(Author’s Note: This is the 9th in a series of occasional political columns that I’ll be writing for CommPRO.biz until Inauguration Day, January 20. Previously, I wrote 17 political columns leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column I opine on why President Donald John Trump is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans.)
In his” Macbeth,” believed to be written in 1606, William Shakespeare wrote one of his most famous lines, having Lady Macbeth say, “Out, damned spot! out, I say!,” while not being able to wash indelible blood from her hands, which she imagined because of the horrible things she and her husband had done to satisfy their ambitions.
The full title of “Macbeth,” was “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” The storyline is similar to “The Tragedy of Donald John Trump,” whose ambitions left him with a stain of indelible blood on his hands, the difference being that Trump’s actions helped kill thousand of Americans; the similarity, like “Macbeth,” being that Trump wanted to rule like a king.
Only the sloth-like supporters of President Trump can truthfully believe that he is not responsible for the deaths of many Americans. His statements about the coronavirus is tantamount to pleading guilty to murder.
- He originally insisted that the coronavirus was a “Democratic hoax.”
- When a few people were infected with the disease, he said it was under control.
- Fearing that if the seriousness of the virus became known, it would have an adverse affect on the economy, which was the cornerstone of his reelection campaign, he urged Americans to continue normal activities because the serious of the coronavirus was “fake news.”
- Similar to his statement that “I know more than the generals,” he assured people that they were not at risk and to disregard the advice of medical scientists.
- When medical scientists publicly disagreed with him about the seriousness of the coronavirus, he either fired them or disagreed with them during coronavirus task force telecasts, which he eventually discontinued.
- He mocked mask wearing and social distancing guidelines.
- His administration refused to permit the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from issuing recommendations before being edited to coincide with administration’s public relations objectives.
- True, he pushed for a vaccine, but refused to have himself vaccinated to show the pubic that he had confidence in it. Instead, he threatened to fire Stephen Han, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, unless the vaccine was approved several house prior to its scheduled approval, causing more distrust among a large percentage of the public who thought the vaccine was being prematurely approved because of political pressure.
- Trump’s attacks on the media, calling every story critical of him “Fake News,” resulted in millions of his followers from believing truthful news reports about the seriousness of the coronavirus, resulting in thousands of deaths that he is responsible for.
But there was enough blood on the president’s hands to go around.
- A few years prior to Shakespeare writing “Macbeth,” he wrote “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark,” which contained characters named Horatio, Hamlet’s best friend, and Polonius, described as the bootlicking lord chamberlain of King Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and stepfather, both roles that Vice President Mike Pence can play with perfection. His leadership of the White House’s coronavirus task force was imbued with politics in mind, instead of science. (A prime example was in late April when the vice president disregard Mayo Clinic policy by refusing to wear a mask while touring the facility, because he feared that doing so would be used by Democrats against President Trump, who refuses to wear one.)
- Also having blood on their hands were Trump’s defenders in the right wing media, led by, but not exclusively limited to Fox News, whose lead commentators defended the president’s coronavirus strategy as the deaths of Americans continued to increase. These media lackeys urged Americans to go about their business as usual while the chief Trump propagandists — Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham — worked from the safety of their homes, as do some of the most ardent Trump supporters at the Wall Street Journal. (Until the death toll became too great for even the Fox News fabulists to ignore, the trio were echoing Trump’s counterfeit claims that the degree of the virus was being exaggerated to harm him politically.)
- “King Lear,” first performed in 1606, is another Shakespeare play that has elements resembling what is occurring in the White House today. In the drama, considered one of the Bards greatest plays, King Lear goes mad, a role that the President can play without direction, as he attempts to circumvent the U.S. democratic Constitution and remain in power. In the show, King Lear’s actions results in a civil war, leaving it up to others to re-organize his kingdom, just as it will be up to others to restore the Republican Party to sanity, if possible, and more important, lessen the divide among Americans.
Lord Byron, in his 1823 satirical poem “Don Juan,” wrote, “Tis strange – but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction.” President Trump’s behavior corroborates that, but its similarity to certain plots in Shakespeare plays also shows that fiction sometime resembles truth.
After Vice President Pence and his wife publicly received the Covid-19 vaccine on December 18, he said, “As President Trump often says, we are rounding the corner. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Unfortunately, for more than 300,000 Americans the tunnel led to the cemetery and for thousands more to the ICU beds.
About the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.