President Trump
Credit: The White House/Flickr

By now, almost everything that can be said about Trump’s bizarre bleach-and-sunlight episode has been said. I don’t even need to link, reference, or give background on it. Everyone paying even the slightest attention to the news knows. They know how bizarre it was, how unfathomably stupid it was on every level—political, scientific, common sense, any of it. I don’t think there is anything that could make clear to Trump’s base just how unfit he is for the job. But if anything could do it at all, it would be telling his scientists to research injecting people with Lysol or opening them up for UV rays under the skin.

What’s wrong with Trump cannot be fixed. He cannot be changed, moved, or educated. He is exactly what he is and never will be anything but a depraved cretin unfit for almost any job in the world.

What can change, though, is the attitude of those around him. As long as they remain loyal to him and cover for him, we could be stuck with this nightmare for another four years.

But what Trump’s enablers need to understand is that, while he expects loyalty from them, he famously gives none in return. That was true even in this most recent episode, as Trump left all his defenders high and dry once again. In the immediate aftermath of his remarks, the president’s press team dutifully went out and said the media was just mischaracterizing him.

By early Friday, that’s exactly what Trump’s aides were doing, with newly installed White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany blasting out a statement reading, “President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing. Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.”

Dr. Deborah Birx, whose stunned facial expressions in response to Trump’s disinfectant-and-sunlight musings went viral, tried to defend him by saying that the president just talks through new information on his feet: “He gets new information, he likes to talk that through out loud and really have that dialogue.”

But then Trump threw them all under the bus by ludicrously suggesting he was just being sarcastic with the press (he very clearly wasn’t joking or being sarcastic—but shamelessness lying is one of Trump’s core character traits):

But roughly three hours later, the president upended that strategy in its entirety. By Friday afternoon, Trump was telling reporters at the White House that he was just playing a big ol’ joke on the press.

“I was asking the question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen,” he said of a statement he made in which he clearly was earnestly questioning his own health experts as to whether they should study if disinfectant could work to kill COVID-19 inside the body.

Those in Trump’s orbit need to remember that he will never show any loyalty to them, or take their welfare or credibility into account as he acts. There will be no one there to defend their reputations once he is gone, either.

If there was ever a time to for those closest to him to help pull back the curtain in hopes of forcing his resignation, now would be the time. Before any more people get hurt, and before he says something even more dangerous.

David Atkins

Follow David on Twitter @DavidOAtkins. David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.