Wrong Decision, Mr Biden

Photo by Roger Starnes Sr on Unsplash

Your choice to waive the patents our pharmaceutical companies hold on vaccines against the coronavirus.

Yes, the world is in great need of the vaccines, but the fact that the US has developed them at great speed, owes much to the profit motive. 

The fact that there were companies in place with layers and layers of expertise and knowhow to tackle the task of creating the vaccines at record speed, owes much to the profit motive.

That has to be respected because it is at the heart of the power to create.

Without those companies’ enormous outpouring of inventiveness and skills, our nation would not be protected as it is now against the ravages of the virus.

And our economy would not be on target to post a record GDP for this year.

There are ways to assist countries in need and we should do so. 

But to say to the pharmaceutical companies that have invested as much as they did, that they will not be getting the anticipated reward for their efforts and the risks they took in producing the vaccine, is the wrong move.

As I understand it, trade secrets will be shared. All that work that went into creating the vaccines is then to be shared. Free.

Since we have been privileged to have the advantages we have, I agree that we ought to share them with the world. It makes sense. 

But pay those who put the hard work into creating what is now granting all of us peace of mind.

Entice them to donate vaccines, if they have not done so, while also negotiating better rates for us to buy them and then turn around and give away to those in great need or at cost for those with greater means.

It is understandable that the World Health Organization and other world leaders had put pressure on you to choose as you did. 

And it is understandable, that in the wake of the disastrous term of your predecessor, you are eager to rebuild our standing in the world.

But your action undercuts a crucial drive for excellence in our system.

You have proposed a very large spending bill to address all manner of ills long overdue for appropriate action.

The bill is large because everyone has to get paid.

And so do the pharmaceutical companies that went all out to get us what we now hold so dear.

Effort has to be rewarded.

You could have appealed to the companies’ good will and let them be a partner in the spreading of our nation’s good will. 

You have made a bad decision.

But perhaps, it is not too late to reverse course.

Oscar Valdes


I Will Run, Not Walk, To Get My Vaccine

Yes, indeed.

After all the effort that vast numbers of creative and diligent minds have put into it,

Do you think I’ll hesitate about taking it?

Not at all.

Can something go wrong and I’ll end up with as yet unknown adverse effects?

I’ll take my chances.


Because I trust in science.

That same science that was skeptical when talk of Hydroxycloroquine was rampant and then, after subjecting it to rigorous studies, proved it was not useful.

That same science that was at first uncertain of the value of masks but then, after studies, fully endorsed it.

Science, yes, physics, mathematics, engineering, biology, medicine, astronomy etc., which lengthen and enrich my life.

You and me, have today the chance of living longer because of science,

You and me, are less likely to die of heart disease, of cancer, because of science,

so why shouldn’t I believe that this grand effort to produce a vaccine – with unprecedented speed – will spare me the possibility of catching the infection and, if unlucky enough, succumbing to it?

Some people will not be able to take the vaccine because their immune systems are compromised, so when I take mine I lessen the chance that they will catch the virus.

You are entitled to refuse it, but in doing so, you are adding to the problem not lessening it.

To the skeptical, no, the government is not trying to injure you but to help you.

Billions of dollars have gone into creating the vaccine, and billions more will go into producing massive numbers, storing and distributing it, training personnel to administer it, so why not step up and do our part?

So, yes, I will run, not walk, to get my vaccine,

and I hope you do, too.

oscarvaldes.net  oscarvaldes.medium.com  oscar valdes@widehumr

Thank You Vaccine Makers

Thank you for persevering,

For working tenaciously to create a means to extending our lives,

Oh, how those 270 thousand Americans and over one and a half million people worldwide

Who have so far perished, would have benefitted.

Thank you for believing in science,

For not giving up when you ran up against what may have seemed

Unsurmountable obstacles,

Thank you for collaborating with others, believing in teamwork,

Thank you for having chosen your professions,

For trusting that committing to what you wanted would one day reward you,

Thank you for loving life,

For only because you do have you now been able to

Be part of this grand effort to bring relief to a battered and anguished world,

Thank you for your courage,

For your generosity,

For the power of your imaginations,

Your willingness to dare,

For taking on the challenge that nature presented to us,

For having had the resolve to face adversity,

And not having flinched,

Instead tamed the monster that threatened to extinguish us.

