Is President Donald J Trump a Racist?

Why Africa should care how the US president mishandles the Cory pandemic

An easy task, crowning Coronavirus President of the year. it has been a slam dunk. Our countries that he once called shithole, have somehow managed to maintain relatively lower numbers of Cory deaths than Trump's America. And on that, America is No. 1

In Brief

  • This emperor has no clothes and there is no one within the Palace who is courageous enough to let him know. They are just laughing at his body features
  • He had promised to drain the swamp, instead, he filled the swamp with man-eating alligators
  • His dances with and love for dictators seem to have been a ploy to learn from them with the hope of becoming the first world’s strongman
  • In his 2016 campaign, US President Donald J Trump promised to drain the DC swamp. Instead, he filled it with man-eating alligators. As The Atlantic staff writer, Ed Yong, documented in August, the Covid-19 pandemic has proved supreme in Trump’s America.
  • President Donald nobody-ever-done-this-before Trump is an equal opportunity egomaniac. Regardless of one’s race if you challenge him, he would land on you like a ton of bricks. 
  • No matter the evidence, challenge Trump at your peril especially if one wants to learn how effective 280 characters are on Twitter
  • Social profiling of President Trump is important in understanding why his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic is concerning, and especially to people living in countries he once called shitholes. Here is a social appraisal of the American president by uSpiked’s editor, Mark Thomas.
  • Trump must be regretting ever venturing into the presidential race. Being the president has just brought him more grieves. Now people are keen to look at how he had been handling his businesses and unfortunately, he knows that whether he wins or loses in the November polls, his legal dilemmas are not going to disappear 
  • He seems to debate every morning on whose personality to adopt for the day
  • In his world, everything has to be transactional; and in this world, there are just winners and losers with nothing in between
  • To understand his often narrative formatted speeches, one just needs to put on a BS filtering helmet and all will be fine.
  • He thrives in chaos, he would rather burn everything down before starting afresh
  • At the current rate, Cory will only disappear in Trumpland after it runs out of humans to infect 

I am not a race relations expert, but I believe US President Donald J Trump is a situational racist. I will state a few things up front.

Firstly, I am a black African and one of the darkest of our lot. Back in the day, my schoolmates would tease me that I'm 'darker than moonless midnight’. Not so long ago, a white friend said it would take a spotlight to make me out in a room. And I am proud to be that black.

Secondly, For those who know me well enough, they would recall that in 2016, I was one of the few in Africa who was batting for Trump to win the elections. (That would make me an earlier African Trumper). I had three main motivations:

  1. I was personally tired of politicians and their endless lies to electorates,
  2. Having another Clinton at the White House, I believed then, would set bad example for some authoritarian regimes around the world to boldly create their political dynasties – we have fought against a few of those in Africa; if they cannot remain in power till their deaths, they hand over the reign to their sons or some blood relatives, and
  3. I believed that Trump was as wealthy as he had claimed to be in his TV show, The Apprentice, hence would not be beholden to special interest groups – I had thought he would be incorruptible. Those were positions I wasn’t ready to compromise on.

With that position, I crudely failed to be objective and could not entertain any contrary views however sound, including from a dear friend of mine who had tried to educate me on the dangerous rabbit hole America was heading down should Trump win. A decision I now personally regret. For all of those whose views I had ignored, including my kid brother, I am truly sorry.

Some of my acquaintances have pledged to not let me forget my earlier misjudgment. There is one Afrocentric Briton in my neighborhood whose number I’ve been tempted to block due to his persistence calls that always come whenever my buddy at the White House says or does something odd. On answering the calls my ears are always blown with deep British-accented laughter followed by “are you watching CNN or Fox News?”

