Ever since Donald Trump glided down the escalator to announce that he is running for president, I have been haunted by the words of former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who warned his fellow Republicans that they “must stop being the stupid party” in January 2013.

Republicans not only failed to heed his warning but proudly embraced the fever swamp conspiracy theories of right-wing talk radio and internet trolls in Donald Trump, becoming the modern-day equivalent of the Know Nothing Party of the 19th Century.

Just watch Jonathan Swann’s jaw-dropping interview of Donald Trump on Axios on HBO.

The New York Daily News sums it up succintly. Swan dive: Trump’s latest interview reveals a clueless, shameless, dissembling president bereft of COVID answers:

Wielding a rigorous scalpel that would make David Frost envious, Axios reporter Jonathan Swan eviscerated President Trump in an interview that aired Monday. While Trump offered jaw-dropping responses on several topics — dismissing the importance of the Civil Rights Act and failing again to explain why he hasn’t broached Russian bounties on American troops with Vladimir Putin — his incomprehensibility on the coronavirus offers a tenth reason to deny him reelection.

Trump claimed the pandemic is “under control”; Swan reminded him that deaths, having dipped, again top 1,000 a day. The reality of more than 150,000 deaths garnered a Trump shrug: “They’re dying. It’s true. It is what it is.”

Trump then fumbled and shuffled misleading charts showing U.S. deaths low as a proportion of total cases. When Swan responded with plain facts about how poorly America fares in international comparisons of deaths per population, Trump stammered: “You can’t do that.”

Trump then again falsely claimed the U.S. only has so many cases because it does so much testing, and pointed to unnamed “manuals” that claim “you can have too much testing.”

Never has a clueless, shameless, blame-shifting, dissembling president been on more vivid display. No wonder new polling shows two-thirds of Americans believe the richest and most powerful nation on Earth has handled coronavirus worse than other countries. No wonder desperate states are banding together to make up for yawning gaps in federal leadership on testing.

The nation is sick in no small part because its leader is sick.

Fact Check: The U.S. has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world: ‘The numbers don’t lie,’ Dr. Fauci says:

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed on Wednesday that the United States has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, pointing to the nation’s high number of Covid-19 infections and deaths.

“Yeah, it is quantitatively if you look at it, it is. I mean the numbers don’t lie,” Fauci said when asked during an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta whether the U.S. had the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S., which accounts for less than 5% of the world population, leads all other countries in global coronavirus infections and deaths. The nation represents more than 22% of global coronavirus deaths and more than 25% of infections as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“Every country has suffered. We, the United States, has suffered … as much or worse than anyone,” Fauci said during the interview with CNN and the Harvard School of Public Health. “I mean when you look at the number of infections and the number of deaths, it really is quite concerning.”

When the U.S. was hit with the coronavirus earlier this year, it didn’t respond in a coordinated effort, Fauci said. The nation was able to bring cases down to a plateau of 20,000 new infections per day, which Fauci said wasn’t an adequate “baseline” figure and allowed the virus to resurge in some states across the country as they reopened.

Fauci reiterated that the U.S. needs a unified response and that people of all ages, including young people, have to work to suppress coronavirus outbreaks across the country.

“Any demographic group that’s not seriously trying to get to the endgame of suppressing this, it will continue to smolder and smolder and smolder,” he said.

The “demographic” group is Trump supporters who believe his nonsense that COVID-19 is no big deal and to go on about their lives as normal. These are the people who refuse to wear a mask in public, and become violent towards others when told to do so.

Fauci’s comments are at odds with President Donald Trump’s suggestion during a contentious interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan that the nation is “lower than the world” in “numerous categories.”

Trump followed up his disastrous train wreck of an interview with Axios by calling into the friendly confines of his “shadow cabinet” of advisers, the three dolts on a divan at Fox & Friends. Trump claims children are “virtually immune” to coronavirus:

President Trump argued on Wednesday that children should return to US schools because they’re “almost” or “virtually immune” from the coronavirus. Even though children are less susceptible to the virus, they can still transmit it to others in their household or within their communities.

