Trump chief of staff on U.S. COVID numbers: There are some things you can't control

Hey, guys. Never mind that a thousand people are dying every day from COVID-19, long after most other countries have gotten the virus under control. There are some things you just can’t do anything about because … you just can't. Lay off, already.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can

And a president who knows the difference

White House chief of staff and loyal Trump toady Mark Meadows was on ABC This Week with George Stephanopoulos this morning, and it went a little something like this:

MARK MEADOWS: “This is a virus that came from China, something that’s unexpected. Obviously, when you’re in the political world there are those things that you can control, there are those things that you can’t. And as we look at this, it’s trying to make sure that we’ve got our entire team there to provide the relief that so many Americans are looking for and the hope that so many Americans are looking for, and I’m hopeful that in the next couple of days that we’ll have some very good news on the therapeutic and vaccine fronts as we try to address this China virus.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: “We all hope for that. You say there are some things you can’t control, that this came from China, but do you acknowledge that had the president promoted masks earlier, had the country moved toward shutting down the economy at least in parts earlier, we could have done a better job controlling this virus?”

MEADOWS: “Well, we did shut down the economy, George. You mentioned that. We actually took unprecedented steps. Not only did the president shut down travel from China and Europe long before even the medical experts were suggesting he should do so, then we shut down the economy to try to mitigate the damage. As you mention masks, obviously we all want to do whatever we can do to stop this, and wearing masks when there’s not the ability to social distance is one additional thing we can do. But even in those areas, if you take southern Florida, Miami-Dade, Broward County, they’ve had mandatory mask provisions for several weeks and yet they continue to see this virus escalate. So we’re not going to have a solution to this. It’s not masks, it’s not shutting down the economy. Hopefully, it is American ingenuity that will allow for therapies and vaccines to ultimately conquer this, and that’s where the president has made sure that there’s no amount of money that is held back for meeting those needs.”

That’s a lot of bullshit to wade through, but I’ll try.



  1. Yes, it came from China. What the fuck does that have to do with anything now? If I contracted the coronavirus and sneezed in the face of every old person I saw, could I just excuse myself by saying, “Oh, that virus I just gave you? It came from China. So don’t fucking blame me, Clem.”
  2. Trump did not shut down travel long before the medical experts said he should. In fact, according to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, “These were the uniform recommendations of the career public health officials here at HHS.”
  3. Thanks for the clear and consistent messaging on masks. “Oh, you should wear them, but keep in mind that they don't really work that well. Look at Florida!” Yes, let’s. Florida still doesn’t have a mask mandate. Sure, parts of Florida do. But having a mask mandate for “several weeks” doesn’t mean much. There’s a significant lag between contracting the coronavirus and developing COVID-19. And deaths are also a lagging indicator of the severity of the health crisis. Meanwhile, the administration’s unofficial “only nerds wear masks” guidance sure as shit isn’t helping.
  4. Nice to see our coronavirus strategy is back to wishes and fairy dust. We’re going to get therapeutics and vaccines! Eventually! Meanwhile, we’re suffering roughly 250 Benghazis per day. Whoopee!
  5. Finally (and forgive me for burying the lede), “Obviously, when you’re in the political world there are those things that you can control, there are those things that you can’t.” Yes, and this is one of those things you clearly can control. I know Americans hate copying what other countries do for fear that it might work and make us look even stupider, but, well, we’re one of the few countries in the world that’s still dealing with the plague on this level. Yesterday, for instance, we added 67,413 new coronavirus cases, while Canada added 350. If Canada had the same population we had, you’d expect them to have approximately 3,000 cases. That’s a pretty egregiously shitty job we’re doing.

Nice try, Mark. Perhaps blaming China and hoping for magic breakthroughs sounds good to the pr*sident’s army of phlegm-bots, but you’re not fooling the rest of us.

Oh, and enjoy your job while it lasts. Trump changes chiefs of staff about as often as he changes his sheets. Which is kind of gross considering all the KFC he eats in bed. But, you know, there are some things you just can’t change.

“This guy is a natural. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.” — Bette Midler on Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, via Twitter. Find out what made dear Bette break up. Dear Fcking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump and its boffo sequels Dear Prsident A**clown: 101 More Rude Letters to Donald Trump and Dear F*cking Moron: 101 More Letters to Donald Trump by Aldous J. Pennyfarthing are now available for a song! Click those links, yo!