Thank you and thank you again.

May your lives be rewarded with honors

And may your example forever remind us

Of how we can rise to defeat all challenges,

So long as we commit to preserve and enrich the bonds that tie us,

So long as we never forget that, with all our differences,

We are one.

Dark clouds have often gathered over our world,

And it is because of men and women like you,

Men and women of every race and nationality,

That we keep moving forward.

So thank you, Vaccine Makers,

Knights of Science and Progress,

Knights of Humanity,

For lighting the torch that lets us see the path ahead.

Oscar Valdes   oscarvaldes.net   oscarvaldes.medium.com  oscar valdes@widehumr

Trump May Need Help

There are reasons to be keenly observant of his mental condition. The President has recently made wild allegations, calling Kamala Harris a communist and spoken of indicting Joe Biden. There was also talk of bringing the troops from Afghanistan to be better able to fight China.

Is he becoming paranoid?

While he has been known to be unpredictable, the situation is now different because he is recovering from CoVid 19, a condition that affects the brain. He appears to be bouncing back, but he’s still infected and is presently taking steroids, which are known to impair mental functioning.

Trump is a vigorous man with a great deal of energy that puts him in the hypomanic category.

But he is also under tremendous pressure, both financially and politically.

The political factor is the heaviest burden.

He is behind significantly in the polls and the gap is growing.

His performance in office has been poor and yet he nurtures the fiction that he has been a great President. The very likely defeat on November 3rd would be a tremendous blow to his already battered ego. It is reasonable to believe that he is already anticipating the loss but has much trouble accepting it which increases the possibility of his striking out impulsively.

As things stand, consideration ought to be given to tapering him off the steroid, if it hasn’t been done already, while simultaneously considering the addition of an antimanic agent.

I am not sure if the staff at Walter Reed, who has competently taken care of him, has consulted with their department of Psychiatry. If not, this should be done as soon as possible.

Even if the President would be opposed to an examination, if a consensus of psychiatrists deemed it appropriate, such recommendation needs to be made public, given the enormous consequences for the nation of a poor decision on Mr Trump’s part.

Meanwhile, an independent body of experts, drawn from our prestigious medical centers, such as Stanford, the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Mayo Clinic, ought to be convened to monitor his behavior from afar and give their considered opinion when indicated.

The stakes are very high.

We must act.

Oscar Valdes


A New TV Show. Trump’s Next Act.

I watched the president’s return to the White House last night, following his short stay at Walter Reed Hospital. I saw him walk up the stairs to the balcony. If there was, perhaps, a hint of uncertainty to his movements, he was now summoning all the determination he could muster. This was a moment he had been looking forward to. He came up to the center of the balcony and stopped to face the cameras. The moment was dramatic. His head up, he wanted to exude confidence. He had been engaged in fierce hand to hand combat with the lethal coronavirus – with a still uncertain outcome – but there he was, undiminished. Like a good soldier, he was returning to duty. He had climbed those stairs unassisted. Proudly. As he stood looking out, twice he fumbled with the buttons of his jacket waiting for the precise moment. He breathed. And then he reached up and took off his mask. Yes. Even though he’s still in the midst of his struggle, he had an image of himself he had vowed to preserve. And no, the Coronavirus would not defeat him and he wanted the world to see it. No matter how vicious Corona might be, Trump would prevail.

His followers surely cheered. His detractors surely gasped. Virologists and health scientists surely squirmed.

So now, what?

First of all, my best wishes for the president to recover promptly. And thank you to the wonderful medical staff at Walter Reed Hospital. The nation appreciates your efforts.

But Trump knows he has only 106 days left in the White House and that Biden will be taking over on January 20th.

During his tenure, Trump was not able to figure out how to be an effective leader but he will keep trying. He is 74 years old and vigorous. He likes to wheel and deal, so why not think about what to do next?

