Terry H. Schwadron
Nov. 19, 2020
With the rush of good news about at least two emergent coronavirus vaccines, we keep hearing that discordant reminder that we lack a coordinated federal plan for actual distribution.
The airwaves are filled with deliberate tsking about how we don’t yet know how logistics for supercooled delivery of vaccines will work, about how Donald Trump’s recalcitrance in working with an incoming Joe Biden administration can slow the process and about the need to clear some last FDA hurdles.
Combined, Pfizer and Moderna may be able to produce only a limited supply of doses by January, and so, the question becomes where the first the doses will go.
But our national worrywarts are skipping over the obvious: Donald Trump remains president until Jan. 20. So long as there is a microphone and television spotlight available to him on command, Trump, now armed with his own viral antibodies, is showing us that there will be no issue in selecting who can get a potentially life-saving set of vaccines.
In fact, as Trump curiously broods in the White House basement, the problem he will have is packing whom to shove to the end of the line, even though he already has singled out the State of New York for the privilege.
Trump has made it pattern that whether it is hurricane aid, emergency equipment or exemptions from off-shore drilling rigs, the critical factor is making nice to him. If you criticize Donald Trump, expect to be sent to the federal goodies basement.
Why should vaccines be any different?
Who’s on First?
First in line, naturally, will be Trump family and Rudy Giuliani, clearly the nation’s most essential workers. Who else would be willing to shoulder the daily burden of filing frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit over election results that won’t change — and look like a public idiot in the process.
Next might be that suite of Walter Reed Hospital doctors who gave Trump himself the full Monty of medications when he himself proved positive. Sure, other medical personnel can get the vaccines, but only if they remember to re-use their protective gear until it shreds, and to include hydroxychloroquine in their prescriptions.
After all, what’s the point of being president if you can’t tell people to shoot bleach into their veins, complain about a lack of adulation over direction of national coronavirus policy and still ignore more than 250,000 deaths. At least, socialism didn’t take hold on his watch.
Next might be the entire state of Georgia — if they show up with the right results in the pending two Senate races. But if they elect Democrats, they should use those mail ballots to continue sending unrequited requests for vaccines.
And Trump’s golf caddies, who indeed are essential, as is the tanning bed technician and everyone working at his favorite take-out Wendy’s.
Special requests for early vaccination might include Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, who reminds us weekly that he also needs a soul replacement, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for herding his spineless Republican colleagues into backing every nutty thing Trump says and for having parked logic and reason a safe distance from the Capitol.
Also high up on the list should be Stephen Miller, the White House immigration whisperer, for insisting that immigrants should be last because they are not quite human. In fact, just to help out, the Trump administration made the citizenship test more difficult and time-consuming, assuring that fewer applicants will pass.
Indeed, Trump will be quick to approve vaccines for a select group of 70 million who remembered their self-interest in voting for him. The rest of the country, of course, can continue dying at 1,000 Americans a day through this still-rising wave of coronavirus.
Other End of the List
The more difficult issue for Trump is deciding who should be last to be saved from contagion. This week, Trump sent Christopher Krebs, a federal cybersecurity elections supervisor, who had the temerity to say that our elections had passed without the widespread fraud that Trump sees in a losing total, to the wrong end of the vaccine line, joining such notables as Michael Cohen, Robert S. Mueller III, James Comey Jr., Andrew McCabe and several ex-defense secretaries.
The entire states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin fell precipitously on the list from first to something nearer New Jersey status, though Florida and that place where seniors campaigned for him in golf cart parades probably rose in the ranks,
Of course, Trump must have a category beyond end-of-line for Hillary Clinton and the staffs of The New York Times and The Washington Post, to say nothing of this columnist.
And as for Biden himself, Trump likely just thinks he’ll die of old age or sleepiness even if coronavirus is rebuffed by the biggest mask around.