By Perry Diaz
In an effort to stem an incoming viral tsunami, President Donald Trump is busy forging a sword to cut the Gordian Knot that has wrapped around the coronavirus that’s causing deaths and miseries to millions of Americans.
In Greek mythology, the Gordian knot was an extremely complicated knot tied by Gordius, the king of Phrygia in Asia Minor. Located in the city of Gordium, the knot came to symbolize a difficult problem that was almost impossible to solve.
As the story goes, in 333 B.C. an oracle had declared that any man who could unravel its elaborate knots was destined to become ruler of all of Asia. The impetuous Alexander was instantly “seized with an ardent desire” to untie the Gordian knot. He wanted to untie the knot but struggled to do so without success. He then reasoned that it would make no difference how the knot was loosed, so he drew his sword and sliced it in half with a single stroke. The young king was then hailed as a great conqueror. True to the prophecy, he went on to conquer Egypt and large swaths of Asia before his death at age 32.
Fast forward to 2020. According to some sources, Trump’s Fox oracle man, Sean Hannity, had told him that the coronavirus pandemic, which he originally believed to be a hoax, could be stopped if Trump could untie the Gordian Knot that has locked the secret formula for a treatment for the coronavirus COVID-19. Rumor has it that Hannity, Trump’s renowned conspiracy theorist, had sworn that the yet-to-be-formulated treatment is derived from a hydroxychloroquine-laced snake oil extracted from the venomous Copperhead rattlesnake. Hmm…
It did not then come as a surprise when, in a flash of delusion, Trump said at a Fox News town hall a weekend ago, “We have a transition third quarter. We’re going to have a very good fourth quarter. We’re going to have a great next year.”
A week later, in a meeting with congressional Republicans, he used the phrase “transition to greatness” a couple of times pretending he had just thought it up on the spot, right there and then. Well, he lied.
“It’s a great term,” he said. “It just came out, at this meeting. That’s right, it came out by accident. It was a statement, and it came out, and you can’t get a better one. We could go to Madison Avenue and get the best, the greatest geniuses in the world to come up with a slogan, but that’s the slogan we’re going to use: transition to greatness.”
While it sounded good at the moment, it begs the question: What made Trump optimistic about the economy in the third and fourth quarters? The economy is now like a tumbleweed rolling in the wind of recession and going nowhere. My take is that he’s trying to convince the American people that everything is just fine and going well, that the economy would soon recover in the third quarter and the country would be on its feet in the fourth quarter, running at full economic speed into a Trump second presidential term.
Delusion of grandeur
While it might sound delusional and self-aggrandizing, Trump has been dreaming of becoming the Great American hero that saved his Make America Great Again (MAGA) vision from disintegrating into an Inferno of destruction and crumbling cities. Yes, he truly believes that the third quarter would be the turning point of the pandemic’s vicious run that left his beloved America in chaos and turmoil. The month of June would see the beginning of an economic recovery that he needs to win re-election in November. The whole second quarter would propel the Trump-driven economic engine to achieving his dream of greatness that will begin in the fourth quarter. And on November 3, he will emerge the winner in the presidential election in a landslide! And on January 20, 2021, Trump will be inaugurated to a second term as president of the republic.
But June is just two weeks away! How in hell could he stop the virus and begin the recovery from the pandemic? What does he have up his sleeves that he can say that the country will begin its recovery in the third quarter? And that it will transition to greatness in the fourth quarter?
And now that he wants to reopen the country to normal business in preparation for an economic revival, one wonders how he can prevent the virus from jumping around communities infecting people during the time that social distancing is not enforced and contact tracing failing amidst the anticipated second wave of the pandemic?
He knew that if a second wave occurs, his “transition to greatness” would fail to happen and that it would doom his dream of getting re-elected in November. It’s no wonder then that lately, he seems to be on a meltdown. He’s been cranky and irritable. At his last press conference, he got so irritated by two women reporters who badgered him with questions that he couldn’t answer, which forced him to cut the press briefing short and walked out a broken man.
But the problem now is that Trump has relinquished responsibility and leadership in the fight against the virus. He passed responsibility and leadership to the 50 state governors, claiming that it’s the states’ job to stop the spread of the virus, not him. He said It’s the state governors’ responsibility to test and conduct contact tracing and isolate those stricken from the healthy. It’s now to each his own, which is basically an abdication of the federal government’s duty to protect the American people.
Right now, Trump is preoccupied with his re-election. He appears to be doing everything to promote his re-election and putting the blame for the failure of his administration on anyone who talks bad about the conduct of the fight against the pandemic.
But as he plays the blame game, the virus is getting closer to him. It’s now lurking in the White House and infected his personal valet and Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary. Three members of the White House Task Force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, were exposed to the virus as well, which compelled them to go into self-quarantine. This forced Trump to get tested every day and requiring people near him to take the test twice a week. Yet he refused to wear a mask in public because of fears that it would “send the wrong message” and harm his re-election chances. But his re-election hinges on how he leads the nation in fighting the pandemic and right now he doesn’t look good. He looks weak and irrational. His numbers in the polls are plummeting into the 20’s. Sad to say, it would take a miracle to save his presidency. Only a vaccine could save it and that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
As Trump ponders his options, he thought of untying the Gordian Knot to unleash the treatment for the coronavirus. But then it occurred to him that the Gordian Knot is nothing more than a legend – a myth — that’s been passed around for 2,300 years since the time of Alexander the Great. There is no truth to the rumor that the Gordian Knot holds the secret formula for a treatment for the coronavirus COVID-19. It’s just a figment of Trump’s imagination.
Trump should – nay must – concentrate on finding the vaccine to treat the coronavirus. That’s the only way to eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic. That would be the Gordian Knot.
But one thing is for sure: the vaccine will not be found by the fourth quarter, which is what Trump is hoping for to save his presidency. He might just as well resign to the fact that his dream of a “transition to greatness” is nothing more than an empty slogan he concocted in a flash of delusion to give false hope to the American people. But he knew that’s not going to happen. There is no greatness in the fight against the coronavirus. There is only a great deal of sacrifice and selflessness from the frontliners – doctors, nurses, and health care workers — who are fighting the pandemic in every locality in the country. They’re the real American heroes.