While at Walter Reed, forced to stay in that suite, not tweeting or tweeting less, he did a little thinking. And he figured out his next step. He will start a new show. If it hadn’t been for the exposure he got on ‘The Apprentice’, he would not have been elected president. So now he has to come up with a different act. He reminded himself that he is, primarily, a showman. He has always been a showman and he will forever be one. So he hit upon this new idea. As soon as he leaves the White House, he will return to TV with a new show aptly titled, ‘The President.’ That’s right. Once a week, broadcast from studios at Mar-A-Lago or the Trump Tower in New York, he will beam out to the world an inside look at the presidency of the United States. He will reenact episodes of his term, like the events that led to his impeachment, so as to set the record straight. Trump figures it’s in the airwaves and on Twitter that truth now lives and he will put his truth out there. Imagine all the people he met, how eager they will be to make an appearance on the show. Why, they will knock themselves over for the chance. He might even have Putin do a guest appearance. And Xi Jinping, the Saudi prince, maybe even Kim Jong-Un, god knows he needs the income. In fact, Trump might reenact the talks he had with him, to set the record straight that he nearly got Kim to disarm. Almost. And so on.

And it will be Trump’s way of saying to the world, ‘I’m still the president. The Chinese, upset with the tariffs I’d imposed, conspired with Joe Biden and the treacherous democrats to unseat me. I have not yet found the proof of it but I’m getting there. But I shall return. And yes, I’m already running for president in 2024.’ Hallelujah. The Lord have mercy.

He has said that ‘The Apprentice’ was making him 3 million dollars a day. Now imagine what ‘The President’ will be netting. And the show will be broadcast all over the world. Even in the smallest villages in Africa, Trump’s image will appear.

He anticipates the revenues to be fantastic, which will help offset the huge personal debt that is coming due very soon. But he’s always found a way to borrow to keep afloat. And with the new show he will be doing it again. Deutsche Bank get ready.

Additionally, for the sake of his next run for the White House, his show will be a weekly commentary on all that the Democrats are doing wrong, because yes, they are the bane of this country. He will make it clear how things should be done. Anyway, in the show he’s in complete control. He gets to write the script for the other side.

So Trump will lose in November because the nation cannot stand him any longer. We’re done.

We’ve seen through the act. We’ve learned.

But he will live on, who knows for how many years given his sturdy constitution and the magic of makeup.

He will live on, principally, because his supporters have got hooked on the love he gives them, never mind the alternate reality he sells them.

The rest of us, will take note and switch channel.

God bless America.

Oscar Valdes


Trump and the virus. My take.

He’s getting excellent medical care, the expertise of many talented people focused on his symptoms. The virus may be unpredictable and Trump is obese, but the man is vigorous. So he will walk out of Walter Reed Hospital having beat the virus.

How will the experience affect his psyche is worthy of speculation.

Will he say to the public, as he leaves the hospital, ‘It was nothing, really, I knew I’d beat it, but it was great that I had the attention I got, just in case. Thank you all the doctors and the nurses and the support staff. But folks, nothing worse than the flu, I mean, I’ve been sicker than this. So, sure, wear a mask if you want, but just don’t get crazy about it, like Joe Biden does. Every time I see him he’s got a mask on, sometimes two. Thank you for your concern everybody, and vote for me and against the Socialists.’

Or will he be chastised by the experience, just slightly humbled, and instead say, ‘fellow Americans, this is not easy for me to say… but please wear a mask. I realize I’ve been pigheaded in going against the medical advice to wear masks… and if I had… well, I would not have contracted CoVid 19. I’m sure Dr Fauci is smiling as he hears me say this. If I had worn the mask I would’ve been able to keep campaigning so I can beat Joe Biden and his socialist supporters on November 3rd. By not wearing the mask I’ve lost precious time to attend rallies and remind you of how important it is for the nation to have four more years of Trump.’

I wouldn’t hold my breath but it is possible that he is slightly humbled by the experience.

It would be good for him and for all those Americans who, not wearing a mask, may end up getting the virus and, because they will not be getting the care the president is getting, will be more likely to do poorly.

So, let’s hope for the best.

I’m counting on your big heart, Mr Trump. Thank you.

In the meantime, in light of all that has transpired during the past 4 years and, convinced as I am that most Americans are able to see the difference between our two candidates, I am today predicting that Joe Biden will be the clear winner come November 3rd.

