Last week I interviewed Mary Trump for my podcast, and I asked her how was able to avoid becoming a monster the way much of her family had, most notably her uncle, President Donald Trump. I asked Mary how she avoided all the racism and lawlessness that her grandfather and uncles had freely engaged in, a subject she writes about so illuminatingly in her best-selling book, “Too Much and Never Enough.”
How did Mary avoid becoming a tax cheat like her uncle or a robotic, ethically challenged cipher like her cousin, Ivanka? She responded simply that growing in Jamaica, in the outer borough of Queens, had made her normal.
I think about this a lot as I watch the president’s wife and the president’s daughter do their own weird Marie Antoinette pantomime. The Trump women are exactly what America doesn’t need right now – that is, except for the president’s niece.
Things in America are not great. The US economy shrunk by 32.9 percent this quarter, which is the worst drop on record. Unemployment is at 11 percent, and possibly higher. Many Americans are surviving on this 600 dollar enhanced unemployment program that is set to expire this weekend, and now congress is out till Monday. As the Associated Press noted, “The economy’s collapse in the April-June quarter, stunning in its speed and depth, came as a resurgence of the viral outbreak has pushed businesses to close for a second time in many areas.”
And it’s not like the country has coronavirus under control, America has 4.58 million official cases and the real number is more likely several multiples more than that. In some states, coronavirus patients are being sent home to die. And coronavirus is not just attacking Democrats, as the Trump administration had apparently hoped, according to a Vanity Fair piece published this week. That article quotes a White House insider saying, “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy.” Instead, this week, Herman Cain, the co-chair of “Black Voices for Trump,” died of the coronavirus after being photographed mask-less at Trump’s Tulsa rally. And he’s not the only one: Bill Montgomery, the co-founder of Turning point USA, also died of coronavirus. And for all of us, whether we live in a blue or a red state, a vaccine is still many months away.