Follow the money on Dr. Trump's medicine show: Is it paranoid to suspect the president is working a side hustle? That's basically all he's got

Follow the money on Dr. Trump's medicine show: Is it paranoid to suspect the president is working a side hustle? That's basically all he's got
Image via Shutterstock.

Donald Trump only cares about Donald Trump. He doesn't care about you or the country. He only cares about exploiting this crisis to bail out his business and to get himself re-elected, thereby shielding himself from a series of indictments that surely await him if he loses. The sooner we embrace this easily-observable fact about Trump, the better equipped we'll be to evaluate his decisions during these overlapping health and financial calamities.

The "Trump is all about Trump" maxim goes a long way to explaining his obsessive beer-funneling of a malaria drug called hydroxychloroquine down the gullets of COVID-19 victims.

So far, there have been two public appearances by Trump that have genuinely rattled me. There was his seemingly endless and deeply disturbing CPAC address in early March of 2019: a herky-jerky, stream-of-consciousness creepshow — a Willy Wonka ride into the dark, twisted world of Trump's increasingly haunted and demented brain. I've never seen a presidential speech more harrowing and unnerving than that one … until the Saturday, April 4, episode of the Trump Show.

There was one particular chunk of Saturday's fact-free campaign commercial, aired across all the major networks, that rivaled anything from his CPAC remarks of more than a year ago. About an hour into Trump's delusional attempt to frame himself as competent, the president craned his head forward and, using a high-pitched whisper-voice, begged COVID-19 victims to take hydroxychloroquine as if his life depended on it.

It was one of the most bizarre moments not just in the history of this wobbly wacky-shack presidency, but in the entire history of presidential politics. Trump's pupils were dilated, punctuating his bugged-out eyes and, as usual, his hands were flapping back and forth as if to squeeze an invisible accordion to the tune of a dissonant polka played at half speed. The sound of his voice could best be compared with a greasy Aqualung weirdo in an unmarked van coaxing children into the back with the promise of candy bars if they acquiesce.

"What do you have to lose?" the president rationalized in that breathless tone, "I'll say it again: What do you have to lose? Take it. I really think they should take it. But it's their choice and it's their doctor's choice, or the doctors in the hospital. But hydroxychloroquine — try it, if you'd like."

There was much more to it, and the text alone doesn't do justice to the freakishness of the moment. But as I watched the president disintegrating into a cartoonish back-alley drug dealer from a 1980s after-school special, two thoughts occurred to me: 1) We're completely screwed if this shell of a man is re-elected, and 2) Why is he so obsessed with selling this malaria drug?

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