On January 20th, Joe Biden will become our president.

Looking ahead, I think Biden will govern for only one term and Kamala Harris will run for President in 2024.

During his tenure, Biden will give Harris much responsibility and many chances to shine but, when she runs for President, she will still face stiff opposition from other candidates, and primarily from many other women. Guaranteed.

I am here predicting also that, inspired by seeing a woman Vice President, a woman will become President in 2024.

As far as male candidates is concerned, the outlook seems bleak. Which makes sense.

Since 1789 we’ve had men Presidents, one after another, the women patiently waiting and quietly asking themselves, ‘now, what does this guy have that I don’t?’ So it makes sense that women run the country for the next 20 or 30 years, in a row. I have no doubt the nation will be much better off because of it.

Trump will return to his hotels and, finally, build his Trump Tower in Moscow. Good luck.

Oscar Valdes. Oscarvaldes.net

Dear Mr Trump

May you and your wife recover promptly from CoVid 19.

Both of you are strong so the expectation is that the two will have the fewest of symptoms.

We hope so.

Do follow the medical guidelines you will be given.

This is not a time to be careless.

The two weeks of quarantine will go fast and you’ll be able to return to the fray.

Meanwhile, your close associates will stand in for you.

We also need you back as quickly as possible because the political battle for the hearts and minds of the nation needs to be fought.

It is good for all Americans.

In my opinion, your presidency has not been a good one but still you have your supporters that embrace your viewpoints.

With Joe Biden in the lead, we must win them over because they are our brothers and sisters and we need everyone to strengthen the country as we move forward.

Good luck.

Oscar Valdes


Of Human Folly

Warning. This may be shocking.

I watched the documentary Greatest Events of WWII, on Netflix, with commentary by British, German and American historians.

In early May 1940, the German army quietly amassed ground forces just north of the border with France, in secret preparation for an attack. They had just gone into Belgium and the Netherlands.

Due to the perceived superiority of the French forces, no one expected such an attack.

French reconnaissance spotted the forces being gathered and immediately notified their High Command. But High Command didn’t believe the information.

That’s right. Did not believe the information.

The Germans couldn’t have moved so fast, not after what they had been through – they had to be exhausted. But they had moved fast.

Aside from the supreme daring, the Germans had used another secret weapon. Meth.

That’s right. Labelled Pervitin, Methamphetamine was available over the counter in Germany as a picker upper. And the military gave it to its soldiers to enhance their endurance. They could stay up all night and again the next day.

Thanks to Meth, then, the soldiers who had invaded Belgium and the Netherlands, still had it in them to push on to France, defying the French commanders’ calculations.

The historians commenting on these facts point out that if the information provided to the French command by their reconnaissance had been believed or double checked, then they would have been able to use their air force to bomb the German troops as they sat waiting to reach critical force. But they did not.

Who knows what was distracting the French High Command.

I had always wondered, how come the French, having witnessed their neighbor’s aggressiveness and territorial grabs (Poland, Austria), had not prepared for an eventual invasion. Well, they had.

At the time, France’s combined forces were seen as superior to the Germans. But the French lacked the imagination. And the Meth.

One of the historian commentators goes on to add that had the French believed the information presented to them and attacked the Germans first, the war’s course would have been seriously altered.

But the High command was in denial.

Of Human Folly.

Here’s another one for you.

I read in The Economist, issue of August 8th, an article on CoVid testing. Pool sampling.

A means to accelerate testing by pooling samples. Take the combined samples of 5 people who are not symptomatic and if the test is negative, they are all negative. You move on. If it’s positive, then you test individually to isolate the case. The technique saves time and resources, so we can test more people and better trace and get a handle on the virus.

Is the technique new?

No. In the 1940’s, says the article, Robert Dorfman, an American economist, came up with the idea to test American soldiers for syphilis.

On July 18th 2020, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency declaration to start using pool sampling nationally.

Did I say that the technique had been around since the 1940’s?


Eighty years after the invasion of France by the Germans, a virus crossed the oceans to come to our shores.

The American High Command had been told by their reconnaissance that the virus was gathering force.

The High Command didn’t believe it.

