Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
July 25, 2020
This week, as the coronavirus raged out of control, passing 4 million U.S. cases and 145,000 deaths, Trump resurrected his daily coronavirus briefings — by himself, with no health officials. He also sought to divert attention to Portland, Oregon, where alarming images of unmarked federal law enforcement were seen shoving and tear-gassing growing crowds of Black Lives Matter protestors. Reporting indicated Trump has purposefully picked Portland to create imagery and video content of a culture war, which he continues to flame.
July 18, 2020
This week, as the coronavirus raged out of control in many states, Trump sought to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, with several members of the regime publicly attacking Fauci’s credibility. Reporting indicated Trump had lost interest in the pandemic, with an adviser telling the Post, Trump’s “not really working this anymore. He doesn’t want to be distracted by it” — as the country hit a daily record 77,000 new cases.
July 11, 2020
This week, the pandemic continued to worsen, with many states seeing new highs and the death toll starting to rise. By week’s end, the U.S. registered an unthinkable nearly 70,000 new daily coronavirus cases. Amid the surge, issues that plagued the April wave of cases in New York and elsewhere, like shortages of PPE and testing, reappeared, making it clear the federal government had done nothing to address or plan for a new surge. Trump continued to deny the severity of the virus, falsely claiming “99 percent of [cases] are totally harmless,” and then pushing for schools to reopen.
July 04, 2020
This week the coronavirus spread further out of control, topping 50,000 daily cases for three consecutive days — more than 10,000 higher than the early peak in April. Trump continued to largely ignore the pandemic, refuse to wear a mask, and make the most trusted source of information, Dr. Anthony Fauci, less accessible, leading to confusion in the patchwork of state responses.
June 27, 2020
This week started with a humiliating return to the campaign trail for Trump, as a mere 6,200 supporters showed up for his rally in Tulsa, after the campaign bragged more than one million had registered. Trump’s poll numbers continue to sag amid his mishandling of the pandemic and racial justice protests. Instead of rising to the challenge, Trump reverted to drumming up racism and division — resulting in even the conservative Wall Street Journal Editorial Board warning he was in danger of not only losing to Democrat Joe Biden, but also taking the Republican Senate down with him.
This week the coronavirus pandemic got out of control in several states that reopened without proper precautions. Trump ignored the record number of daily cases, repeatedly lying that the increase was due to an increase in testing.
June 20, 2020
This week grave polling results revealed a downtrodden country feeling the impact of concurrent and intersecting crises, as national pride fell to its lowest level in two decades, while just 20% were satisfied with the direction of the country. Trump received poor marks for his handling of the coronavirus and for dividing the country amid social unrest.
June 13, 2020
This week Trump seemed to fade into the background, unsure of how to respond to a triple set of crises that gripped the nation: continuing social unrest, a second wave of coronavirus, and the stock market plunging with the economy officially entering a recession.
Trump spent most of the week locked up in the White House, behind the layers of fencing he had constructed, which protestors in turn decorated with signs reading “Black Lives Matter,” “Fuck Trump,” “I Can’t Breathe,” and other such posters. Trump finally emerged on Thursday, heading to Dallas, but still without addressing the killing of George Floyd whose funeral was in Houston days earlier, or coming up with any policies or plans despite one of the most rapid shifts in opinion in our country’s history: support for Black Lives Matter and the need for police reform.
June 06, 2020
This week, in a scene reminiscent of a crackdown in an authoritarian regime, U.S. troops stationed in our nation’s capital at Trump’s behest fired tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protestors to disperse them as Trump delivered a “law and order” speech from the White House Rose Garden. The sounds of protestors screaming and shots being fired could be heard in the background as Trump spoke tough talk, and threatened to send the U.S. military to cities to take control. Trump then awkwardly swaggered to St. John’s Church, with a few in his inner circle, and held up a Bible. It was a scene evoking a democracy in collapse —while the country and the world looked on in horror.
May 30, 2020
This was one of the darkest weeks since I started the list. The week began with Trump spinning conspiracy theories to distract from the country reaching the grim milestone of losing 100,000 Americans to the coronavirus, and ended with our country literally burning in the flames of our racial divide, with Trump throwing kerosene on the flames.
May 23, 2020
This week, Trump fully transitioned from leader to salesman, leaving the states to fend for themselves, while he promoted a “transition to greatness.” After a week when two White House employees tested positive for the coronavirus, Trump made the remarkable announcement that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine prophylactically — leading public health experts to sound the alarms to American citizens not to follow Trump’s lead. Days later, the largest study yet on the drug’s efficacy to date found no benefit, but severe cardiac risks for Covid-19 patients.