“If you look at children, children are almost — I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease. So few — they’ve gotten stronger. Hard to believe. I don’t know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do, somehow, for this. And they don’t have a problem. They just don’t have a problem,” Trump said. 

Trump said he would get media criticism for using the term “totally immune,” adding, “but the fact is that they are virtually immune from this problem.”

The President also said older teachers should wait out the pandemic before returning to work in classrooms.

Last month, Trump asserted that children do not catch or spread the coronavirus easily and that he’s comfortable with his children and grandchildren returning to school.

What we know about kids and coronavirus: CNN previously reported that researchers in South Korea have found that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can transmit Covid-19 within a household just as much as adults, according to research published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. They also found that children ages 9 and under transmitted the virus within their household at rates that were a lot lower.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CBS News last month that though the risk to children getting coronavirus is low, they can still transmit it to others.

“We know the risk is low to the actual students. But we know they can transmit to others. … We need to take measures to make sure we protect those who are vulnerable either because they are older or they have chronic medical conditions,” Adams said.

COVID-19 has also been linked to a serious inflammatory syndrome associated with toxic shock or Kawasaki disease, a rare illness in children that involves inflammation of the blood vessels, including coronary arteries.

Note: The Trump campaign tried to share his Fox & Friends interview on social media. Finally, the fact checkers at Facebook and Twitter stepped up and did the right thing, at long last, for a change. Facebook, Twitter take down Trump post saying kids are immune to coronavirus: “It’s the first time that Facebook has removed content from Trump’s account for violating policies on coronavirus-related misinformation. Twitter took down the same Trump video post later on Wednesday evening.”

You should note that Donald Trump did not receive any pushback from the three dolts on the divan, nor has Fox news subsequently posted any disclaimer to the video. They are all about misinformation.

Fact Check: A new study finds that Children May Carry Coronavirus at High Levels:

It has been a comforting refrain in the national conversation about reopening schools: Young children are mostly spared by the coronavirus and don’t seem to spread it to others, at least not very often.

But [last] Thursday, a study introduced an unwelcome wrinkle into this smooth narrative.

Infected children have at least as much of the coronavirus in their noses and throats as infected adults, according to the research. Indeed, children younger than age 5 may host up to 100 times as much of the virus in the upper respiratory tract as adults, the authors found.

That measurement does not necessarily prove children are passing the virus to others. Still, the findings should influence the debate over reopening schools, several experts said.

The study is not without caveats: It was small, and did not specify the participants’ race or sex, or whether they had underlying conditions. The tests looked for viral RNA, genetic pieces of the coronavirus, rather than the live virus itself. (Its genetic material is RNA, not DNA.)

Still, experts were alarmed to learn that young children may carry significant amounts of the coronavirus.

“I’ve heard lots of people saying, ‘Well, kids aren’t susceptible, kids don’t get infected.’ And this clearly shows that’s not true,” said Stacey Schultz-Cherry, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“I think this is an important, really important, first step in understanding the role that kids are playing in transmission.”

This clearly did not penetrate the consciousness of Donald Trump who is steeped in denial and self-delusion. He continues to insist that the coronavirus will just magically disappear someday.

Anecdotal evidence from schools opening around the country this week put the lie to Donald Trump’s fantasy.

“One of the first school districts in the country to reopen its doors during the coronavirus pandemic did not even make it a day before being forced to grapple with the issue facing every system actively trying to get students into classrooms: What happens when someone comes to school infected?” A School Reopens, and the Coronavirus Creeps In:

Just hours into the first day of classes on Thursday, a call from the county health department notified Greenfield Central Junior High School in Indiana that a student who had walked the halls and sat in various classrooms had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Administrators began an emergency protocol, isolating the student and ordering everyone who had come into close contact with the person, including other students, to quarantine for 14 days. It is unclear whether the student infected anyone else.

“Last week, schools in Corinth, Mississippi, welcomed back hundreds of students. By Friday, one high-schooler tested positive for the novel coronavirus. By early this week, the count rose to six students and one staff member infected. Now, 116 students have been sent home to quarantine, a spokeswoman for the school district confirmed.” A Mississippi town welcomed students back to school last week. Now 116 are home in quarantine.