The Commander in Chief himself was worried with an impeachment process stemming from the Ukraine affair, and deeply concerned about his chances at reelection.

He didn’t have time to pay attention.

Of Human Folly.

Oscar Valdes is the author of Psychiatrist for A Nation. Available on Amazon.


The Long Exit. Trump and Ivanka in the Oval Office.

Trump is standing by his desk as he reads a magazine lying on it. The window behind him has the curtains drawn wide and the afternoon’s light fills the room.

Now he hears the music cue from his cellphone. It’s a text from Ivanka. He replies, then returns to the magazine.

A moment passes.

A knock at the door.

‘C’mon in,’ he cries out.

Ivanka steps in. She goes straight up to her father and they embrace and kiss on the cheek.

‘How are you?’ she says.

‘All right.’

But Ivanka notices he sounds a bit dejected.

‘What are you reading?’

‘An article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Birx got it for me (Dr Deborah Birx). They did a controlled study on the effects of Hydroxycloroquine on people who’d been exposed to the virus. The two groups took the medication for four days after exposure but there was no difference between those who took it and those who didn’t’.

‘The drug didn’t protect them?’ she says.

‘That’s right. But the study is not definitive so the drug may yet have preventive benefits.’

‘You stopped taking it, didn’t you?’

‘Yes, a while back.’

‘I’m glad you did.’

They look at each other.

‘Have to let it go, don’t we?’ she says.

‘I suppose’.

She puts her hand on his shoulder, ‘Let’s sit, I want to talk to you about something.’

They walk over to the space in front of the desk and sit across each other.

‘What’s this about?’

She smiles. ‘I’m worried about you.’


‘The polls are not looking good.’

It’s clear he’s feeling the pressure.

‘It’s not over yet,’ he says.

‘Of course not. What do you think about Biden’s choice of running mate?’

‘Have to see how it plays out.’

‘You think she’ll take votes from you?’

‘Don’t know, but I’m glad Karen Bass was not the one… and better, that Klobuchar dropped out earlier.’

‘George Floyd?’


‘Speaking of… I saw a new video, from the officers’ body cameras… they botched that one, didn’t they?’

‘They did.’

‘You think you botched it?’

He looks at her for a moment… then, ‘I think I did.’

‘What would you have done differently?’

‘Not identified so much with law enforcement.’

Ivanka nods… looks down at her hands on her lap.

‘Dad… you’re okay talking to me about all this?’


But Ivanka thinks his expression says otherwise.

‘Dad… we don’t have to talk…’

‘I know we don’t.’

‘I just wanted to see how you were doing.’

‘I’m glad you did.’

She looks down at her dress and smooths it out.

‘How are the children?’ he asks.

‘Doing very well.’

‘I would’ve liked to have given them another four years.’

‘Oh, dad. It’s been a great run. I’ve taken so many videos of them, they’ll never forget this.’

‘Some consolation, at least,’ he says.

‘If the virus hadn’t happened you’d be cruising to reelection.’

‘That’s true. The economy would have cinched it for me.’

‘But the virus did happen and there’s nothing we can do about it,’ she says.

‘They had it in for me,’ says Trump. ‘They sent it to me… express delivery, from Wuhan, Hubei province.’

‘No, they didn’t.’

‘They were so angry because of the tariffs I slapped on them.’

‘It got away from you,’ she says, gently.

He looks at her, uncertain he wants to continue the conversation.

‘Can I offer you anything? A soda?’

‘No, thanks.’

He sits back and folds his hands.

‘You think we could’ve done better?’ he asks.

‘Yes. It would’ve been difficult but yes, we could have.’

‘I stopped travel from China at the end of January…’

‘We minimized the danger,’ she says.

‘I don’t think so.’

‘It’s easier to see now, but we should’ve done what they did,’ continues Ivanka.

‘No. Our people wouldn’t have allowed it… absolutely not,’ returns Trump firmly.

‘They would have… if you had trained them.’

‘Trained them?’

‘Yes. You had been mollycoddling your supporters all along.’

He laughs. ‘Mollycoddling?’

‘They wanted a Wall, you said I’ll give you the Wall. Let’s have immigrants out, you said out they go. Want tariffs on China? I’ll give you that. Out of the Paris accord? Done. Roll back regulations, bring back coal? Deal.’