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe… JW I was him last week maybe tomorrow. JR maybe JB Not in a while it may remind them of my Tax Returns (how does he remain so wealthy without Tax problems?) NM would agitate my base, but could impress Kanye… It’s Rambo today First Lady pass me my phone, it’s Twitter Time

Thirdly, in the past decade alone I have encountered too many overt and covert racists to count. Racism in South Africa is such a big issue that some white South Africans avoid identifying people by their skin color, particularly black people. A black man is commonly referred to as ‘an African man’ or ‘gentleman’, even when there’s nothing gentle about the subject. Imagine a victim of a mugging describing his attacker, ‘a six-foot-tall gentleman’, to the police. A white colleague once told me that being tagged a racist is more traumatic than being convicted of shoplifting.

When you don’t know that you don’t know

In the past several months, I have watched tens of hours of Trump on television. Monitoring Fox News, Al Jazeera, NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, BBC, MSNBC, Sky News, DemocracyNow, among others; with the hope of catching some lights at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, what I found was an individual who idolizes himself while expecting others to do the same and is a sucker for adulation. He is that uncle who has an opinion on everything and when they don’t know, they would make something up with such ease. He has an in-built grandiose delusion.
Psychologists describe grandiose delusions as an exaggerated sense of worth, power, knowledge, or identity. He’s seemingly created a world where he’s the supreme ruler and has to constantly remind us of his supremacy. What I have failed to understand is his constant need to align himself with the world’s worst dictators.

Trump’s dog whistles are hateful and offensive to people of color and are a manifestation of situational racism. He fuels already race-tense situations with vitriolic attacks that would land him in an Equality Court in South Africa. I believe Trump intends to appear tough and supreme. He’s ultra-competitive, not a multi-tasker, looks at issues with a comparative lens of winners and losers, often comparing his performance to others, and hence my nickname for him, President Donald “nobody-ever-done-this-before Trump”.

He tends to believe in his internalized supremacy and liberally promotes the same. This is evident in his activities on Twitter where he seeks praise from his fans by ending his posts with the words, ‘thank you’, especially when he’s missing adulation. Or clapping his hands in self-praise during his public rallies. This characteristic reminded me of former Italian Prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. There is no road Trump wouldn’t cross to win.

Trump, the only US president without political and military experience before taking office, would take any support that can potentially perpetuate his supremacy agenda. Take the 2016 campaign pitting him against Hillary Clinton. He perpetuated the ‘birtherism theory (the discredited Barack Obama place of birth and religion conspiracy theories) and with the support of the former president’s half brother, Malik Obama. Never mind that Malik is a black African Muslim, Trump embraced Malik because he believed the latter could provide the only ammunition he could get to attack Obama - humiliation.

Trump has a predisposition to cultural racism. In his world, white people are supreme to all other races. He may not be an overt racist but has no qualms dehumanizing people of color if it can get him a win somewhere down the line. He’d crash anyone who interferes with his trajectory to a win irrespective of their race. Take his response to several key staff who left his administration. The vitriol Trump heaped on John Bolton, Jeff Sessions (former Attorney General), James Comey (former FBI director) only escalated when it reached Omarosa Manigault, a black female. 

Grandiosity

There are only two sides in Trump’s sphere; winners and losers, and due to his assumed supremacy, he has to win at all costs. A combination of arrogance, grandiosity, and ultra-competitiveness was evident much earlier in the Republican Party presidential primaries when he got into a vigorous debate over the size of his hands, which prompted a candidate to ask him to count to ten to calm himself down. Hindsight being 20/20, that should have been enough warning for me, but I was too blind to see. Then it never occurred to me that I should have reacted in my typical form; “damn it! You are white, wealthy in a fitting tailored suit, and planning to be the President of the US of A and you are there whining like a puppy about the size of your hands; WHO CARES! you are not being recruited to come play Rugby for The Stormers!’. Or maybe if your hands were a bit larger, you would not have been sending out as many tweets.
  
Trump’s grandiosity was evident soon after his inauguration when he got into another public spat about the size of the crowd in attendance. That didn’t surprise those who knew about Trump’s fake Time Magazine cover on display in several of his properties, prompting the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold to wonder if the president knew that the cover was a fake

Having been named Time Magazine’s person of the year in 2016, Trump anticipated setting a record as the magazine’s ‘person of the year’ twice in a row. And if Time Magazine didn’t put him on the cover, he would nominate himself and then pretend to turn down the offer.

