Fear Itself: Trump and His Critics Hit A Feverish Pitch After Release From Walter Reed

Many believe that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest single line came in his 1933 inaugural address when he declared that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear is a precursor to panic and FDR gave the country hope.  President Trump has repeatedly said that he wants to maintain the same positive attitude but it was hardly a FDR moment yesterday when Trump told citizens “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” Many of us have denounced the statement as absolutely reckless for a president to make in the middle of a pandemic. At the same time, Trump critics have denounced the President while engaging in utter hysteria over the President’s release. Yesterday, for example, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC commentator Jennifer Rubin appeared to become utterly unglued over the release and tweeted that his doctor should be stripped of his license and Walter Reed “defunded.”I cannot imagine a more irresponsible comment than telling people not to fear Covid. I can understand the push to reopen the economy despite the ongoing pandemic.  I can understand the opposition to inconsistent state rules governing protests or gatherings. I also understand the need to remain optimistic. However, with over 200,000 dead Americans, there is every reason to be afraid of this incredibly contagious virus, as shown by the President’s own contraction of Covid-19.

On the other side, the same unhinged rhetoric was in full display.  Ruben was a case in point. She excoriated the medical team at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and White House physician Dr. Sean Conley for releasing the President. Rubin declared “Any MD who publicly endorses this insanity needs to lose his/her license. Period.”

The “insanity” was a determination that the President could continue to recover at the White House where there is a full medical facility and staff.  Not only did the team confirm that every criteria for release had been satisfied as much as a day earlier, but there are a myriad of reasons why such a release is warranted. First, the hospital staff needs to address acute patients and the huge staff assigned to the President was hardly justified if he was showing no signs of decline after meeting the benchmarks for release.  Second, he is the President of the United States.  If he can recover at the White House, it is important to have him closer to the situation room and other secure areas in case of emergency.  Staff must be able to share classified material and engage the President on matters of state. While the Presidential Suite at Walter Reed is ample, it create logistical and security concerns for staff in interacting with a president.

Rubin however was not finished with her Twitter tirade. She added that “Congress might want to defund Walter Reed. It is a public health hazard.” She added that the President could not be trusted and that the public needed to be protected from him: “A 74 yr old [obese] man with covid – who might have lung damage – and a pattern of disregarding medical advice is returned to an environment in which he may infect others. What planet does Conley inhabit? Where is the rest of Walter Reed? The VP? They are remarkable cowards.”


Before we move from a “defund the police” to a “defund Walter Reed” movement, we may want a reality check. Whether recovering at Walter Reed or the White House, the President will be under close scrutiny and isolation. If he wanted to meet with staff, he could do so just as well at Walter Reed as he could the White House.  He remains the President of the United States.  Moreover, while Rubin has declared these physicians quacks, she may want to address their detailed justification in citing the criteria for release and the President’s meeting that criteria. The President is less than ten minutes away if he has a relapse or sudden decline.
Rubin has shown a remarkable detachment from the underlying facts of stories in lashing out against targets.  For full disclosure, I have previously criticized her misrepresentation of a major federal ruling (which the Washington Post has yet to correct) as well as a misrepresentation of an exchange in the impeachment hearing. I also clashed with her over her bizarrely attacking me for a theory that I did not agree with in a column that I did not write.
What is most striking with critics like Rubin is how much they engage in the same conduct that they denounce in Trump.  Rubin regularly engages in twitter tirades and has been regularly denounced for false statements and personal attacks. In this latest incident, she is suggesting that a team of distinguished doctors should be stripped of their license and calls them all “cowards.” The message is that either they are quacks or political stooges or both. This is because Rubin believes that they should somehow order the confinement of the President of the United States at a hospital despite meeting criteria for release.
Both Trump and Rubin show the benefits and costs of fear.  Fear has a benefit when it prompts people to be cautious in the face of an imminent threat like Covid-19.  That is why the President was wrong in issuing that statement. Fear also has a cost when it unleashes panic or hysteria.  That is why Rubin and others are wrong to savage the medical staff and hospital. Call me old-fashioned but I like the old FDR fearful moments.

244 thoughts on “Fear Itself: Trump and His Critics Hit A Feverish Pitch After Release From Walter Reed”

  1. Smoking tobacco kills 485,000 people in America this year. And the only thing the media talks about is covid virus. The media nitwits are all smokers.

