Now That's an October Surprise, Bitch

Illustration for article titled Now That's an October Surprise, Bitch
Image: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

After nearly four years, I’ve become somewhat jaded by the neverending antics of the Trump administration. Of course, I’m still plagued with dread by President Trump’s attacks on the marginalized or his racist, nationalist policy agenda, but the theater of it all can grow old. Push notifications about the latest corruption scandal, dueling trending hashtags from the left and the right, the latest blowhard comments uttered by Trump administration officials past and present... the abject badness is, at times, monotonous.


But when there three wild Trump world stories broke Thursday night—one, after the other, after the other—the monotony vaporised. And when the breaking stories come at the expense of a man who has done nothing but stoke violence, cruelty, and bigotry during his tenure... well, that’s one hell of an October surprise.

On Thursday evening, the New Yorker published a damning report about Kimberly Guilfoyle’s departure from Fox News in 2018. A former assistant of Guilfoyle—girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr and chair of the Trump Victory Finance Committee—reportedly sent Fox News executives a 42-page draft that accused the former Fox News host of sexual harassment, including forcing her to, “work at Guilfoyle’s New York apartment while the Fox host displayed herself naked.” The assistant claims Guilfoyle offered her hush money to keep the allegations under wraps.

While Guilfoyle is beloved among Trump’s base, the news of her transgressions couldn’t top the controversy that followed it: On Thursday evening, CNN’s AC360 aired exclusive audio from summer 2018 of First Lady Melania Trump expressing disinterest in planning the White House Christmas decor—uttering the goldmine of a line “Who gives a fuck about the Christmas stuff”–and admitting she doesn’t care about the plight of migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico.

“I’m working ... my ass off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a fuck about the Christmas stuff and decorations?” Trump said. “But I need to do it, right?”

She continued: “OK, and then I do it and I say that I’m working on Christmas and planning for the Christmas and they said, ‘Oh, what about the children that they were separated?’ Give me a fucking break. Where they were saying anything when Obama did that? I can not go, I was trying get the kid reunited with the mom. I didn’t have a chance — needs to go through the process and through the law.”


The conversation was recorded by her former friend and advisor Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who recently published a tell-all book about her relationship with the First Lady.

But even this couldn’t possibly top the news that broke in the early hours of Friday morning: President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both tested positive for covid-19.


Trump shared the news via Twitter, noting that he and his wife will “begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.”


The New York Times reports that Trump is experiencing mild symptoms of the virus which has killed over 207,000 Americans. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have both tested negative for the virus, but covid-19 can take several days after exposure to manifest.

President Trump has been famously careless about covid-19 safety guidelines from his own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, often rejecting the analysis and wisdom of respected medical experts for his own—often incorrect—instincts. Trump is especially impervious to the benefits of wearing protective face coverings, repeatedly mocking his Democratic competitor, Joe Biden, for wearing one, even during Tuesday night’s presidential debate.


On Friday Biden reportedly tested negative for covid-19, following Trump’s diagnosis. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, tested negative for the virus on Thursday.

None of this is a surprise: Trump has been playing chicken with the virus since spring, Melania is on the record as being a racist who mindlessly defends her husband, and accusations of Guilfoyle being a Fox News sex pest have been making the rounds for two years now. But it was the onslaught that added to the dramatics, and actually made Twitter an enjoyable place to be for once.


As of now, the day is only half over, and whatever shitshow the next twelve hours will bring is anyone’s guess.

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.


The Ghost of James Madison's Rage Boner

People, can we please shut down the idea that this diagnosis is a hoax? Trump is not Machiavelli - he’s a schoolyard bully, and the thing bullies fear above all else is showing any sort of weakness. At every turn, even before he was elected, Trump has lied, deflected and projected to avoid admitting to the slightest problem with his health, even when his efforts were transparently ridiculous (recall those ghost-written letters from his doctors).

There is simply no way he would risk appearing vulnerable to the virus unless he had no choice. Frankly, I’m mildly surprised they aren’t lying about this as well. I can only conclude that his condition is more serious than they’re letting on, and he has no choice because his doctors told him he has to rest and get treatment or he’s risking his life.

Imagining that this is some 5-dimensional plot requires subtlety and forethought that this administration has never once displayed.