“The day after Atlanta school districts resumed in-person classes Monday, one school announced a second grader tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the child’s teacher and classmates to be sent home to quarantine for two weeks, CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports.

Here is the problem: School Reopening Plans Linked to Politics Not Public Health:

Brookings: “There is no relationship—visually or statistically—between school districts’ reopening decisions and their county’s new COVID-19 cases per capita. In contrast, there is a strong relationship—visually and statistically—between districts’ reopening decisions and the county-level support for Trump in the 2016 election.”

“Districts located in counties that supported Trump are much more likely to have announced plans to open in person. On average, districts that have announced plans to reopen in person are located in counties in which 55% voted for Trump in 2016, compared to 35% in districts that have announced plans for remote learning only.”

School reopenings are being driven by loyalty to “Dear Leader,” rather than the best available medical science from public health officials. Have we not already established that Donald Trump is steeped in denial and self-delusion? Are you willing to risk your child’s health on this menace to public health?

Apparently our Trump sycophant ass-kissing governor is. Check out this mind-bending alternate reality Soviet-style propaganda the Trump campaign is spinning. White House calls Arizona a coronavirus success story as state resets after huge spike in cases:

President Trump called Arizona a success story in managing the novel coronavirus Wednesday[.] In what world?

Trump showed no sign of acknowledging the magnitude of the crisis as he welcomed Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) at the White House and praised what he called a “fantastic job” in turning around what had been among the nation’s worst spikes in virus cases and deaths.

“He has done an incredible job on covid, or covid-19, or about 19 other names you can call it. It’s got probably more names than anything else you can think of,” Trump said.

“And he was hit very hard, and . . . he hit back even harder,” Trump said of Ducey, a political ally who had lifted many restrictions in late spring in accordance with Trump’s wishes for rapid economic reopening.

The White House endorsement comes even as Arizona continues to suffer the effects of a virus that has no vaccine and no widely effective treatment. The state is now averaging some 14,000 to 16,000 new cases a week.

* * *

The White House touted Arizona as a model for managing the crisis without mandatory lockdowns or what Trump called “overly punitive measures.” The state is also a cautionary tale about the rapid lifting of restrictions meant to slow the spread of disease.

Ducey had lifted stay-at-home orders in early May, making the state among the first to reopen. Arizona saw an increase of more than 800 percent in coronavirus cases between then and early July, when Ducey refused to reimpose stay-at-home orders or mandate masks. He had, however, already closed bars, nightclubs and gyms.

New infections have been falling in the state for several weeks, along with deaths. Ducey and Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, attributed this to a mix of voluntary actions by Arizonans and some state restrictions.

“We were in the unhappy but responsible position of dispersing large crowds. So, bars and nightclubs and gyms, all closed temporarily,” Ducey said. “But upon putting those steps out there, we’ve seen improvement every week, week over week, for four weeks. We’re going to keep our guard up, we’re going to stay vigilant, but there’s a real path forward.”

Ducey added that a goal for the state is “safely and successfully getting our kids back to school at the appropriate time.”

Although Trump is pushing for students to return to in-person learning immediately, Arizona has delayed classes, many of which would have already begun this week, at least until later this month.

* * *

Birx said Ducey’s experience shows “you can keep a state open and keep retail open,” with precautions. Those include the customary wearing of face masks to reduce transmission of the virus, advice that has yielded strong political backlash among some of the president’s supporters.

Wait for it …

Ducey and Trump did not wear a mask during the portion of the Oval Office meeting seen by reporters, though Birx did wear one. Neither Ducey nor Trump wore masks during joint appearances when Trump visited the state in late June, as the caseload was approaching its peak.

Leading by example. Not.

When Arizona schools attempt to return to in person classrooms later this month, because Donald Trump and Doug Ducey demand it, not because public health officials say it is safe to so so, we are going to experience the same results as school districts around the country that have opened in the past week: children and staff will soon test positive and have to be quarantined. And then what? This is even before the “second wave” of coronavirus complicated by the flu season this fall and winter.