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The Colorado Avalanche were knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs Thursday night, after losing their second round series to the Vegas Golden Knights in six games.

With their season ending in disappointment, team veteran Nathan MacKinnon wasn’t in the mood for any playful banter, having failed to win a Cup during his eight seasons with the Avalanche.

Enter Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey News, who asked MacKinnon a strange, and relatively unprofessional question that left the Avalanche star looking around in total befuddlement.

Wait a minute… what?!?#GoAvsGo

— Pucks On Net (@Pucksonnetca) June 11, 2021

“I’m just thinking out loud in your shoes right now,” Dater began. “Alright we’ve done all we can do, we’ve done all the game planning, maybe just – fuck it, we’ll go in next year and not think and just win this thing when we don’t think that much. Am I on the right path at all with this? Like maybe this guy’s thinking too much?”

“No.” MacKinnon answered, as he rolled his eyes and searched for help, hoping someone would quickly ask the next question.

Dater has been on the Avalanche beat since the NHL team moved to Colorado from Quebec in 1995. For most of his tenure covering the team, Dater worked with the Denver Post, but the veteran writer was fired by the outlet in 2014 following profanity laced rants and harassing a female hockey fan on Twitter. Last year, Dater spoke with Jeff Pearlman about rehabbing his image and coming back from the incident.

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New book alleges Trump wanted to send Americans infected by COVID-19 to Guantanamo

By now anyone who hasn’t gleaned the uniquely horrific depravity and sociopathic character of the man who 62 million Americans voted into office in 2016 (and who an even greater number of Americans voted to reelect in 2020) in all likelihood never will. But as time distances us more and more from his tenure in office, what we learn about Donald Trump himself with each passing day since his ignominious departure only serves to more fully flesh out his ignorant cruelty and utter self-absorption.

Trump’s disregard for the welfare of American citizens was never more apparent than in his wholly self-serving response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As something that could not be specifically predicted, and thus something his staff of venal propagandists and sycophants could actually prepare for in advance, it represented the ultimate test of his personal character, one which he almost immediately realized constituted an existential threat to his reelection chances. 

As reported by Dan Diamond for the Washington Post, his behavior at the outset of the crisis was a type of panic, prompting him to instinctively employ all the time-tested tactics of distraction, denial and bombast that had worked so well in getting him elected. Like any sociopath unaccustomed to confronting reality on any terms but his own, his instinct was to do anything possible to make the problem go away. The safety and health of the American people were the very last thing he was concerned about. Nor did he spare an instant thinking about such abstractions like Americans’ rights or freedoms. Which is why one of his first reactions was almost pristine in its simplicity and arrogance.

As Diamond reports:

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil.

“Don’t we have an island that we own?” the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. “What about Guantánamo?”

According to a new book, Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic that Changed History, authored by Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, Trump floated the suggestion of sending infected Americans to Guantanamo not once, but twice. Diamond, reviewing the book’s more startling revelations for the Post, notes that even Trump’s fawning aides were stunned by the callousness of this suggestion (the book’s authors interviewed over 180 Trump staff members and health professionals involved in the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic).

The prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of course, has a notorious history. Essentially a black hole designed to disguise American cruelty and torture practices during the George W. Bush administration, the prison has housed (and currently houses) inmates suspected of being foreign terrorists, including several of whom have never received a trial. It is widely viewed today as an indelible stain on this country’s pretenses toward respecting human rights, which may be why it seemed such a perfect place to place Americans in the mind of someone like Donald Trump.

Trump is reported to have said in February that, “we’re not going to import a virus.” While the basement-level ignorance necessary to believe that a burgeoning global pandemic could be magically halted at the U.S. border is farcical enough, what’s notable here is that Trump’s immediate solution was quarantining Americans not at a hospital, not in some mobilized medical facility for treatment, but “Guantanamo.” Far from a reprehensible symbol of excess and cruelty, Guantanamo was Trump’s immediate go-to solution. After all, Americans infected with the COVID-19 virus were indeed a dire threat—to Trump’s reelection prospects. So it’s not that surprising that Trump would want to consign such a threat to the worst American-made hell-hole imaginable to him.

While the Guantanamo episode will certainly receive most of the media attention, the events described in the book (Diamond obtained a pre-publication copy) confirm what anyone who watched the administration’s response as it unfolded would have immediately understood: Trump’s entire focus was not to address the crisis, but to escape blame for it.

As Diamond reports, Trump’s priorities were clearly displayed, over and over again:

“Testing is killing me!” Trump reportedly exclaimed in a phone call to then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on March 18, yelling so loudly that Azar’s aides overheard every word. “I’m going to lose the election because of testing! What idiot had the federal government do testing?”

In fact, he considered it an unacceptable threat to his power and position that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was bothering to track infection rates at all: “This was gross incompetence to let CDC develop a test,” he is reported to have said to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. According to Diamond, “the book also depicts the president as ineffectual and out of touch while his health and national security officials tried to manage the worsening outbreak.”

Trump’s indifference to the fate of any Americans infected by the coronavirus is probably the most damning aspect of the book. As Diamond reports, in one case he ordered the firing of a State Department official who allowed 14 infected passengers aboard the cruise ship, Diamond Princess, to return to the U.S., complaining it “double[d] his numbers [of those testing positive in this country] overnight.”  The book recounts similar instances of callousness by administration officials such as former chief of staff Mark Meadows, as well as an over-arching compulsion among Trump’s staff to belittle the importance of protective measures such as masks.

But clearly nothing was more at the forefront of Trump’s mind than how the pandemic threatened his reelection:

Trump also would call for firing Robert Kadlec, the HHS emergency preparedness chief who signed off on the Diamond Princess evacuation. Later, he would push to replace Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn when the agency chief refused to expedite vaccine approvals before the election and deferred to career FDA officials instead.

Overall, the book’s authors conclude, Trump created a “a toxic environment in which no matter where you turned, someone was ready to rip your head off or threatening to fire you,” in which every decision was made with a view toward how it would make Donald Trump look.

It’s clear from the excerpts cited by Diamond that the real “nightmare scenario” was having a person such as Trump as the head of our government during such a crisis. After leaving a trail of 600,000 dead in his wake, of whom at least 400,000 would likely still be alive if anyone other than such a soulless monster had been charged with the nation’s response, one could easily conclude that the only person who should have been sent to Guantanamo at the outset of this public health disaster was Trump himself.

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