  2. Excerpt — see link, below:

    White House administration – who has tested positive so far

    Here are the White House administration staff who have tested positive so far:

    Donald J. Trump, POTUS
    Melania Trump, FLOTUS
    Hope Hicks, adviser to the president
    Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser
    Nicholas Luna, assistant to the president
    Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary
    Karoline Leavitt, assistant press secretary
    Chad Gilmartin, assistant press secretary
    Harrison W. Fields assistant press secretary
    Jalen Drummond, assistant press secretary

    In addition, the following senior Republicans and people in Trump’s periphery have tested positive:


    Mike Lee, senator of Utah
    Thom Tillis, senator of North Carolina
    Charles W. Ray, US coast guard admiral
    Ronna McDaniel, RNC chairwoman
    Bill Stepien, campaign manager
    Kellyanne Conway, former top White House adviser
    Chris Christie, former New Jersey governor who helped Trump prepare for the last presidential debate
    John I Jenkins, Notre Dame president
    Greg Laurie, pastor


    1. Via the same link:

      2m ago

      “In the last hour, Trump has tweeted (many of these retweets) eleven times.

      His ire has jumped from what he claims will be the “most corrupt Election in American History!” to Nancy Pelosi, from Hillary Clinton to Obama.

      A reminder of that bit from the Times report on what is happening inside the White House:

      Some White House staff members wondered whether Mr. Trump’s behavior was spurred by a cocktail of drugs he has been taking to treat the coronavirus, including dexamethasone, a steroid that can cause mood swings and can give a false level of energy and a sense of euphoria”

      1. Anything is possible, but the Stupid latch onto only those things that support what they want to believe. That is why they remain Stupid and that is why Anonymous the Stupid has remained the way it is.

        1. Allan repeats one of his go-to strategies: insult the person he disagrees with.

              1. Allan circles back to his go-to strategy of insulting the person he disagrees with.

    2. Almost possible to believe that the same folks behind ‘peaceful ptotests’ and bailing out rioters arranged to seed infection. They said they would act ‘by any means necessary’. Perhaps they have done.

      1. I’m sure that people in the WH have been hanging out with rioters. What other conspiracy theories do you believe?

        1. Anonymous the Stupid, not only has the left been hanging out with rioters and killers they have supported their release through the Bailout project and some of those released violent people have acted violent on release and even killed. You are a fool.

          1. Allan again resorts to one of his go-to attack strategies: ignore what the person said, which was about people in the WH, and insult the left and the commenter, even though the people in the WH are not part of the left.

      2. Though some might criticize you for such thoughts, they are legitimate. My wife whose life had been filled with intrigue and danger has a second sense about these things (is frequently right). When she saw the numbers of people infected she considered that immediately. I note that at approximately the same time there were articles in the press of how Covid could be suspended in the air for longer periods of time.

        I am not saying that happened, but with the releases of real information the public now knows that our intelligence services have acted illegally. They have done awful things to people abroad (in protection of the US) but have been doing the same to the President. Illegal wire taps, Illegal FISA warrants, illegal listening in on telephone conversations, cover ups that are illegal, lying to the American public, leaking etc. Should this President win in 2020 they are liable to be jailed, sued financially, disgraced, etc. People in that position can do anything and those people are in the position to be able to do something. What did Schumer say about Pis.sing off the intelligence agencies? Anyone can fill in the dots.

  3. If Joe Biden was President and he fell ill with the virus he would quickly go to Walter Reed and be very gladly treated by the best doctors in our nation. They would most likely be the same doctors who treated President Trump. Perhaps the science used to evaluate President Trumps condition was evaluated. You must believe the science unless it doesn’t fit your narrative.

  4. FDR was speaking in referance to the Great Depression. He was telling the people to not be afraid of the depression and that we can beat this threat to our nation if we continued in our daily lives to rebuild America. Trump was speaking in referance to Covid 19. He was telling the people to not be afraid of the virus and that we can beat this threat to our nation if we continue in our daily lives to rebuild our nation. FDR was not playing down the Depression and Trump was not playing down the Corona virus.
    Oh look at me. Oh look at me. I might be saying something bad about a left wing reporter, but see, I’m saying something bad about Trump too. I do very much respect Proffesor Turley but, I am disappointed and a little tired of his “virtual signal” before each critisicm of the press or anyone in the Democratic party. Jonathon, sometimes you just have to accept that you can”t please all of the people all of the time.

