President Trump’s grotesque coronavirus theater

President Donald Trump has reminded the world why the country is in such dire straits under his leadership.



a man wearing a suit and tie: US President Donald Trump takes off his facemask as he arrives at the White House upon his return from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he underwent treatment for Covid-19, in Washington, DC, on October 5, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)


© Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump takes off his facemask as he arrives at the White House upon his return from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he underwent treatment for Covid-19, in Washington, DC, on October 5, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Returning to the White House while still infected with a potentially deadly virus, he ostentatiously turned to the cameras and removed his facemask before walking in, making his every breath inside the building a threat to the health of the people working there. It was one more grotesque piece of Trump’s coronavirus theater of the past few days, which for some reason he thinks will boost his political prospects, but more likely horrified those increasingly appalled by his behavior.



a person posing for the camera: Frida Ghitis


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Frida Ghitis

If you thought that after coming face to face with his mortality the President would experience a life-changing moment of deep introspection, you were wrong. On the contrary, Trump’s illness appears to have solidified his unwavering faith in the catastrophic policies that left not only him and his staff unprotected from a pandemic, but encouraged Americans to take deadly risks and pay with their lives.

Three days after the Marine One helicopter performed a medical evacuation of the President of the United States from the White House lawn, Trump tweeted a startling message; startling, because it shows an utter inability to learn from experience. After announcing he would leave the hospital on Monday, he tweeted to tens of millions of followers:

“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

It’s a message that will cost more lives.

Most people, after enduring a jolting, potentially life-threatening event, emerge changed, even if only temporarily. There was a chance Trump would realize he had not warned Americans enough about the virus; a chance he would recognize that his nonchalance had resulted in deep suffering among those who ended up sick or who lost a loved one who followed his advice about masks and social distancing not being essential. There was a slim hope that after enduring Covid-19 he might say, or at least think, “I was wrong. I should be more careful and tell the American people that we should all take the disease seriously.”

Not him. Nothing has changed.

It’s all theater. It’s all show. Who else puts on a suit and tie for an emergency helicopter ride to the hospital? It’s all about creating an image and benefiting from it.

That has been his tactical approach to the pandemic all along. Tell Americans the virus is no big deal, get on with your lives, so that he can continue claiming that he’s doing a great job as President. It’s the strategy that has left the United States with the highest number of infections and deaths in the world — 4%

New possible health care benefit rule roils theater world

The U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 theater actors and stage managers is blasting a proposal that would raise eligibility requirements for members to receive health care

“We all understand that there is no escaping the devastating loss of months of employer contributions nationwide, and no alternative aside from making adjustments to the plan. But I believe that the fund had both the obligation and the financial reserves to take the time to make better choices,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association.

Many actors and stage managers have been unable to qualify for the necessary weeks of work for eligibility since theaters went dark in March. Equity represents actors and stage managers across the nation.

In a statement, the fund said: “The past six months have been among the most difficult any of us has ever faced. We recognize the emotional and financial burdens you are facing.” It added: “After looking at many different approaches, the Trustees have developed a solution that balances meaningful coverage with the long-term sustainability of the fund.”

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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New Possible Health Care Benefit Rule Roils Theater World | Entertainment News

By MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 theater actors and stage managers is blasting a proposal that would raise eligibility requirements for members to receive health care during the pandemic.

The Equity-League Pension Health Fund on Thursday proposed hiking the number of weeks of employment needed to qualify for six months of health care coverage from 11 weeks to 16 weeks. The proposal would start on Jan. 1, 2021. Individuals who work at least 12 weeks will qualify for low-tier plans with higher co-payments and additional restrictions.

The proposal has angered Actors’ Equity Association, which has been lobbying for more access to health care for its members, especially during the pandemic when members are out of work. The Equity-League Benefit Funds is a separate organization.

“We all understand that there is no escaping the devastating loss of months of employer contributions nationwide, and no alternative aside from making adjustments to the plan. But I believe that the fund had both the obligation and the financial reserves to take the time to make better choices,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association.

Many actors and stage managers have been unable to qualify for the necessary weeks of work for eligibility since theaters went dark in March. Equity represents actors and stage managers across the nation.

The Equity-League Health Fund is governed by a board of trustees, with half appointed by Equity and the other half by the Broadway League, which represents producers. It provides health, pension and 401(k) benefits. In August, it hiked up quarterly premiums for health care and prescription drug plan coverage to $300 from $100.

In a statement, the fund said: “The past six months have been among the most difficult any of us has ever faced. We recognize the emotional and financial burdens you are facing.” It added: “After looking at many different approaches, the Trustees have developed a solution that balances meaningful coverage with the long-term sustainability of the fund.”

Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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