He shakes his head slowly.

‘I suppose I did overdo it, but I did promise them that.’

‘Sure, you had to get in. But once in, you had to go back and renegotiate.’

‘And say what to them?’

‘You can’t have everything you want. Let’s face it, we’re only half of America. Actually, less, since we lost the popular vote by 3 million.’

Trump chuckles… but she’s clearly getting to him.  

‘You had to negotiate… and you didn’t,’ presses Ivanka.

‘Half of a Wall? Half of the immigrants…?’

‘You know what I mean.’

He gets up, walks off a few steps, then turns to look back at her.

‘You’ve said these things before…’

‘We don’t know if it would’ve worked… so there’s that,’ returns Ivanka.

“The beauty of hindsight.’

‘But it’s been a good run… we’ll never forget this,’ she says.

He nods, a little sad, then sits down again, resting his hands on his knees.  

‘I’ll miss the activity… all the attention… having the final say… it’s addictive… the spotlight… never had so much fun in my life. What’s sad is that nothing else I do afterwards will be able to match this. How do I recreate this? Once I leave it’s gone forever. No more.’

There’s an ache in his voice.  

‘Now, if I had done two terms, then it would be easier to let go, but one term?’

‘Think of it this way… only the very few get to land a job like this,’ she says. ‘And you’re one of them.’

‘I wonder if Jimmy Carter went through a depression. I’ll have to ask him… he probably did. The Iran hostage crisis got him. He was indecisive.’

‘You were indecisive on the virus.’

‘Yes, I was!’ he says abruptly, angrily, as he stands, waving his arms. ‘Yes, I was, and not a day goes by that I don’t regret it. I screwed up!’

Ivanka is surprised by his sudden rage.

‘Goddammit! I had the economy going for me, the markets flying high, and I go and screw it up! I regret it deeply.’

He stops, crosses to his desk, then turns around to face Ivanka.

‘I signed those executive orders to protect the workers, didn’t I… so they’ll have money in their pockets while we still deal with the pandemic and wait for Congress to make up its mind. I did that.’

‘That was good,’ says Ivanka.

‘I care about the workers, that’s why I did it… still I get criticized.’

She nods thoughtfully.

‘So that’s it, then?’ he says.


‘I didn’t go back to my people and said to them, “we’ve got to negotiate with the other side, we’re only half of this nation?”’

Ivanka nods her assent.

‘And the thing is… I could’ve done it… I could’ve.’

Trump sits down again, looks directly at Ivanka.

‘I have trouble with the truth.’

Ivanka’s never heard him say this to her.

‘I am terrific at hiding it… I find all kinds of ways to do it.’

Ivanka’s instinct is to soothe her father but manages to hold back.

‘Do you mind if I tell you this?’

‘No, dad.’

He looks down at the ground for a moment, then up at her again.

‘I’m great at putting on a show… and I know it’s a show… but after a while I start believing it myself.’

Ivanka nods.

‘You remember that moment in Helsinki, in July 2018, after the press conference with Putin… well… I did not stand up to him… and I could have… but I didn’t.’

‘I remember that…. I was watching that day… why didn’t you, dad?’

‘What if he would’ve challenged me… right there in front of the whole world?’

‘What if…?’ returns Ivanka, ‘it’s not like you would’ve had to fight the guy if he did.’

Trump lowers his eyes.

‘All I needed to do was tell him to not interfere with our elections… but to do that would’ve been to admit that he had… and to admit that meant to acknowledge his meddling might have made a difference. See… even though I had won the election…. it didn’t feel like I really had… and so it felt like I owed Putin something… and I feared that if I challenged him, he would’ve come back with all kinds of details about his interfering… and the idea of that happening was something I could not accept. So I chose not to confront him.’

They pause.

‘All this time, you’ve lived with the belief that you really didn’t win the election?’

Trump hangs his head.

‘Sometimes I believe it… sometimes I don’t.’

Ivanka ponders his words. He has never spoken to her this way.

‘I very much wanted to become president and saw the opportunity… it was right there… I knew Hillary was weak and could be pushed… and it worked.’

