The proper placement of three letters is key to understanding Donald Trump’s core belief system. A person is described as being ImMorality is when people share a common value with a group but fail to live up to those values. A person is described as being AMoral if they have no personal values set and don’t care what society has to say about right or wrong.
Trump is AMorality to an almost pitch-perfect level His existence is entirely transactional: no good, no bad, only what’s in it for Trump. The fact that what’s in it for Trump tends to be bad for almost everyone else makes him appear immoral, but the base nature of existence dwells in a deeper and danker cellar of the soul. The devoted lickspittles in his orbit are mostly immoral, as many of them know what they’re doing is wrong but stay in it because fleecing the rubes makes for good money. Trump’s amorality makes no such distinctions; if it’s good for him, then it’s good, end of file and gimme.
It can be quite startling to see him actually doing the right thing, as he stumbles through his bleak, grasping existence. There’s no context for it. It’s like watching Neo take off and fly at the end of The Matrix. He can do it. Who knew? Speaking personally, I can count on two fingers the number of moral actions then-President Trump presided over: He got a lot fewer soldiers and civilians killed than his Republican predecessor, and he made the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine his administration’s highest priority.
Of course, any morality found within Trump’s quest for a rapid vaccine is stripped to the bone by his ultimate motivation for obtaining the thing. It wasn’t to save lives or curtail a pandemic. It was to save his sanity in an increasingly fraught election season. He was happy to ridicule the effectiveness of masks, which almost certainly made people sicker and more dead. He also threw science under the bus more times that can be counted. On the eve to the first debate in October 2020, he lied to his COVID status and put God knows how many people, even his opponent Joe Biden, in danger.
Trump’s deliberate creation (and continued fealty to) the polar “us v. them” theme that continues to scramble our approach to the pandemic was the defining element of his final year in office, and of the election that ultimately showed him the door… but even then, throughout it all, he pounded the vaccine drum with all his might. He believed vaccines were the miracle cure that would save him from defeat. To Trump, it’s OKHe threw away science, medicine, doctors, and safe practices, as he believed that the pandemic would require. The vax was his silver bullet and would take care even of him.
Flash forward a year, and Trump’s polemics against masks and science have resulted in a nation about to endure two variant waves simultaneously with some 40 percent of the population still unvaccinated. He proclaimed vaccines to be medical miracles. But his advocacy for them didn’t translate into acceptance among his base of support. His generalized antiscience rhetoric leaves the country vulnerable if the unvaccinated are overwhelmed. This is already happening in many places.
It was a very special moment when Trump was in Dallas for a road show with disgraced ex-convicts Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, was booed by the usually-adoring crowd after admitting he had received the vaccine booster shot. “Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, no, no,” he barkedBack at the booers. “That’s — there’s a very tiny group over there.” Trump was so distraught over the crowd reaction that he reportedly had to be consoled by O’Reilly afterward.
Let’s fast forward to Tuesday. Trump had a sit down with Candace Owens, a right-wing hack and the topic came up of vaccines. Trump was quick to take total credit for them — of course — as he lauded their effectiveness. Owens tried to make the discussion into an attack on the drugs conspiracy, but Trump wouldn’t be bothered.
“Oh no, the vaccines work,” Trump quickly retorted, “but some people aren’t the ones. The ones who get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take the vaccine. But it’s still their choice. And if you take the vaccine, you’re protected. Look, the results of the vaccine are very good, and if you do get it, it’s a very minor form. People aren’t dying when they take the vaccine.”
That’s twice in a week Trump has bared his throat to his own horde, and the current president took notice by praising TrumpIt was a speech. Trump reactedTo that praise in a way I’d never seen before: He was kind, gregarious even. “I’m very appreciative of that,” Trump said to Fox News. “I was surprised to hear it. It is a great idea. it was a terrific thing, and I think it makes a lot of people happy…. I think [Biden]You did something very positive. You know, it has to be a process of healing in this country, and that will help a lot.”
You can expect more of this head spinning, mind reeling. Trump does not want to be an outsider, he just wants to be part of the action. He wants to be on Vaccine Mount. Rushmore, when we finally have this thing under some control. For sure the cry of “I did the vaccines all by myself!” will be the centerpiece to his campaign should he run for president again. This is the first step, but there are many more. Trump is the world’s heavyweight champion of consistent messaging. This is Trump’s new message.
… and you know what? Fine. Let him try. We need all the help that we can get. Those who are not currently dug inThey refuse to listen or be influenced by scientists or government advocates for vaccines. They are not to be trustedTrump taught his supporters this for years. He is very responsible for this. Even if his own fervent self-interest leads him to act in his countrymen’s best interests for a refreshing change, I don’t see the point in trying to stop him from his original culpability. He will have done the most important act since he entered politics by praising vaccines and himself.