Testimony of a testy man being put to the test on testing
Fresh out of the fiery, flaming, burning, blazing pizza oven that is the White House’s daily coronavirus press briefing, President Donald Trump emerged red hot, bothered, salty, cheesy, crusty, slightly charred, covered in tomato sauce and without olives — not even an olive branch for journalists and healthcare workers. Luckily, The California Aggie’s very own reporter R.E. Porter and cameraman Cam Raman were lying in wait for our lyre (not fiddle) playing liar of a president with oven mitts, a heavy duty stainless steel pizza slicer and a professional-grade, 26-inch perforated anodized aluminum non-stick pizza peel with a varnished wooden heritage handle — everything needed for an exclusive interview with the commander-in-chief.
Will these chic culinary contraptions help our team to carefully handle his spicy ego, cool him off, smack some sense into him and actually get some answers about his response to the pandemic? Or will the pressure make him heat up again and revert back to his same hyper-defensive responses from the press briefings?
Mr. Trump: My God, it’s like a goddamn warzone out there! So many vicious, horrible questions. When you think about it, I should — are you listening? — should really be considered a wartime president for the attacks I have to deal with from you people in the media. It’s like, uh, not nice.
R.E. Porter: Well alright then sir, but we’re actually here to talk more about the coronavirus pandemic, which you —
Mr. Trump: Oh Jesus here you go again…
R.E. Porter: You already said that this pandemic makes you a “wartime president.” We would just like to know more about how your approach has changed since March 18, a month ago, when you made those remar—
Mr. Trump: Yeah, I view it as, I’m a wartime president. It’s a war, and I have a lot of wartime experience that has prepared me for this. I basically was in Vietnam, okay?
R.E. Porter: I was under the impression that you got a medical deferment and were not in Vietnam. What are you refer—
R.E. Porter [nonverbally via eyebrows]: Did he just say that?
Cam Raman [barely audible]: F*****g s**t….
Cam Raman [fourth wall break]: Whoops, I’m gonna have to edit out my voice right there, aren’t I?
Mr. Trump: ….and since Howard asked me if I ever had sex with Anna Nicole Smith, I said, “If I had sex with a number of women that I’m supposed to have had sex with, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. I’d be dead!”
R.E. Porter: Yeah okay sir, uh… do you really think it’s appropriate to feed into stigmatization around people with STDs like this, Mr. President? This is really not the most tasteful or appropriate way to talk about these iss—
Mr. Trump: Well maybe you should try to stop stigmatizing all these poor people that are sick with the coronavirus by social distancing from them. You know, convincing everyone that we have to do this is such — probably, and believe me, I have a hunch — such an overreaction, and now these sick folks will be stigmatized and blamed for destroying our economy when it’s really the dishonest people in the media like you.
R.E. Porter: Mr. President, I think that’s a bit rash of you. And we’ve drifted very far astray from what this interview was supposed to be about. Healthcare workers are still very concerned about the severe lack of coronavirus testing. As Dr. Amy Cho recently said on CNN, without testing, we are “flying blind” and “have to continue to burn through extensive amounts of personal protective equipment” in order to prevent “increasing our risk of exposures to healthcare workers, as well as to the general public.” She added that “We need the testing. Most states across the country are limiting testing to healthcare workers and to hospitalized patients because we have to ration our supp—”
Mr. Trump: No, no, no, I’m not being rash, there’s no rash, there’s no rationing. You’re not a very good reporter, are you? You asked me what my approach is and I’m simply telling you how Vietnam and syphilis prepared me for coronavirus. Look, I never worry about personal protection, okay? And I’ve never gotten anything. But I know everything about it from what people are saying and that prepared me. Just like I told Howard, “It’s almost like I won the lottery thus far in life. I’m very lucky in that way.” That’s why I’m not worrying about corona testing now, even though I tested negative anyway. And that’s why I don’t think testing is a problem anymore.
R.E. Porter: Why are you saying this when we know from your phone call with governors that Montana Governor Steve Bullock said they are struggling with contact tracing because they don’t have adequate testing? He said, “Literally we are one day away, if we don’t get test kits from the CDC, that we wouldn’t be able to do testing in Mont—”
Mr. Trump: I’m gonna tell you what I told Steve, and that’s that I haven’t heard about testing in weeks. And as I already said during the briefing, “The models show hundreds of thousands of people are going to die. I want to come way under the models. The professionals did the models. I was never involved in a model. But — at least this kind of a model.”
R.E. Porter: I know that you were already asked about this, but I’d like to repeat Kristin Fisher’s question: “The Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services recently released a report on over 300 hospitals across the country and the number one complaint from those hospitals were severe shortages of testing supplies and really long wait —”
Mr. Trump: It’s just wrong, it’s just wrong […] Give me the name of the inspector general, could politics be entered into this?
R.E. Porter: But this is your own governme—
Mr. Trump: You should be thanking me, congratulating me, not asking such horrid questions. You see what you’re doing, this is what the media always do. Now you’re just stigmatizing me for being president. Guess what? I’m president. I’m making good decisions. If you’d actually read my book “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire,” maybe you’d be able to rest easy knowing that I “treat each decision like a lover.” That’s why I’m not worried about testing.
R.E. Porter: Mr. President, all of the information points to there being considerable reason to worry about your testing situation. Accurate information is essential in order to keep Americans healthy and safe. Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera recently said, “If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds then you don’t have this disease.” Do you have a response for people who have spread dangerous information and debunked claims like that?
Mr. Trump: Geraldo Rivera is a friend of mine, but he did something that I thought was absolutely terrible and he admits it was a mistake. He wrote a book naming many of the famous women that he slept with. I would never do that — I have too much respect for women in general, but if I did, the world would take serious notice. Beautiful, famous, successful, married — I’ve had them all, secretly, the world’s biggest names, but unlike Geraldo I don’t talk about it.
R.E. Porter: Sir, that doesn’t answer the ques—
Mr. Trump: Listen to me, I’ll decide what my response is, okay? As I also wrote in “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire,” “Sometimes you decide immediately — love at first sight. Sometimes you go slowly—the long engagement. […] Sometimes you’ll think with your head. Other times you’ll think with other parts of your body, and that’s good.”
Anonymous [offstage]: Goddamnit! This pizza is totally burnt to a crisp! And what did I overhear about a rash of rationing? What type of testing have you actually been talking about this whole time anyway?
Written by: Benjamin Porter— firstname.lastname@example.org
(This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)