Trump was a self-declared germaphobe before it was cool.
And as perhaps the only thing about the current situation about which he has shown any prescience, the irony runs rich, and the related issues deep.
Not that this is news.
Politico reporter, Daniel Lippman, gathered many months ago, the President's penchant for Purell is legendary. Indeed, Lippman describes Trump's strict enforcement of in and out-of-house hygiene as something akin to his Bright Red Line.
This from the same person who believes disease can be simply ordered away, as though he were pulling through a drive through, and commanding the appearance of fries with that.
This from the same person who only now, it seems, is coming to terms with the hard reality of this stubbornly self-interested organism.
It is though with germs and germs only, does Trump believe (rightly) he must exercise scientifically-informed self-control, lest he meet his match, and perhaps his maker.
Not that he is without cause to be afraid.
But with someone like Trump in charge of the American government's response to this pandemic, we have even more to fear than Trump. We have Trump to fear as well. And not for the reasons he might like.
Can you wish germs away? I do not believe so. Can you wish germs on others? To that I respond with a hard nope. (I mean, how might that even work?) Can you ignore germs until they get tired of pestering you and go away? Maybe, if you keep your distance long enough. But Trump cannot keep his distance, because he apparently also fears he might cease to be relevant, or perhaps even cease to exist, without the attention of others. And you cannot simply lie about the existence of germs, try as some might.
The physical fact is germs are here, there and everywhere. And you know what they say about physical facts: they are the stubbornest facts of all.
All Trump or anyone can do about germs is their best to control them. Hence, Lippman's recognition that, in Trump, we may have the most germaphobic leader of the free world.
But wait, there's more.
We also have in Trump someone who thinks science a buffet from which one can simply make a plate with the facts that suit their fancy. As though one can come up to a steaming pan of Climate Science, and say simply, "No thanks. I'm Climate Science intolerant." Or obversely, when presented with a gooey mass of Infinite Economic Expansionism Fueled By Finite Resources, say, "Oh yes, please! I love a sweet confection with getting my fill." Whatever floats his boat, in other words, just so long as he can serve himself all the best stuff first, before others realize they are on the menu.
So, what now?
Hopefully, Trump goes back to his signature Trumped-Up selfies, and stops shaking hands, for one thing.
But let's face it, if we thought this guy hated being around sick people before the outbreak of the Coronavirus - even staying well away from his baby when the infant got sick - we likely ain't seen nothing yet.
The good news? The man's fear of germs makes it highly unlikely Putin is holding a pee tape on which Trump is doing anything more than watching such a show. (Because, after all, like Trump says himself, we know i
f Putin had such a thing, he would use it.)
The bottom line, though?
We may have to face another hard physical fact: we may realize we have to unite behind this President - albeit at a safe social distance - to defend ourselves and others against this threat. And if that is what we must do for the sake of others - and the idea of what it means to be who we are - then that is what we may have to do. As scary as THAT sounds.
That is to say we must be smart AND brave. Likewise, we must always be prepared and preparing. And we must be able to trust in one another, enough to believe we can set aside our differences for the good of all.
This is why I will soon be including a free reusable travel-size bottle of Purell - a $9 value - with any purchase of a cozy custom Novato or Marin shirt and cozy recycled cotton socks combo from my new online store :)
Because sustainability is the rock star around here, and socially-conscious capitalism is a force for good, because its goal is health and happiness, peace and prosperity, for all.