In the early morning of November 25, 2017, he fired a tweet: “Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named "Man (Person) of the Year," like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photoshoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!' The Trump I have profiled wouldn’t pass a media opportunity of this magnitude. It didn’t take long for real journalists to smell the shit in his claim, resulting in a TwitterStorm.

As the debate on Trump’s Time cover boast raged on Twitter, his administration lifted the import ban on African elephant trophies. I recalled an earlier report that had been shared with me by a Cape Town grandmother with pictures of Eric and Donald Junior on a hunting trip in Zimbabwe. Was the decision to lift the import ban meant to benefit the mini-Trumps?  My perception of an incorruptible Trump had dissipated. It didn’t help matters that at about the same time, Trump was eyeing the Nobel prize for anything.

He would blame it on North Korea and China or whoever he cancels next. … if only The Rocketman had agreed to see his world the way he did, the Nobel Committee would have had no choice, but to declare him the king of all Nobel recipients. “Damn you Rocketman!”

Seemingly envious at Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win during his first term at the White House, Trump seemed flustered that the Norwegian Nobel Committee nodded to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister - the only head of state to win the Nobel peace prize since Trump’s election in 2016 – and not to him. No wonder he was quite curious to hear from Nadia Murad, the 2018 Nobel laureate, why she was feted.

Trumpers do exist no matter the views of many of us. As I was concluding this piece, news broke that Trump was nominated for the 2021 Nobel peace prize by a Norwegian right-wing politician. Only time will tell if the Nobel Committee can overlook Trump’s flaws and award him the coveted prize and hence water-down the Nobel.

Unfortunately for Trump, the news of his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize was overshadowed by the publication of what has now been known as the Bob Woodward tapes.

I further found it curious that the only critique the Ultra-Competitive Nobody-Ever-Done-This-Before Trump did have on Michelle Obama’s DNC’s speech was “it was taped earlier” because she got the Cory deaths numbers wrong.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Trump’s campaign in 2016 revealed his misogyny. Could the female population, which the US Census Bureau showed was 50.76% of the US population, register, and vote to successfully block misogyny from the White House? I later learned that the American presidential election process is complicated. A majority vote doesn’t automatically secure victory. It seemed the rights of citizens to vote were at risk in a country that considers itself the world’s beacon of democracy.

Besides, such a person would not get significant votes in South Africa, the country of ‘Wathint Abafazi’ (You strike a woman you strike a rock). I am still struggling to understand the American electoral college system, Besides, America has various other schemes that suppress citizens’ rights to vote.

Trump’s one-track mind is presently occupied with his re-election. The complexity of his superiority cannot stand living with the realization of such a supreme ruler being recorded in history for having served a disjointed single term! History has shown us that strongman mentality is a global issue; Trump’s friend, President Vladimir Putin, found the means of clinging to power, first by temporarily demoting himself to the position of Prime Minister, then returning to the presidency, and finally his latest attempt to pull a fast one on Russians making him president for life. And in my ‘shithole’ continent of Africa (according to Trump), a strongman remains in power by all means necessary.

I hoped he’d be a president for all Americans, but I was wrong. President Trump would easily overlook hatred and criminality to embrace his support base. He views people of color in America as a threat to winning a second term, hence they are his enemy. And Trump can be so unforgiving. When congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis died in July, Trump dwelled on the fact that Lewis had skipped his inauguration and State of the Union Address four years earlier, yet as president, he'd done much for the black community. The Atlantic’s piece on Trump’s belittling of service members is yet another example of his chronic disregard of people. In our Africa, we don’t talk ill of the dead.