Quiet falls.

‘Dad… the things you said to get elected… you believe in any of them?’

He closes his eyes for a moment…

‘I will say what I must to get the votes… I have no real conviction… instead there’s this void in me… which I mostly ignore…  yet it seems like it wants to be filled… but I’m afraid that if I try to… I would have to be honest… and I fear that if I do… the laughter will stop.’

‘And then what?’ she asks softly.

‘Then I discover that I’m all about nothing.’

‘That’s scary.’

‘If my supporters want me to believe in conspiracy theories, why then, I believe in those too. Except that I don’t. I pretend to, mostly.’

Ivanka looks off.

‘Am I making you uncomfortable?’ he asks.

‘No. I want to hear you out. I’m your daughter. Maybe there’s something I can do.’

He nods thoughtfully. Then he rises and walks about a few paces.

‘I am a gifted man, gifted with energy, gifted with charm, with intelligence… but I’ve made a mess of things. And I have because I didn’t reflect on who I was and didn’t do something about it.’

‘Who are you?’ she asks, mustering the courage.

Trump looks at her.

‘Does it seem strange to you that you are asking that question of me?’ says Trump.

‘It does.’

‘The good news… is that failure… failure… yes, that word that I abhor… failure… is finally catching up with me. Who am I you ask? I am a man without a center… comfortable only when trying to persuade others to not find their own center.’

He’s said those words before, to himself, but never to another person.

‘Acknowledging failure would give me a sense of my real limitations… and open the door to developing empathy. That would be the start of the road to my center, to my self… and I say that now and have said it before but don’t do it!’

He stands up again, this time walking toward the open window. He stands there for a moment, looking out, then returns to sit across Ivanka.

‘I’ve known that I have to look at my flaws… again and again until I process them… and that’s how I’ll develop my center… but I don’t do it. I let them sit, unexamined, till they fly again in my face.’

He slides up to the edge of his seat, the expression anguished.

‘I suppose there’s still time…’

He drops his face in his hands and stays like that for a moment, as if in penitence.

‘You’re right… there’s no reason I couldn’t have gone back to my people right after the election and said, ‘we have got to mend fences… we’re all in this together… I’ve got your back, I will be your champion, but we’ve got to talk to the other side.’

She nods approvingly.

‘And if I had… if I’d have had the resolve to do that… the courage to do it… well then, when the virus was looming, when it was approaching, when it was crossing the ocean… I would’ve stepped up.’

‘Yes, dad.’

‘But I didn’t… and all these people have died as a result.’

She nods.

‘Don’t think that hasn’t weighed on me… the loss of so many people… and me just blaming China instead of owning up to my flaws.’

‘It’s very sad,’ she says.

Trump stares down at the ground for a moment, then up at her again.

‘Did the virus kick me out of the White House? No. I did it myself. I blew it.’

Quiet falls.

‘Dad… I know you’ll get on with confronting your flaws… I know you will.’

He shrugs.

‘You have to, dad. Like you said, it’s not over… but if you lose this election… then there’s still 2024. You’ll be a fit 78 by then.’

He looks up at her, the trace of a smile, hope now sparkling in his eyes.

‘Politics is in your blood. I know you’re not going into retirement,’ continues Ivanka.

‘You’re right about that.’

She smiles at him. Then looks in the direction of the window, as she runs her fingers through her hair.

‘I’m going to miss this place, too,’ she says, longing coloring her words.  

‘Would you like to run for office one day?’ he asks.

‘Maybe… it’s a cutthroat business.’

‘Cutthroat yes… but a hell of a lot of fun.’

‘Would you like Barron to run for office one day?’ she asks.

‘Yes,’ he says. ‘I would like that, very much.’

He leans forward, joining his hands in front of him.

‘Next time I’ll be better prepared. I’m a good campaigner. I can work a crowd, give them what they want… so no…  I’m not through, even if I have to leave this place for 4 years.’

‘It’ll keep you active, wheeling and dealing,’ she says.

‘You know me well,’ he replies. ‘I’ve got too much left in me… and if I make it back I’ll get my face carved on Mount Rushmore.’

‘Dad! You’re not really serious, are you?’ she says with a note of alarm.

