Opinion: Trump’s cosmic irony and toxic masculinity

President Trump contracted COVID-19 about three weeks ago. This was a huge irony. This was the man who had downplayed the virus, refused to take appropriate action and turned a serious epidemic into a partisan issue. This was also the man who insisted that everyone who meets with him be tested for coronavirus, while telling the American people not to worry about the virus. A man who got tested everyday telling the American people that there is plenty of testing while America continues to this day not to have enough tests available. This man got the virus in an almost cosmic irony. This alone should have woken up Trump’s supporters and discredit him in their eyes, but it didn’t.

After contracting COVID-19, President Trump had to be taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. In this obviously difficult time for Trump, he made some noteworthy videos and public appearances. He demonstrated just how much he had internalized and how much he felt pressured by toxic American masculinity culture. Trump once again showed how insecure he is. He is a man who constantly acts in ways to look as “manly” as possible. After a comment from Marco Rubio, Trump made it a point in the 2016 primary debates to say “Look at those hands. Are they small hands? And he referred to my hands — if they’re small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there’s no problem, I guarantee.” We are all familiar with the Access Hollywood leak, which shows Trump brag about his ability to sexually take advantage of women. After contracting a deadly disease, Trump felt the need to show how tough and manly he is once again. He made a big deal to give some public statements, to be seen publicly at the White House despite his obviously breathing struggles. All of this within days. And it hasn’t stopped there. 

Trump said at his rally in Sanford, Florida, how he is “very young” and “in such perfect shape.” He also said how he “feels so powerful,” would “walk into the audience” and “kiss everyone in that audience.” On Twitter he said, “I feel better than I did 20 years ago!” Saying that he is overcompensating would be an understatement. President Trump received medical care and attention unavailable to the rest of the United States. And he has the audacity to tell the American people “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” 

Over 210,000 Americans have died from the Coronavirus. The United States is 4% of the world’s population but has 25% of the world’s cases.  Much of these problems stem from the response, or lack thereof, of the Trump administration. The American people should be scared. President Trump’s projection of toxic masculinity tells people that getting the virus or dying from it is a sign of weakness. This is a dangerous, irresponsible and downright evil thing to believe. Victim blaming accomplishes nothing. President Trump has somehow managed to learn nothing from contracting coronavirus and is using his recovery as propaganda to deceive the American people about a deadly virus.

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