In my opinion, Donald nobody-ever-done-this-before Trump is just a situational racist. He would turn a blind eye to evil if it serves his purpose. The question is, how many more Trump-loving Kyle Rittenhouse’s exist with their AR-15-style rifles, ready to receive the coded message to wreak havoc on opponents (perceived or otherwise) who are deemed hindrance to his precious second term at the White House? If an enemy’s house was on fire, he would not just look the other way, but would not even lift the not-so-small hands to call 911.

The ‘cory’ pandemic

So, why should Africans care about Donald nobody-ever-done-this-before Trump’s mishandling of the ‘Cory’ pandemic, as the youngsters in some parts of Africa call the coronavirus? Firstly, I don’t claim to speak for the continent when saying that we should care.

In the early 1990s, I encountered two American Peace Corp volunteers working on agriculture and water projects in a rural African community. I was perplexed that Americans thought our people needed lessons on planting potatoes and getting water from rivers and springs, yet our ancestors have done it for centuries. It’s been almost 30 years since the encounter with the volunteers and I still recall the quip by the water expert; “Listen, in schools in the US it’s drilled into us from an early age that America is the policeman of the world.” Meanwhile, many African young students, as far back as post-independent Africa, aspire to pursue higher study at American universities.

The Kennedy Airlift program in 1959 indeed introduced African students to American higher education. Among the beneficiaries of the Kennedy Airlift were Barack Obama Sr. and the late Prof. Wangari Maathai. The project produced several firsts, including the first African woman Ph.D. holder in science and the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (Maathai), and the first black American president, Barack Obama.

The greatness of American universities was noticed by others like Shyamala Gopalan, (a breast cancer researcher from India) and her husband, Donald J Harris, (an economist from Jamaica). These are the parents of Kamala Harris, the running-mate of Joe Biden on the Democratic Party ticket. Harris is the first black Indian American woman VP nominee by a major political party.  Should Biden win the elections, she’d bag another first – the first black Indian American Vice President.

However, Trump’s administration has dimmed the country’s democracy beacon. 

While his attack on the media could have been an attempt to settle some personal scores with Jeff Preston Bezos with the rest of us being mere collateral damage, it’s not acceptable. We have seen how his buddy in the Philippines has dealt with one of the few independent media in that country. And who can forget the impunity with which his Saudi friends killed Jamal Khashoggi? Trump has continued to dance with dictators including Egyptian Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi who has kept Al Jazeera’s journalist Mahmoud Hussein locked up without trial.

The mishandling of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic by his administration is partly due to Trump’s inability to multi-task. His focus on January 20 when the first case of Cory was confirmed in the US, was surviving his impeachment trial. Assured of an acquittal by the senate majority leader, Trump headed to the World Economic Forum in Davos to continue his fight with teenage environmentalist, Greta Thunberg. On the same day and still focused on his re-election, he tweeted his support for pro-gun protestors in Virginia.

safeguarding his precious trade deal

Flashback to 2014 when the Ebola virus was ravaging West Africa. The world classness of American scientists was evident as soon as the first case arrived in the US of A. Within months, the virus was understood and contained, with a biopharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences Inc., developing the drug Remdesivir to treat Ebola.  Depending on the source of information, the US reported one or two Ebola deaths.

With that in mind, when Cory struck China in December 2019 I expected the US to take the lead in searching for the answers to contain the virus. My silent prayers in the early days of the outbreak were for the Cory to land somewhere in the US of A. The least we could do was to hibernate in our homes as world-class scientists worked on a way out; just as they had done with Ebola. However, seeing the number of deaths in Trumpland so far, I now wish I could take back those silent prayers, as no one deserves to die.

But as we entered pandemic hibernation in early 2020, I felt a tiny knot in my stomach after pondering the many cautionary examples of past mistakes and misjudgments that have arisen and disrupted the normal functioning of society ever since my man took residency at the White House.

