Although it should have come as no surprise, Donald Trump’s unprecedented decision to add his name to stimulus checks going out to millions of Americans under the CARE Act still has left jaws dropping across the beleaguered land, which is approaching 650,000 cases of the COVID-19 virus Trump predicted would soon be down to zero (“like a miracle”).
News organizations report Trump actually approached Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to request he be allowed to have his signature on the checks, but he was told he is not an authorized Department of the Treasury signer, so he had to settle for an imprint on the left side of the checks that reads in the memo line, “Economic Impact Payment, President Donald J. Trump.” Most sources agree this will delay printing of the checks for up to a week.
Of course, this move will only help in his re-election effort with Americans who do not have direct-deposit arrangements with the IRS, since the direct deposits, if my own is any example, simply say, “TAX REF.”
But Democrats would be wise to indulge the president’s desire to have his name associated with everything connected with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
For example, if Nancy Pelosi is reading this she should immediately introduce legislation in the House to call all coronavirus tests kits produced from today forward “Donald J. Trump Coronavirus Test Kits.”
That lagging federal response, whether the government produces them directly, buys them from private contractors, or orders them made under the Defense Production Act, would immediately ramp up from a few hundred thousand to 500 million — enough to test most Americans twice.
Likewise, we need a bill to name all ventilators produced henceforward “Donald J. Trump Ventilators.” Even Democratic governors like Cuomo, Murphy, Newsom and Whitmer would quickly receive thousands more than they are likely to need.
And social distancing policies? How about the “Donald J. Trump Six-Foot Rule” and the “Donald J. Trump Stay At Home Order”?
We would see even reluctant governors like South Dakota’s Kristi Noem issue the new orders with Trump’s blessing. Perhaps they could even be stamped on Smithfield’s pork loins.
Trump might even take to wearing a facial mask himself if it were labeled with the Trump logo and of course colored in a shade of orange to coordinate with his tan and his combover.
And those MAGA hats? If someone could redesign them with a clear facial shield attachment and label them “Donald J. Trump Make America Safe Again” there would suddenly be enough for every healthcare worker on the planet.
Hospital gowns? Tint them tangerine and brand them with the Trump logo and there would magically be enough for every orderly and EMT, not to mention doctors and nurses.
Let’s not forget the desperately needed serology kits containing antibody tests. Name them after Trump and we might actually begin to figure out who has and hasn’t had the virus.
Savvy Republicans might not be overly eager to go along with these Democratic initiatives, but how could even Mitch McConnell balk at these pure and noble efforts to help Trump increase his precious self-aggrandizement? As we used to say in an earlier troubled era, they’d be caught between Iraq and a hard place.
The only thing stopping Democrats would be knowing Trump would soon insist on modifying all the labels to add “2020” after his name, so they should hurry up and pass the legislation before he thinks of it.
Because, as we know from the pandemic, he may be self-serving but he’s not quick, our Donald.
Steve Klinger, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a veteran community journalist and college English instructor based in southern New Mexico.