60 percent of the time

The Post shares a numerical breakdown of Trump’s firehose of egotism at his virus rallies:

What began as daily briefings meant to convey public health information have become de facto political rallies conducted from the West Wing of the White House. Trump offers little in the way of accurate medical information or empathy for coronavirus victims, instead focusing on attacking his enemies and lauding himself and his allies.

He’s done 60 percent of the talking at the rallies disguised as briefings on the pandemic. He has by far the least to say of anyone there yet he uses up the majority of the time to say his tiny least over and over and over again.

The president has spoken for more than 28 hours in the 35 briefings held since March 16, eating up 60 percent of the time that officials spoke, according to a Washington Post analysis of annotated transcripts from Factba.se, a data analytics company.

Over the past three weeks, the tally comes to more than 13 hours of Trump — including two hours spent on attacks and 45 minutes praising himself and his administration, but just 4½ minutes expressing condolences for coronavirus victims.

And the 4½ minutes were written for him to read by other people. Spontaneous genuine condolences? Zip.

Trump has attacked someone in 113 out of 346 questions he has answered — or a third of his responses. He has offered false or misleading information in nearly 25 percent of his remarks. And he has played videos praising himself and his administration’s efforts three times, including one that was widely derided as campaign propaganda produced by White House aides at taxpayer expense.

Most people would feel too much shame to do that, even if they wanted to. Trump can’t even perceive that it’s shameful.

The president repeatedly returns to the same topics, frequently treating questions as cues for familiar talking points. He has, for instance, mentioned the nation’s testing capacity in 14 percent of his comments, talked about the country’s ventilator supply in 12 percent and waxed on about his imposition of travel bans — particularly from China — in 9 percent. 

[“Waxed” isn’t a synonym for “talked” or “blathered.”] That repeated return to familiar [i.e. stale] talking points is a symptom of a very empty head, as well as Alzheimer’s.

Trump has also offered a response to a question posed to someone else more than a third of the time that occurred, including queries that the intended official had already answered.

He’s the least informed person there, but he talks over the experts. Conceit is a terrible, terrible drug, my friends. Give it a wide berth.

Expressions of empathy from Trump are rare. The president has mentioned coronavirus victims in just eight briefings in three weeks, mostly in prepared remarks. In the first week of April, when the nation’s focus was largely on the hard-hit New York region, Trump began several briefings by expressing his condolences for the victims there.

“We continue to send our prayers to the people of New York and New Jersey, and to our whole country,” Trump said on April 6, offering similar sentiments the following day: “We grieve alongside every family who has lost a precious loved one.”

That doesn’t actually count, because it’s reading someone else’s words. He doesn’t mean it, he doesn’t care about it, he just reads it aloud.

Last Sunday — as the death toll in the United States climbed past 40,000 and more than 22 million Americans were unemployed — a CNN reporter sparked Trump’s ire when he noted the grim milestones and asked, “Is this really the time for self-congratulations?”

“What I’m doing is I’m standing up for the men and women that have done such an incredible job,” Trump responded. He added that he was “also sticking up for doctors and nurses and military doctors and nurses,” before eventually angrily dismissing the question as “fake news.”

Not fake at all though.

Some administration officials, outside Republicans and other Trump allies say the briefings have increasingly become a distraction, and they fear they are doing more to harm than help the president’s reelection hopes. They worry that Trump is squandering the opportunity to demonstrate presidential leadership and be the “wartime president” he has claimed to be by picking petty fights and appearing childish and distracted.

Oh there’s no need to worry about that, he’s always picked petty fights and appeared childish and distracted. Sure it’s worse during a pandemic, but…but…but her emails, that’s what.

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