Museum of America in the Pandemic Year, 2020

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Oct 4: While still infectious, Trump leaves the hospital in an SUV to wave at nearby fans. Reports reveal Trump kept his positive covid test a secret on October 1, when he called in to Fox News and mentioned that his aid, Hope Hicks, had the virus. Biden widens his lead over Trump in the polls.

Oct 5: Trump comes home from the hospital, staging a cinematic return, maskless and breathing hard, on the lawn of the White House. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” he tweets. The CDC offers to contact trace the coronavirus outbreak in the White House. The White House refuses and there is no official contact tracing occurs for over 200 people potentially exposed to the virus in the White House. Biden says it is a “patriotic” duty to wear a mask to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. The White House is blocking proposed Food and Drug Administration guidelines for the emergency release of a coronavirus vaccine because of a provision highly likely to prevent the authorization of a vaccine before the Nov. 3 election, The New York Times and Politico report.

From the cutting room floor ...

As Trump mounts the White House stairs, the lines from “Don’t Cry for me, Argentina,” come to mind.

“It won’t be easy, you’ll think it strange
When I try to explain how I feel
That I still need your love after all that I’ve done
You won’t believe me…

“And as for fortune, and as for fame
I never invited them in
Though it seemed to the world they were all I desired
They are illusions

“They’re not the solutions they promised to be
The answer was here all the time
I love you and hope you love me…

The title of the song comes from the epitaph on a plaque at Eva Peron’s grave in Buenos Aires, “Don’t cry for me Argentina, I remain quite near to you,” it reads.[1] The music critic, Erik Haagensen, writes that Tim Rice intended the song to be a “string of meaningless platitudes,” delivered by a “megalomaniac” who is “attempting to bamboozle half a million people” by using high emotional display and intensity, with low content.[2] This is the formula that we have seen Trump and his supporters like Limbaugh use from the beginning. It works because it has always worked.

How ironic that today is Eva Peron’s one-hundredth birthday! One wonders if, under his breath, Trump is humming. His reference to Evita was so clear that Patti LuPone, the famous mezzo-soprano who played Peron on Broadway, tweeted “I still have the lung power, and I wore less makeup.”


[1] Randy Mink, “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina,” Journal & Topics, January 20, 2020,

[2] Erik Haagensen, “Book and Lyrics By,” Backstage, June 26, 2002,

Read more

Jacobson, Don, Daniel Uria, and Jean Lotus. “President Donald Trump Discharged from Hospital, Returns to White House.” UPI, October 5, 2020.

Khalil, Ashraf. “D.C. Health Department Can’t Reach White House for COVID-19 Tracing, Bowser Says.” PBS NewsHour, October 5, 2020.

Santucci, John, and Katherine Faulders. “White House Aides Anxious as Coronavirus Cases Rise in Trump’s Orbit: Sources.” ABC News, October 5, 2020.

Regalado, Antonio. “Trump’s Antibody Treatment Was Tested Using Cells Originally Derived from an Abortion.” MIT Technology Review, October 7, 2020.

Christensen, Jen. “Regeneron’s Antibody Cocktail for Coronavirus: Early Data Shows Promising Results.” CNN, September 29, 2020.

La Monica, Paul R. “Trump Has Ties to Drugmaker Regeneron — and Now Its Stock Is Surging.” CNN, October 5, 2020.

CDC. “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Transmission.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 6, 2020.

Miller, Tim. “The Weirdest 90 Seconds in Presidential History.” The Bulwark, October 6, 2020.

Brenan, Meghan. “One in Four Americans Consider Abortion a Key Voting Issue.”, July 7, 2020.

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