The quote by the philosopher George Santayana, ‘those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it’, crossed my mind as I monitored America’s response to the pandemic. While President Woodrow Wilson’s administration had equally downplayed the severity of the influenza outbreak in 1918 (nobody-ever-done-this-before Trump has repeatedly changed the year of the influenza outbreak to 1917). Information on the influenza virus was suppressed using authoritarian tactics. For example, Woodrow ordered the Postmaster General not to accept publications that mentioned the outbreak fearing that the morale of deployed troops abroad would be affected by the news about the outbreak.

The only country that never played down the Great Influenza of 1918 was Spain, hence the tag Spanish Flu

But at the same time, Wilson, himself an academic, let scientists continue their work freely albeit over-ruling their advice to ban mass gatherings. That freedom enabled an important finding by Dr. Anna Williams showing that a virus and not a bacterium caused influenza as her male colleagues had thought. In a classic example of the gender issues prevalent in many workplaces today, Dr. Williams’ boss, Dr. William Hallock Park (a man) was credited with this lifesaving discovering.

Santayana’s quote aptly captures humanity’s too-often failure at learning from past mistakes. The cherry pickers surrounding Trump thought like Wilson, they could wish away the coronavirus despite the different context. Hearing Trump’s version of the causes of the American Civil War and his attribution of influenza to the ending of the Second World War, I didn’t have much confidence he’d appreciate the lessons from one of the deadliest plagues in the history of mankind. 

I doubted whether the US scientists would have the freedom to do what they do best – science. Trump had pulled America out of the Paris Agreement on climate change and criticized the ‘perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse’. Would he listen to the advice of the epidemiologists working to confront the coronavirus?

On January 20 as Trump was boarding Airforce One for Davos World Economic Forum, the World Health Organization called for an emergency meeting to address what was then a mysterious illness. The US is represented at the WHO, meaning its scientists had access to the then-available data.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a level 3 warning for travelers from Wuhan on January 23rd and escalated it to level 4 the following day – there were already a few confirmed cases in the USA. Meanwhile, China locked down Wuhan, a city with a population of 11 million people amidst protests from some quarters that the measure was extreme. By then there were 41 reported deaths globally, the majority of them in China.  Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC went on record to inform the public that the virus was transmissible from person to person even though the epidemiology of the virus wasn’t known. This simply meant the spread of the virus could be slowed through social distancing. I recall being advised to sneeze into our elbows and not to touch our faces.

Misplaced priorities: Cory is coming but the American strongman is keeping his base happy

Trump’s social media activity around this time shows he was pre-occupied with his impeachment trial and the State of the Union Address. By that time the US had confirmed seven cases.

The first lot of American evacuees from Wuhan landed at March Air Reserve Base in California on January 29th, some nine days after the first case was confirmed in American soil. Trump also launched the President’s Coronavirus Task Force mandated to monitor and prevent the spread of the virus, which had by then reportedly claimed 170 lives in China. Still, it publicly appeared he hadn’t taken the outbreak seriously – he didn’t mention the coronavirus during his nearly 80-minutes State of the Union Address on February 4.

The only scientists in the 12-member White House response task force were CDC’s Robert Redfield and Anthony Fauci of NIAID, an indication that the task force would be seeking non-scientific means of addressing the outbreak. The press release from the White House named Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services and former pharmaceutical lobbyist, as the head of the task force. Vice President Mike Pence took over as head a few days later, but Trump soon stole the limelight and produced an unmatched debacle of daily briefings that were viewed by millions of people globally including myself.

Thanks to Trump-Bob Woodward's Tapes, we now know that he understood the severity of the Cory much earlier than the American public. and decided to deliberately withhold the information. This explains why some key individuals including Republican Senator Richard Burr are under investigations for insider trading for having off-loaded some of their stocks shortly before the pandemic-related market meltdown. On this revelation, I blame Woodward for having withheld this crucial information from the public. Don't we do our work in the public interest?  He should not have withheld the information for seven months.

