This is not Immanuel’s only diversion from the medical mainstream. She also maintains that alien DNA is a component of some therapeutic drugs and that government scientists are developing a vaccine to prevent religious faith. You can find these and other teachings of hers on YouTube.
Or you can find Immanuel on President Trump’s Twitter feed, where she testifies to the power of hydroxychloroquine (yep! we’re back to that one) to cure covid-19 and assures the public that masks are not important to fighting the pandemic. More than 10 million Americans heard her advice, thanks in part to the president’s amplifying effect, before Facebook took down her page. In response, Immanuel threatened to have Jesus unplug Facebook’s servers.
I guess there is no point in expressing my strong view that the president of the United States should not, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, pass along medical advice that undermines public health officials without good reason to believe that it comes from a qualified authority. The president doesn’t care.
And I suppose it’s pointless to say to my Christian brothers and sisters in Trump’s dwindling camp that a man who raises the profile of a heretical preacher is not a friend of the faith. Many so-called evangelicals who stick with Trump gave up on evangelism — that is, winning people over through selfless acts of love and charity — long ago.
I’m not sure there is much use in patiently explaining that fighting the novel coronavirus while doing as little damage as possible to the economy is a very significant challenge, requiring the best efforts and maximal good faith of every American — starting at the top. No bridge is long enough to span the abyss between “best efforts” and “spreading dangerous bull hockey from a woman who believes in disease-spreading orgiastic dream demons.”
So, let me speak to those Republicans cowering in closets and hiding under stairs in Washington and the state capitals, muttering prayers that Trump might somehow calm the flames that threaten to consume them.
Run away. Close your eyes and duck your heads and sprint as fast as you can away from Trump. Claim amnesia. Say you’ve been hiking the Appalachian Trail. Blame your spirit spouse — whatever. A fury is building in Middle America that has nothing to do with Russia or impeachment or “Access Hollywood.” It’s rising among people who managed to look past all of that to find something they liked about the president. And now he’s repaying them with a stubby middle finger in their faces.
These folks don’t get daily covid-19 tests with results in 15 minutes. Their every contact is not screened and scanned. They live in the real world, a place Trump looks down on from his jets. They understand that covid-19 is not a joke.
They have children whose teachers are afraid to be in school with them. They have teenagers reeling from the mental health impacts of isolation and anxiety. They’ve lost their jobs, their businesses, their sense of safety. They’re worried about losing their homes.
They’ve lost the Final Four and the Olympic Games, and now it’s dawning on them that the NFL and college football may be next. They can’t go to a movie theater or enjoy a concert. In many places, they can’t schedule a surgery or visit an elderly relative.
And they see what the president thinks of them and their concerns. Here, you dupes and dopes, Trump says — here’s a video from a woman who believes in demon dream sex. Or here’s one from a washed-up game-show host who says covid-19 is an election ploy. Or how about this idea: Drink some bleach.
They’re worried and suffering, and their president might as well be saying: I don’t care if you live or die. And it’s coming through loud and clear. The political center is slow to anger. It’s also slow to forget.
Read more from David Von Drehle’s archive.