  5. Donald J. Trump:
    “I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”

    Seems astoundingly reckless to declassify such a large body of info without redactions. He can do so legally, but that doesn’t make it consistent with caring for our national security. This means Russia, China, and other adversaries will have access to sources and methods.

    Will he actually go through with this, or will others pull him back from the brink?

    1. Seems astoundingly reckless…


      Yeah, don’t expose the coup attempt that used Russian disinformation because it might put our national security at risk.


    2. So far most of the redactions and ‘lost’ documents have been CYA material that should never have been concealed in the first place. Open it up.

    3. Russia and China already gained access to our sources and methods when they hacked a certain unauthorized computer server in someones personal residence. I don’ even have to say the name, you know who it is. That horse is way far out of the barn by now. She’ s riding on its back on the road to perdition.

      1. Think– Yes, I think you are likely right. I have to wonder, who else? Who else might be in a position to blackmail her and her henchmen?

    1. Michelle Obama the liar with a huge chip on her shoulder is the most assinine LIAR and racial instigator there ever was IN the Oval and coming out of the Oval Office. She is an ingrate of the first order, no matter how many opportunities have been given to her, and she disgusts most middle class Americans with her insults. Go to h*ll Michelle Obama. May you and that enormous chip on your should rot in h*ll.

      1. It rhymes: Go to H*LL Michelle.

        Easy to remember the chant: Go to H*LL Michelle.

    1. Joe Biden sniffs girls’ hair, places his hands all over little girls and women who are NOT his wife, and he says, ‘oh golly gee, I didn’t know, I’ll pay attention now that it has been pointed out to me how inappropriate my touchy feeling is, golly gee I am just a good old boy and I dint know any better about this thing called “boundaries”!!!’

      Bullsh*t Joe. Normal adult MEN know what is inappropriate.

      What grown MAN who is a life long professional career politician does NOT KNOW this?? Holy sheet. Joe Biden is not only a pedo freak, but he is stupid, he is corrupt as hell, he is a liar, he is a plagiarizer, and he is now demented on top of all his other obvious weaknessess.

      Holy sheet America, the choice has never been more clear. Just say NO to JOE. If you care about your family, your livlihood, your country? The vote is clear: TRUMP 2020.

        1. Speak for yourself. This is the first election I’ve ever voted in that I’m actually happy about my choice.

        2. Ph U, Biden is a G damn Pedo as many of his friends & supports, Trump has a history now of Arresting those Pedo SOB & rescuing the very young Kids dumb arse Dip Stick, that’s why they Hate Trump so Bad!

  6. Yet more WH staff testing positive today:
    – senior policy advisor Stephen Miller
    – WH assistant press secretary Jalen Drummond

    1. All Americans should go out and lick door knobs, wipe with their hands stairway railings and push elevator buttons with their tongues, then embrace a liberal wearing a NASA issued gas mask while simultaneously turning up their Carbon Dioxide intake valve.

      Their facial expression? Explosive


      1. The person claiming to be Svelaz above is not Svelaz. It’s the local troll. FYI.

        1. Allan again repeats one of his go-to strategies: insult the person he disagrees with.

    2. Committed to Panic:
      It’s a pandemic numbnut, what do you expect? You sound like an idiot: it’s raining and people are getting wet OMG! None will die, few will even get sick. Quit with the cowardice schtick. We already know your issues, and courage under fire isn’t your strong suit, deary.

  7. Yes, the virus is very contagious IF we can believe the tests which MAY be up to 90% false positives. But the point is that the mortality rate is quite low, less than 1% of those who GET the disease if under 65 and up to 4% among older population. And of course, the higher mortality rate is after putting virus positive patients in assisted living centers, which probably raised the mortality rate when other options were available. the mortality was rate was much higher with the bird flu. So should we cower in our homes and expect the government (funded by us, of course) to bail us out? Or take reasonable precautions and go back to work and school? The country is experiencing hysteria as a result of the media’s extraordinary fear mongering. It’s a shame the public has been scared silly over this virus.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks
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