Hamza Shaban, reporting for The Washington Post:
Ivanka Trump urged out-of-work Americans to “find something new”
Tuesday as part of a new jobs initiative designed to tout the
benefits of skills training and career paths that don’t require a
But the effort — complete with website, advertising campaign
and virtual roundtable featuring Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM
chair Ginni Rometty — was swiftly derided on social media as
“clueless” and “tone-deaf” given the pandemic, recession and
Trump’s own familial employment history.
I don’t know what the exact expiration date was on Cook’s stance that it was better to engage with Trump and his kakistocratic administration, but I do know we’re past it.
Contemplate this roundtable video from a historical standpoint — say, a few decades from now. What will people see? They will immediately note the stunningly low technical quality and production values. It will be instantly recognizable, whether our future viewers lived through these times or not, as “one of those awful virtual meeting videos made during the COVID-19 crisis”. You know, the crisis in which several hundred thousand Americans needlessly died and millions were sickened because of the Trump administration’s incompetent, insane, sclerotic response. The crisis that Trump’s disastrous, humiliating, “what the hell was anyone thinking when they voted for this obvious lunatic?” presidency is now and forever will remain synonymous with. Like how when I say “Jimmy Carter”, people think “genial peanut farmer who was in over his head and allowed 52 Americans to be held hostage by Iran for over a year and oversaw an energy crisis that culminated in an automobile-dependent nation being unable to buy gasoline”. Or I say “Richard Nixon” and people think “shifty crook whose crippling paranoia drove him to send a squad of bumbling goons straight out of a Coen brothers casting call to burgle his political opposition’s headquarters and then oversaw a criminal attempt to cover it up, inexorably leading to his resigning from office in utter disgrace”. When you say “Trump” decades from now, after our current hot moment has turned igneous, we’ll think about shamefully blatant racism, we’ll think about jaw-droppingly transparent corruption, we’ll think about his stupid-looking hair and poorly-applied bronzer and the rapidly degenerating incoherence of his every utterance, but more than anything we will think about the COVID-19 crisis, and his heartbreakingly cruel, incomprehensibly stupid and irresponsible response to it. That’s Trump’s lines-around-the-block-for-gasoline, his Watergate, his Hoovervilles. But hundreds of thousands of Americans didn’t die waiting for gas in the ’70s, or because G. Gordon Liddy shouldn’t have been trusted to shoplift a pack of gum without getting caught. Just try to imagine how much worse the jaded eyes of history will view a self-inflicted fiasco that resulted in so many American deaths that morgues were overrun in cities across the nation. It’s a presidential albatross without peer.
This roundtable isn’t particularly noteworthy in and of itself, but as an artifact it is emblematic of both the months-long-with-no-end-in-sight quarantine that necessitated the video’s socially awkward and jarringly-low-fi “Brady Bunch” title sequence format, and the I-can’t-believe-this-is-real hypocrisy of a White House initiative to glibly counsel the record-shattering number of unemployed to just “find something new” being led by a senior White House advisor whose one and only qualification for the job is that she is the president’s loyal daughter and only fully-acknowledged adult child who isn’t a complete numb nut.
That’s the roundtable video Tim Cook agreed to be a part of.
★ Wednesday, 15 July 2020