Winter Is Coming

Listening to Dr Rick Bright testify before US Congress and reveal the inner workings of the Trump Administration almost undermines one’s trust in politicians and their carefully selected appointees. In 2016, the good doctor was asked to lead the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a federal agency charged with the production and procurement of vaccines. On 21 April he suddenly resigned his post.

It now appears that Dr Bright was ousted for opposing the promotion of two potentially lethal drugs used to fight malaria as treatments for covid-19. But that was just the final straw that pushed him out. Dr Bright had also filed a whistle-blower complaint over large contracts awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services on the basis of political connections rather than scientific considerations.

Dr Bright displayed a sense of urgency and said that the US now faces its ‘darkest winter in modern history’. He also warned that time is running out for the country to come up with a coordinated response to the pandemic.

In a tweet both related and unrelated, President Trump demanded that Congress subpoena his predecessor Barack Obama for committing the ‘biggest political crime in US history’. The president failed to provide any specifics on Mr Obama’s alleged crime other than stating that ‘he knew everything’.

Whilst it was revealed that another three million American workers filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total job losses for the past seven weeks to a staggering 36 million, President Trump admitted on the Fox Business Network that the economy is unlikely to show signs of growth before the fourth quarter. However, he did promise to Make America Great Again next year.

As the president was chatting away on television, party politics were back on the hill without ever having really left. Republicans called the Congressional hearing all sorts of names whilst Democrats sought to showcase the administration’s incompetence in handling the pandemic. The latter had a field day with veteran California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo stating that Americans are ‘afraid, sick, hungry, and jobless’: “The government that was supposed to protect them has failed.” Texas Republican Michael Burgess shot back – from the hip of course – and called the hearing a ‘political sport’.

Whatever US politics has become, it is highly dysfunctional and unworthy of a great nation – something it never ceased to be notwithstanding Mr Trump’s constant belittling of the country. However, seldom before have the countries of northern Europe looked more civilised, orderly, and well-governed than they do now when compared to the allegedly Greatest Nation on Earth. That, by the way, says more about the United States than it does about Europe. Sad, very sad.