Zirpoli: Trump to America: Be very afraid, but don’t panic | COMMENTARY

Last week was interesting. First, we read in The Atlantic magazine that four former White House advisors reported that President Donald Trump called American soldiers buried in France “losers” and “suckers.” The reporting was confirmed by other media outlets including Fox News and The Washington Post.

Then, during a Labor Day press conference, Trump stated, “I’m not saying the military is in love with me. The soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”


Also, last week, author Bob Woodward released tape recordings of Trump telling him 7 months ago how serious COVID-19 was and how easily it was transmitted from person to person through the air. Trump also told Woodward that he “played down” the pandemic because he didn’t “want to create a panic.”

Trump defended his lies about the virus on Fox News when he told Sean Hannity, “I’m the leader of the country, I can’t be jumping up and down and scaring people.”


This is an interesting statement from a president who has spent four years trying to scare people. As stated by Nina Golgowski in The Huffington Post, Trump tried to scare us in 2015 about “very bad people” coming across the Mexican border. “They’re sending people that have a lot of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Last week, Trump tweeted, “If I don’t win, America’s suburbs will be OVERRUN with low-income projects, Anarchists, Agitators, Looters…” He told reporters last week that if Biden was elected, “the suburbs would be overwhelmed with violence and crime” and that the economy will crash “like you’ve never seen.”

I guess Trump wants us to be very afraid, but not to panic.

Trump seems to be losing it. During a rally in Pennsylvania, he announced that New Zealand had a “massive breakout yesterday.”

Fact-checkers noted, however, that Trump’s “massive breakout” in New Zealand was six new cases after going 102 days without any new cases.

We should be so lucky.

The United States had over 47,000 new cases that day. Yet, Trump told the Pennsylvania crowd that America was in the “closing moments of the pandemic.” The president continues to lie about the pandemic while holding rallies filled with supporters without masks. He doesn’t even try to keep his supporters safe.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported last week that reports on the virus by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are being revised by White House political appointees to reflect the more positive comments by Trump.

Now, that makes me panic.

Trump told the Pennsylvania crowd that Biden “wasn’t born here. He’d say he was born here, but he left when he was like 8, 9, 10. So he left 68 years ago, he left a long time ago. So I view it differently. He wasn’t born here. He abandoned Scranton.”

This could be good news for the children in cages at our southern border. According to Trump, if you abandon the place you are born, then you can’t say that you were born there. Since the migrant children and their families abandoned Mexico, we can’t say they were born there and so we should not consider them immigrants.

After the Democratic National Convention, Trump tweeted that “The Democrats took the word GOD out of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democrat National Convention.” Not true, of course. And since a recording of the pledge made on all four days of the convention is easily found on YouTube, one has to wonder if Trump is losing track with reality or is desperately throwing mud at the wall to see what will stick.


Trump likes to brag about his “America First” campaign. Yet, ABC News has documented that Trump’s television campaign ads playing in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan are using foreign actors. In the first example, stock film from a Ukrainian company shows a Ukrainian woman filmed in Ukraine looking distraught as the narrator warns us of the dangers of a Biden administration. In a second example, an Italian man, filmed in Italy, laments the possibility of a Biden presidency. ABC News showed other examples of the Trump campaign using footage of Ukrainian protests to represent protests in American cities.

Perhaps the Trump campaign is having trouble finding Americans who are actually afraid of Biden. But, with 13.5 million unemployed Americans, couldn’t they at least hire American actors?

Tom Zirpoli is the program coordinator of the Human Services Management graduate program at McDaniel College. He writes from Westminster. His column appears on Wednesdays. Email him at tzirpoli@mcdaniel.edu.

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