About a year ago, Donald Trump said he'd "never heard" a farmer criticize the White House's trade agenda. Soon after, a reporter told the president about a conversation with a soybean farmer who said the administration's tariffs had created a "crisis" for his business.
"Well," Trump replied, "you interviewed the wrong farmer."
It was an interesting peek into a strange perspective. The president had convinced himself that farmers were unanimous in their enthusiastic support for his trade agenda, and when confronted with evidence of an unhappy farmer, Trump was immediately thrown off-balance.
This came to mind yesterday during an Oval Office event in which Trump signed a symbolic proclamation in honor of National Nurses Day. Among the attendees was Sophia Thomas, the president of American Association of Nurse Practitioners, who was asked whether she believes the availability of medical supplies "are what they need to be."
Thomas replied, "I think it's sporadic. As I talk to my colleagues around the country, certainly there are pockets of areas where [the availability of personal protective equipment] is not ideal.... I've been reusing my N95 mask for a few weeks now."
The president seated nearby, arms crossed, made clear that he was not pleased with her assessment -- not because he was disappointed by the availability of limited supplies, but because the president of American Association of Nurse Practitioners was contradicting the assumptions Trump wanted to believe.
A nurse found out Wednesday what happens when you contradict President Donald Trump on how well coronavirus response efforts are going while standing near him in the Oval Office. Trump clapped back at that nurse... Trump upon hearing a less-than-glowing description of the front lines, quickly shot back, "Sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people."
The president added that he's "heard" -- from whom, he did not say -- that medical facilities are now "loaded up."
And really, who's Trump going to believe, the president of American Association of Nurse Practitioners or unnamed people who've assured him his administration has done great work, all evidence to the contrary.
The president then proceeded to whine about Barack Obama for a while.
I almost felt bad for the White House staffers who forgot to tell the participants, "Whatever you do, don't say anything around Trump that conflicts with what he wants to believe."
At the same event, a New Jersey nurse said she hadn't personally seen a shortage of supplies, leading the president to declare, "You know why? Because they're fake news. That's why. It's true."
Trump then described himself as having had the most successful presidency in American history over his first three years, "from any way you want to look at it."
Happy National Nurses Day, one and all.