Trump I previously admired is coming across as an individual lacking both historical and present perspectives. From lambasting the former administration for the lack of testing kits to turning his nose up at the pandemic playbook developed in 2016, left for him by President Obama; better than thee mentality could not let him accept hand-me-downs. Trump has had an explanation for every issue. The pandemic playbook caused some awkward moments in Trump’s camp, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denying and then admitting the existence of the Obama-Biden pandemic playbook. Meanwhile, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary was at pains explaining the logic of developing a fresh playbook. The fact is, the new playbook hasn't worked. As of Friday, September 11, according to data from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, at least 193,215 people had lost their lives to Cory and still climbing.

By late April as New York State remained the hotspot for the virus in the US, the Food and Drug Administration touted Remdesiviri as a potential remedy for coronavirus. My immediate concern was for the Ebola patients in the DRC. Would there be a Remdesiviri stock-out in the  Great Lakes nation if indeed the drug worked on the coronavirus? For weeks Trump had peddled hydroxychloroquine as a cure for Cory. He then successfully bullied India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sell nearly all available stock of India’s manufactured hydroxychloroquine to America. This consequently led to traders hoarding of the drug that’s used to manage several ailments is still worrying some patients globally even today.

Remdesivir for American Cory victims leaving Ebola victims in DRC high and dry

Trump used the coronavirus daily briefings to punt hair-brained theories on how to beat the virus and for self-adulation. After analyzing hours of his televised appearances and speeches, I concluded he displays what psychologists call delusions of grandeur. His grandiosity puts him at odds with such experts such as Dr. Fauci, a renowned immunologist, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response team. I would particularly like to know the opinion of body language experts about Dr. Birx’s reaction to Trump suggesting injections of disinfectant to cure corona, considering my past coverage of fake cures I got more interested.

On the same disinfectant-injection announcement day, when he continued to talk of shining some powerful light onto the body to make the virus disappear, my mind immediately went down the historic lane to a person I have been barred from mentioning in our pages.

At that very moment, my cellphone started vibrating on my desk and I knew exactly who the caller was the Afrocentric Briton. I let the call vibrate off. I wasn't ready for some reminder of my man at the White House.

Author and comedian, Sarah Cooper, has a good grasp of how Trump operates, which has helped me to understand the president’s coronavirus briefings. Cooper points out that Trump always appears to be talking his thoughts aloud to himself, without caring who his audience is as opposed to most people who normally reflect on their thoughts before speaking.

Trump’s current display of grandiosity goes back to his days on The Apprentice TV series and the obsession with high ratings to justify keeping the show on the air. But the ratings for news programming differ from entertainment shows, and reality television genius Mark Burnett must have told him that in the early days of The Apprentice. The business of news isn’t as lucrative compared with entertainment programming. This has had ramifications for the once-thriving news outlets.

The strategy to alibi himself with the First Lady when caught with his pants down coupled with his pathology to lie has been his downfall. In trying to fend off the Losers & Suckers report by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, he went on Fox News to claim how disappointed he had been for not being able to visit the cemetery that he had called back home to share his disappointment with the First Lady. The same First Lady had similarly been used to get a review on his Tulsa campaign rally. “The rally was leading in all the channels, but not his speech; the empty seats, the First Lady had allegedly told him.

The moment Trump’s grandiosity took over the fight against Cory, the consequences became disastrous. He focused on the superior testing capabilities of the US while justifying the high number of confirmed cases. It took persistent inquiries from some journalists about the rising numbers of hospitalization and deaths to get the president to face the grim reality of the virus. Remarkably the Australian journalist, Jonathan Swan, refused to be distracted and tore down Trump’s dishonest talking points in an exclusive interview with the president. 

Trump failed to take responsibility for the pandemic and cared more about how the White House response looks for him. Shortly after launching the response task force, he spent his visit to the CDC attacking his critics and praising his being very smart

Cognitive Assessment

As Trump bragged about acing the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test, it got me wondering if the test measured a person's IQ.

