Such frivolity may seem tacky in the midst of a rapidly escalating pandemic, and reckless as no social distancing will be required at the event. But the holiday celebrating independence from Britain is being used to reinforce Trump’s false narrative that the country is okay.
“We are coming back in a very strong way … and I think we are going to be very good with the coronavirus,” Trump told Fox Business on Wednesday, a day after his government’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci. . He had warned that the United States could soon see 100,000 new cases per day.
Mount Rushmore state, South Dakota, has not been as affected by the virus as the rest of the heart of the country. But it only takes one infected person in what is expected to be a large crowd to plant new shoots.
The President loves a great show and great crowds. On Saturday, it will host its second “Salute to America” festival in Washington, to be completed with another massive fireworks display. Last year, his demand for flypasts and military hardware modeled at the Bastille Day parade in France doubled the cost of the event to $ 13 million. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked citizens to stay home and watch the show on television, but the temptation will be great for many. The city’s metro system is already being prepared for crowded trains.
It is another public health nightmare. But Trump is desperate to put himself at the center of a celebration, four months before Election Day. And it will take more than the worst pandemic in a century to stand in its way.
“I can’t wait to compare my cognitive ability with the cognitive ability of the man I’m dealing with”
Now the two men running for president of the United States question the other’s ingenuity. After months of the Trump campaign that described former Vice President Joe Biden as “sleepy” and inconsistent, a Fox News reporter this week asked Biden if he had been evaluated for cognitive decline. “All you have to do is look at me,” Biden replied, “and I can’t wait to compare my cognitive ability with the cognitive ability of the man I’m dealing with.”
BoJo and FDR
Trump is not the only world leader to enjoy reflected presidential greatness. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who emulated his hero Winston Churchill upon arrival at 10 Downing Street, is now invoking the other half of the dynamic democratic duo of World War II: United States President Franklin Roosevelt .
With Britain in danger of posting its worst unemployment figures, Johnson promises a grand government investment program inspired by the FDR New Deal, which put the United States back to work in the 1930s and fueled the welfare state. It’s an intriguing comparison, especially due to Johnson’s audacity in comparing himself to the wheelchair-bound Democratic Party giant who defeated the Great Depression and crushed Nazism.
To begin with, Johnson’s proposed plan, worth £ 5 billion, or $ 6.24 billion, is small compared to Roosevelt’s vast public works programs. But remain bold: Johnson’s Conservative Party remains in the shadow of Margaret Thatcher, whose rampant capitalism was the antithesis of the FDR government’s spending sprees. And Johnson has not yet revealed whether he will raise taxes to pay for his infrastructure investments, as FDR did. His flirtation with Roosevelt is also a clue that, despite his populist style, flamboyant rhetoric, and fervent support for Brexit, Johnson is actually a more conventional and moderate politician than Trump, with whom he is often compared.
Calling for a “Rooseveltian approach” in the UK, Johnson may be thinking less of ideology than of the light-hearted and cheery personality of FDR, who put steel to the soul of his compatriots during his 12 years in power. That optimism, embodied in the 32nd President’s campaign song, “Happy Days Are Here Again,” may be just what the world needs right now.