rally.

Read Now Show less

Aborted Stem Cells Produced Trump's 'Miracle Cure' For Covid-19

When Donald Trump went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment for the coronavirus, he benefited from a treatment that's not yet available to the public.

The antibody treatment from Regeneron, which Trump is now claiming "cured" him without evidence, has yet to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration. It's also derived from stem cell research.

That might be unremarkable but for the fact that Trump's administration has done everything it can to block research that relies on stem cells and fetal tissue. Trump's anti-abortion evangelical base is deeply opposed to research that relies on either of these because they have a tenuous connection to abortion.

Regeneron's embryonic stem cell line was cultured from fetal tissue from an abortion. Fetal tissue research uses material that would otherwise be discarded and is obtained with the consent of people who have abortions.

Just last month, a group of 94 anti-abortion legislators thanked Trump for "his efforts to support pro-life policies" and requested that he "end taxpayer funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)." The group's press release said there was no proof of a "single patient's life being saved through embryonic stem cell treatments."

Similarly, James Sherley, who works for the anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute, said any fetal tissue research is unethical if it "even in a small part contribut[es] to motivating elective abortions."

In 2018, a workshop at the National Institutes of Health concluded that fetal tissue research was the "gold standard" for many critical studies. In response, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, said federal officials who promised fetal tissue research would continue were "out of step with the President's pro-life agenda" and that fetal tissue research "involve[d] harvesting the body parts of unborn children from induced abortion."

Dannenfelser and other anti-abortion activists prevailed. The administration created a Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board composed mostly of people who have publicly opposed fetal tissue and embryonic stem cell research. The board voted to reject 13 of 14 applications.

This extremely restrictive view is shared by Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. She's on record calling for doctors to be prosecuted for discarding unused or frozen embryos.

At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, an NIH researcher appealed to top officials to use fetal tissue to research potential coronavirus treatments. There's no record that he was ever allowed to do so. The researcher worked at the same laboratory, the Rocky Mountain Lab, where in 2018 the Trump administration put a halt to HIV research that would have used fetal tissue. The ban on fetal tissue research also hamstrings vital Alzheimer's and cancer research.

Even as he promises that hundreds of thousands of doses of Regeneron will be available, Trump has continued to rail against abortion, tweeting that Democrats are "fully in favor of (very) LATE TERM ABORTION, right up until the time of birth, and beyond—which would be execution." Last month, he went after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, saying that Northam, a Democrat, "is in favor of executing babies after birth."

Democrats do not favor abortion up until the moment of birth, nor do they favor executing babies.

It seems Trump is comfortable discarding his high-profile antipathy toward stem cell and fetal tissue research when it benefits him.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Trump Turned His Viral Infection Into Authoritarian Farce

Only Boss Trump could turn even the Covid-19 plague into a farce. His triumphal return to the White House from Walter Reed hospital—nicely timed for the evening TV news cycle—was like a stunt his pal Kim Jong Un would pull in Pyongyang: pure strongman street theater.

The big man stood glassy-eyed but indomitable on a balcony: corset, shoulder pads, elevator shoes and a half-pound of orange stage makeup accentuating his extreme virility. All the scene lacked was a laugh track, although in the kinds of dictatorships Trump most admires, it is forbidden to smile.

Big, strong me, puny little you. That was the message.

It was four years almost to the day since Trump mimicked Hillary Clinton stumbling at a campaign appearance after being diagnosed with pneumonia. "She's supposed to fight all these different things, and she can't make it 15 feet to her car," he sneered.

So after they carried him to the hospital in a helicopter, the White House sent out a photo of Trump supposedly hard at work. "Nothing can stop him from working for the American people," daughter Ivanka tweeted. "RELENTLESS!" Alas, a close-up showed Trump relentlessly signing a blank sheet of paper.

They do these things better in North Korea.

Back when I raised cattle, it was axiomatic: never let a sick cow die without trying dexamethasone, the powerful steroid that persuaded Trump he was ten feet tall and bulletproof. I've seen it bring animals too weak to stand back to their feet, although not for long unless the underlying infection had been suppressed. It's a stimulant, not a cure.

In humans, dexamethasone also has psychiatric side effects. (In cows, you can't tell. Possibly Layla the abandoned twin calf imagined herself tyrant queen of the herd before disease carried her away. It's impossible to know.) The commonest problems in human subjects are irritability, aggression, and what the drug label calls "psychotic manifestations."

And wouldn't that be wonderful?

That's just one of the reasons nobody but Trump would have been released from the hospital before his treatment regimen was finished. If he weren't going to a fully-equipped White House medical clinic, that phalanx of white-jacketed physicians who staged press conferences outside Walter Reed would have been flirting with malpractice to do so.

An NPR reporter noticed that all of Dr. Sean Conley's written press releases were preceded by a disclaimer saying in effect, "Donald J. Trump has approved this message."

People saw right through it too. A CNN poll found that "69% of Americans said they trusted little of what they heard from the White House about the President's health, with only 12% saying they trusted almost all of it."

Besides, he wasn't really going "home," merely to a smaller hospital where he can be monitored and treated.

What's more, Trump's euphoria was not only chemically-induced, it's also unlikely to last. Repeated doses of dexamethasone can be quite dangerous. It's administered only in serious circumstances, signifying to physicians who don't work for the White House that he was a whole lot sicker when he went to Walter Reed than anybody wanted to let on.

Then where was the hydroxychloroquine, inquiring minds want to know?

So yes, there's every chance that even Boss Trump, the political superhero with "the body that men fear and women adore" in the words of Fifties professional wrestling champ Dr. Jerry Graham, who was bashing rivals with balsa wood chairs at Sunnyside Gardens in Queens, N.Y., back when Trump was an impressionable lad, will get sicker before he gets better.

(Graham also carried a formidable swag belly, and pretty much invented the elaborate blonde pompadour wrestling villains featured back then. Trump basically stole his whole act.)

But I digress. The point is that anybody tempted to heed Boss Trump's advice—"Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life"—would be well-advised to wait a few weeks before venturing maskless to one of his campaign rallies. We don't know, in Dr. Conley's words, that he's out of the woods yet. But we do know that he's actively contagious.

We also know that Trump cares not at all which Secret Service agents and White House flunkies get infected. Not to mention those anonymous hordes in their MAGA hats and Trump t-shirts.

Meanwhile, Trump acolyte Rudy Giuliani, himself memorably described by Jimmy Breslin as "a small man in search of a balcony" went on Fox News to mock Joe Biden for wearing a face mask. Not manly, he said between bouts of heavy coughing. Fox News blonde Martha MacCallum said she hoped he tested negative.

So have I no humane feelings for Boss Trump, his attendant courtiers and poltroons? I'd answer that I have exactly same degree of empathy and concern he'd have for me and my loved ones.

I leave it to readers to decide what that might be.

What Veep Debate Moderator Should Have Asked Pence About Trump’s Covid-19 Test

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

During Wednesday night's vice presidential debate, Susan Page, USA Today's Washington bureau chief, passed on the opportunity to get Vice President Mike Pence on the record about when President Donald Trump last tested negative for COVID-19.

Trump announced after midnight Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, and he was hospitalized for the weekend for treatment. His diagnosis was one of nearly three dozen announced over the last week among White House officials, Republican leaders, and the press corps after White House events conducted without following public health coronavirus recommendations apparently triggered an outbreak.

Read Now Show less