Trump’s medical team, WH staff and enablers add to the confusion over his status.


Trump’s team echoes the film, “The Death of Stalin.” That was satire; this isn’t!

The Death of Stalin is a 2017 satirical dark comedy film written and directed by Armando Iannucci (Veep, Avenue 5). In it Iannucci imagines the machinations of members of the Soviet Politburo in 1953 when they discover that the Supreme Soviet Leader, Joseph Stalin, has suddenly and unexpectedly died. Those members, portrayed as if they were characters from a Marx Brothers movie (that’s Groucho and his brothers, Chico, Gummo, Harpo and Zeppo, but not Karl), include Molotov, Malenkov, Beria, Mikoyan and Khrushchev (played hysterically by Steve Buscemi) among others. It is a satiric “tour de force.”

What’s happening today, in the year 2020 in Washington DC, resembles what Iannucci portrayed in his film. The difference is, of course, what’s happening today is real, not satire. And it’s not funny; it’s frightening.

Earlier today, the President Trump’s physician, U.S. Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley held a news conference to update the country…and the world…on the health status of the President of the United States.

What Conley said and the implications and walking back of his remarks resemble a comedy of errors. But this is, of course, no comedy.

  • At the beginning of his remarks, Conley said Trump was “just 72 hours into the diagnosis now.”
  • This means that Trump was diagnosed Wednesday morning, about 36 hours before he first disclosed his positive test.
  • It also means that Trump was diagnosed just 11 hours after he shared a debate stage with Joe Biden, hours before he held a campaign rally in Minnesota and a day before a Thursday fundraiser in New Jersey, which he attended.
  • Although Conley said the “president is doing well, his condition is improving and that his fever has lifted,” he wouldn’t provide specific answers about whether Trump had received oxygen, the timeline of the president’s coronavirus diagnosis or what a lung scan has shown.

Further muddling the situation, The Washington Post subsequently reported, “Confusion grew later in the day when White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany released a memo attributed to Conley that said the doctor “incorrectly used the term ’72 hours” instead of “day three.” Trump “was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on the evening of Thursday, October 1st,” read the memo, which also incorrectly described the type of treatment the president received.

I don’t know about you, but I never had any confidence in Kayleigh and now I’m starting to lose confidence in Dr. Conley. Sure sounds like it might be time to get a second opinion.

Well, we didn’t have to wait long for that second opinion. In a statement at odds with both Conley and McEnany, White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, apparently told reporters, “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,” Meadows said. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.” Meadows did not respond to a request for comment Saturday.

Adding to the confusion over Trump’s condition and prognosis, Senate Majority Leader and noted medical expert Mitch McConnell tweeted on the basis of a call with the President, that Trump sounded “well” and reported that he is “feeling good.”

In The Death of Stalin, Iannucci created a well-honed, incredibly dark and funny satire. In The Illness of Trump, Conley, McEnany, Meadows, McConnell and probably dozens more are creating a badly staged, incredibly scary picture of America under Trump.

Yet there’s still a chance that this gang may be with us for four more years because there are still people supporting Trump and his band of amateurish sycophants.

Can someone, anyone, tell me why?

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

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