Supremely selfish

29. He cares only for himself, and he doesn’t care who knows it

Dismay has become a constant to which many of us have grown accustomed over the last four years. Even though we long ago learned to expect the worst from him, the shameless behavior of the president is capable of causing consternation on any day of the week. Yesterday he outdid himself.

When sick with a horribly contagious disease, normal people—meaning people who behave within a rather wide set of marginally reasonable parameters—take sensible steps to avoid infecting others. They might screw up inadvertently during a moment of forgetfulness or they might do something impulsive and negligent without really thinking it through, but they don’t deliberately put others at risk unless it was absolutely unavoidable. This is true even among borderline antisocial people who may not be motivated by altruism but are at least constrained by the knowledge that they may be publicly rebuked.

Yesterday, less than 48 hours of arriving at Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment of Covid-19 infection, DT staged a publicity stunt. He left the hospital, got into an SUV, and was driven across the facility’s campus in order to wave at supporters who had gathered outside the gates. In doing this, he risked more than his own health (the state of which is in question, following conflicting reports from various supposedly reliable sources). He also risked infecting anyone who moved across his wake over the minutes (possibly hours) that followed his excursion. This may have been a small risk, but it was not negligible. More critically, he risked infecting the Secret Service agents who accompanied him in the enclosed vehicle. Even with masks, that was anything but a small risk.

Let’s be clear. Agents of the Secret Service’s presidential detail are the ones who necessarily risk their lives for DT every second they’re at work. They are the ones who are trained—and willing—to take a bullet for him, as they would for any president. In return, one might think they might reasonably expect not to be put in harm’s way unnecessarily, yet that is precisely what he did to them. There was a photo op of him waving to a meager crowd of fanboys. How in any known universe is that worth imperiling the lives of anyone, least of all the people who are sworn to protect you?

We’ve seen ample evidence of this president’s selfishness throughout his term in office. The jury is out on how he really feels about his wife and offspring, but he has shown zero evidence of giving a damn about anyone outside his inner circle; even his reputed friends only receive his favor when they have done something for him or are likely to do so in the near future. From the fact that he’s continued to hold rallies during the pandemic, we know that he doesn’t care about his supporters. From the fact that he’s been fanning the flames of hatred and intolerance, we know that he doesn’t care about minorities or Americans in general. But even the people who put their lives on the line for him are treated as expendable by this egomaniacal monster. Please, let’s vote him out of office before he endangers anyone else.

Enablers

DT couldn’t have gotten where he is without an inordinate amount of help from others. From his father’s money to his creditors’ forbearance to his subordinates’ apparent masochism, he uses people to get what he wants. By and large, these people have allowed themselves to be used. It didn’t have to be that way, nor does it now. The president is not a dictator, and no president has ever gotten his way all the time. One wonders what would have happened if the Secret Service had declined to drive him around yesterday or if his medical team had forbade him to leave his rooms. It is possible that he would have sought out ways to punish them, but he could hardly have terminated their employment on the spot, and any eventual retaliation surely would lead to the kind of publicity that even he would just as soon avoid. Most likely he just would have grown angry and waved his little hands and stamped his little feet in agitation, then taken it out on someone else with a tweet or two. Big deal. Until this person’s term ends, why don’t they stop enabling him?