I didn't know of the Cognitive Assessment test until I started my post-stroke treatment. Only then did my medics told me about the MoCA test and administered one on me; and unlike Trump, I scored 24/30, two points below normal. I was in the middle of my treatment when Cory and subsequent lockdown happened. I still contacted my medics to check if the test she had administered on me could have been meant to gauge my intelligence or lack thereof. She just laughed at me and promised to perform a test showing lack of intelligence sometimes in the future.

Created by Dr. Ziad Nasreddine in 1996, the test is supposed to help doctors detect early signs of Alzheimer’s and other brain deterioration. The MoCA, which is also used in stroke and brain injury rehabilitation, should be easy for people with no cognitive impairment. What did his handlers at the White House see to motivate for the cognitive assessment test, considering they must have already known about his self-aggrandizement, profuse lying, and a good memory? His memory rivals that of an African Elephant. That's how he can easily remember all those who have crossed him in the past. He has a perfect memory. 

Smart individuals, including South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe and Cameroonian-American Alien expert doctor, Stella Immanuel, know the effect of stroking the ego of the self-proclaimed ‘chosen one’.

As he prepared for the Davos meeting, Motsepe must have had a thorough social profile of Trump. Whether it was a single page or a volume on Trump, it must have included a line like, ‘Trump is a sucker for adulation’ and he was out to play him, and he succeeded. In soothing him, Motsepe just needed to imply that he (Trump) is equally the chosen one for Africa. That’s another kudos for a black African who succeeded in playing Trump. Though I haven't spoken to Motsepe, I believe he is a patriot. At that time, South Africa's economy was hurting from Trump's created trade war with China. 

Cory President of the Year

Choosing the winner of the Coronavirus President of the Year was easy. The title is for the leader who has shown the most irrational response to the pandemic. Trump had weak competition, except a few contenders that were considered mainly for prescribing untested herbal products and prayers as the only remedies in their countries. As I grant Trump the title of Cory President of the Year, I pause and acknowledge the great impact – visible and invisible – of the pandemic on the entire world.

We are on our own: Social distancing, face masks and hygiene is the only way for now

As Winston Churchill once said, an optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity.  I believe in the power of hope and solidarity as we move to overcome the crisis and continue striving for egalitarian and just societies. My gratitude goes out to those frontline workers who have selflessly been risking their lives to help us deal with Cory. In the meantime, I think we are on our own; so, we have to just rely on those seemingly simple things that have kept the infection rates and deaths so low in our shithole continent; Social distancing, hygiene, and face masks.

The only time I really panicked was when South African president Cyril Ramaphosa publicly declared his gratitude for ventilators Trump had donated to South Africa. While I was glad that at least some Cory patients would benefit, my mind first recalled how the same Trump administration had reportedly sent defective ventilators to California. Could similarly defective ventilators have been sent down here! Then it occurred to me that South African scientists are smart enough to first evaluate the ventilators before being dispatched to provincial hospitals. After all, didn’t the country produce the first heart transplanting surgeon? I didn’t expect the ventilators to be ferried directly from the airport to wherever. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for all countries on this continent.

Cory has however brought out the best and the worst in humanity. We have been introduced to a new means of holding peaceful protests. Instead of having street protests, activists should just identify the head of the organization they have issues with and proceed to their homes with everything from their kitchen sinks and make some noise in their neighborhoods. It worked at US Postmaster General’s house. I can just imagine activists descending at Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato’s home with instrumental containers grinding against each other. Or at the residence of President Ramaphosa. But please activists, do not try this in Egypt or Zimbabwe. As Cory wreaked havoc around the world, for the first time in the history of the new democratic South Africa there have been no cries from white South African threatening to migrate to other countries.

If it weren’t for Cory forcing us into our homes (lockdown) and staring at our television screens, the killing of George Floyd would not have been watched by as many people. Hence Cory has enabled us to say that the emperor has no clothes. To Americans, as they head to the polls this November, they should remember that elections have consequences. They should also reflect on the works of the 18th Century French philosopher, Joseph de Maistre, “every nation gets the government it deserves.”

I hesitate to argue further.