At the top of tonight’s episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver quickly admitted that there is so much to unpack from this week that there is no time to talk about Trump’s taxes, the catostrophic debate or how Melania Trump basically said, as he put it “f*ck Christmas”. The first thing Emmy-award winning host wanted to talk about was what the world is talking about: Trump get testing positive for coronavirus, which he said is “shocking” but also “utterly inevitable”.
“Obviously, the president having coronavirus is a very big deal,” said Oliver adding that the White House has handled the whole situation terribly. The news only came out after one of Trump’s closest aides Hope Hicks tested positive. This prompted us to ask questions when Trump had been exposed and what he had done about it. Oliver said that the answers to those questions “weren’t great” before cutting to an MSNBC clip that reported how Trump knew Hope Hicks had tested positive for COVID-19, but traveled to New Jersey for a fundraiser any way.
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Oliver remarked, “So many of the decisions that Trump and those around him made this week look absolutely appalling in hindsight…from his family refusing to wear masks at Tuesday’s debate to failure to notify anyone on the Biden team that they may have been exposed to the fact that the fundraiser he attended just before he tested positive was a f*cking buffet.”
Then there is the event where Trump announced the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. The event took place on Saturday and was attended by Utah Senator Mike Lee and Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkings, who both tested positive for coronavirus. “It seems we may look back on Saturday’s White House event and say ‘all of this began there’,” he said.
Oliver angrily said that it was infuriating to see the event attendees hugging each other as many people in this country haven’t seen their family for months or have died alone in a hospital. “It’s not just that they’re putting themselves at risks…more importantly, they are risking infecting others,” he points out. “The thing about a highly contagious virus is, your recklesness can end up killing someone you never meet — and they’re still doing it.” He began pulling out receipts to prove this. Attorney General Bill Barr, who was at the event, is choosing not to quarantine himself and four House Republicans who traveled with Trump this week not only didn’t quarantine but they showed up to the House to vote in person and then three of them took a Delta flight home from D.C.
“The frustrating thing is Republicans seem to be handling this outbreak the way they handled the whole pandemic — with a mixture of denialism, hubris and treating it more as a PR crisis than one of public health which has had huge knock-on effects,” he said.
A news clip was shown of a maskless Trump supporter outside of the Walter Reed Hospital explaining why he wasnt wearing a mask. He said he was young and not at risk, claiming that everything that is happening during the pandemic is hysteria. He said that he doesn’t buy into “fearmongering.”
Oliver said that the Trump adminstration has been downplaying the virus so much and for so long that for Trump diehard supporters, any sort of concern isn’t seen as a sensible precaution, it’s seen as fearmongering.
“Fear is not a bad thing,” said Oliver. “It’s what stops you from chopping your hand off with a meat cleaver or petting an angry dog or crossing a busy street withtout looking.”
“This week, more than ever, proves that in the midst of a pandemic, when you act without caution, you cannot expect the virus to simply ‘stand back and stand by’,” said Oliver, referencing Trump’s debate answer to condemning white supremacy.
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