If President Barack Obama had overseen the deaths of 100,000 Americans during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, do you think many Beltway journalists would have given him high marks for his “tone”? Me neither. Yet that’s what unfolded this week in the wake of White House briefing where Trump warned of 100,000-plus coronavirus deaths in the U.S. — journalists marveled at how serious and “somber” he was. It’s like the Normalizing Olympics.
Or, to mix metaphors, it’s a Moby Dick-like pursuit of a mythical ‘presidential’ Trump. That pointless search began weeks before Trump was even inaugurated, as Beltway observers calmly predicted that the Oval Office would soon change him and he’d grow into a statesman. Instead, Trump has unraveled in public view for more than three years while the press clings to this fantasy that underneath the narcissist and liar and bully is a man who wants to lead.