Editor’s Note: Say What? is the segment of Liberty Nation Radio where we unveil some of the most wacky, astonishing, and damnable things uttered by politicians and the chattering class.
Tim Donner: No doubt you uttered the title of this segment — “say what?” — when you woke up Oct. 2 to discover the president and first lady have COVID-19. The questions were many, and the drama was at peak level.
ABC Reporter: Who else was exposed in the West Wing? Will the president’s senior advisors and the vice president also go into quarantine? … The campaign is totally frozen in time. And the president had a very crowded schedule of campaign events over the upcoming days. Also, the presidential debates, we’re supposed to have two more debates. We’re supposed to have a vice-presidential debate. Will those go on? Obviously, all of that is uncertain.
CNN Reporter: This was a code red moment for the US government, before we even had these diagnoses from FLOTUS and POTUS … This may be the most dangerous moment that the US government has ever faced … The president is suffering from a deadly virus. This feels like something we should be watching on an episode of Homeland.
Tim: A deadly virus, and the average age of death from COVID-19 is 78, most with underlying conditions. President Trump is 74 with a potentially troubling condition. And on MSNBC, Dr. Vin Gupta sounded the alarm, unsurprisingly taking the opportunity to blame the president for his disregard of COVID protocols.
Dr. Vin Gupta: He has a significant co-morbidity, a risk factor in addition to his age, which is being overweight. The combination of the two … I’ve cared for several patients in the ICU who have that double whammy. They’re older and they’re overweight. They have a bad trajectory, meaning they start developing shortness of breath or a cough or fever. So this is a very serious situation for the president. Perhaps, the way he’s been behaving and messaging has been wrong. And now, he’s, unfortunately, bearing the brunt of that consequence.
Tim: Well, that was a typical reaction from the elite media. And like all the other unprecedented crises voters have been forced to process in 2020, when deciding how to vote they will now have to figure the president’s physical condition into the mix.
But the election campaign will continue in some form, depending on how Trump gets through this period of quarantine. And at the heart of the debate over this election are the prevailing ideologies of Trump and Biden and who controls the two parties. While we know what Trump is all about — he tells us every day in every way — how about Biden, an historically moderate candidate by Democrat standards who’s been all but held hostage by the rising tide of left-wing progressives in his party? When you vote for Biden, for what policies are you voting? The Democrat nominee said he won his party’s nomination because he was not a socialist like Bernie Sanders on many issues, but particularly health care. But Trump was having none of it in the first debate.
Joe Biden: Biden wanted to allow people to have private insurance still. They can, they do. They will under my proposal.
President Trump: That’s not what you’ve said. And it’s not what the party has said.
Biden: That is simply a lie.
Trump: Your party wants to go socialist medicine …
Biden: My party is me.
Trump: … and socialist health care …
Biden: Right now, I am the Democratic Party.
Trump: And they’re going to dominate you, Joe. You know that.
Biden: I am the Democratic Party, right now.
Tim: Trump says the left will dominate; Biden, in turn, says he is the Democratic Party, right now, even though he’s adopted positions far to the left of his own expressed ideology for almost 50 years. Only the voters can decide whether Biden is his own man or not. And only they can decide what to make of this much-debated question and the answer by Trump, on whether he would condemn white supremacists. And he ridiculed the idea that the rampant mob violence in cities across the land was anything but a product of far-left extremism.
Trump: Who would you like me to condemn?
Moderator Chris Wallace & Biden: White supremacists …
Trump: Stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left one. This is a left-wing problem.
Biden: Antifa’s an idea, not an organization.
Trump: Oh, you’ve got to be kidding.
Tim: So Trump tells a fringe far-right group to stand back. But Biden actually denies the very existence of the domestic terrorist organization identifying as Antifa. Go ahead and ask any of the people who saw their communities destroyed if the Antifa organization exists.
But if there was a single soundbite from the debate that Trump supporters would like to resonate and have legs, it revolved around the number 47. And former Bush 43 Press Secretary Ari Fleischer used it to deliver a devastating critique on Biden’s refusal to say whether he’d pack the Supreme Court with more progressives if he became president.
Trump: In 47 months, I’ve done more than you’ve done in 47 years, Joe.
Ari Fleischer: When he said I’ve done more in 47 months than you’ve done in 47 years, that was a pretty good way to sum everything up. And I still think that Joe Biden is leaving himself very vulnerable, because he just refuses to take a stand out of weakness. He acknowledges it. I won’t give you an answer on court packing or the filibuster, because I don’t want my answer to be the issue. What kind of leader or statesman answers a question like that?
Tim: Indeed, the question of leadership is what voters must ultimately decide during these trying times. But leadership qualities and policy debates may in the end shrink, in comparison with the fight over the actual outcome of the election already being waged by both campaigns, before, during, and after the debate. Trump touts what he calls a scandalous distribution of unsolicited mail-in ballots while relying on the Supreme Court and the prospective new justice, Amy Coney Barrett, to bring it to a final resolution. The last Democrat nominee said a while back that Biden should never concede. And senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin of Illinois, took issue with Hillary.
Trump: If it’s a fair election, I am a 100% on board. But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that. Hey, they found ballots in a wastepaper basket three days ago, and they all had the name … Military ballots, they were military. They all had the name Trump on them … I think it’s better if you go before the election, because I think this scam that the Democrats are pulling, it’s a scam … The scam will be before the United States Supreme Court. And I think having a four-four situation is not a good situation.
Hillary Clinton: Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances because I think this is going to drag out. And eventually, I do believe he will win, if we don’t give an inch.
Dick Durbin: I disagree with Hillary Clinton. I respect her, I like her, but I think she’s just flat out wrong. If we are going to maintain a democracy, peaceful transition through an election is the only way to do it. Whoever the winner is, if it is clear and legal, that should be announced. And the other party should concede.
Tim: It is actually conceivable that the loser of this election will never concede, because counting the expected deluge of mail-in ballots may take days or weeks. And courts in crucial swing states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — have extended the deadlines for counting ballots to days past the election.
Read more from Tim Donner.