‘Why not? I get that I’m not on the same level with Washington, Jefferson or Lincoln, but what does Teddy Roosevelt have on me? He rode horses? Went to Cuba on a publicity stunt?’

‘No! Don’t do that! It’s just way too grandiose!’ She slides up to the edge of her seat, the tone urgent. ‘If you really want to stay in politics and run again, you’ve got to deal with the grandiosity.’

But he’s on a roll.

‘You’re not getting it… people love me because I’m brash, unpredictable… and yes, sometimes grandiose. But I don’t believe half of it, so I’m okay.’

‘Dad… listen to yourself, please… you were just talking about confronting your flaws…’

‘Even if I lose this election, it won’t be because of Biden but because of the virus, and the proof of it will be that I’ll trounce him in the debates. I’ll beat him silly. Those debates will be memorable, real gems of political theatre, to be studied for generations!’

‘Dad, stop! Did you already forget what you were talking about?’

He stops, brings his palms together in front of his face as he catches his breath… nods thoughtfully in the pause. Then begins again, slowly.

‘You’re right… it just gets away from me… it’s my personality… I can think about all these things to do to become a better person… then it gets away from me, just slips away.’

‘You need to keep reminding yourself,’ insists Ivanka.

‘Absolutely. Yes. You’re right. Now, tell me, who do you think will run against me for the nomination, in 4 years?’

‘That’s a good one. I think… Romney, for sure. Pompeo too…’


‘Yes, he’s aching for the chance. And he’ll hire Bolton as an advisor and he’ll quote from his book.’

‘Bolton, sure, he’s nuts, always dreaming of going to war. Oh, the scoundrels,’ says Trump. ‘Who else?’

‘Hmm… Pence.’



‘He’d run against me? After all I’ve done for him, lifting him out of obscurity in godforsaken Indiana?’

‘Yes. He’d run against you.’

‘You know… I’ve asked him to pardon me.’


‘Yes. I’d resign a couple of weeks before leaving office, just so he could become president and then turn around and pardon me.’

‘That’s crazy,’ she says.

‘Not really.’

‘But what about if you resign and he changes his mind and doesn’t pardon you?’

Trump reflects on it. ‘He wouldn’t do that… that would be treason. That’s not Mike. Anyone else you think would run against me?’

She thinks. ‘Can’t come up with anyone else, but there will be others. Maybe Nikki Hailey.’

‘Could be. Well… let me know. I need to get back to work. One last thing… you think Bolsonaro in Brazil really got the virus he says he got and recovered from?’

‘Why… you think it was a hoax?’

‘Not sure.’

Intrigued by his question, she asks, ‘You’re not… thinking of intentionally getting the virus yourself, are you?’

He smiles mischievously.


‘It would be a modified version of it, an attenuated form, enough to make me test positive but not enough to get that godawful lung infection that comes with it. And it would get me a lot of sympathy and a boost in the polls.’

‘Dad, it’s not just the lungs, it can affect the heart too! Don’t you dare do that. I won’t let you. I will not!’

He smiles affectionately. ‘You know… I’d like for you to stay political… and four years from now, when I run again, I’ll put you in as my running mate. A Trump Trump ticket.’

She laughs, stands and goes to him. He rises and they hug.

‘Just remember,’ he says as they pull apart. ‘One way or another, Donald Trump is not through. I’ll be back in 2024.’

To be continued.

Oscar Valdes is the author of Psychiatrist for A Nation. Available on Amazon.


Masking Forward. And the Risk of Denial.


Financial markets reacted sharply today with a sell off as news surfaced of a pickup in new cases of Covid-19 infections and the dampening impact it may have in the reopening of the economy.

I think it is an overreaction.

The greater incidence of new cases may well reflect enhanced testing capacity. The trend on the number of deaths continues to be downward. Furthermore, we know more about the illness and are better prepared.

That said, a real increase in infections may be at work, and the reopening of the economy a factor.

Still, I favor the continued and gradual reopening so long as it is done cautiously.

There is no reason for example, for dispensing with the protection of masks. We need only turn to the example of Japan – South Korea also – for a salutary reminder.

The pandemic continues to rage through the world but, as of this writing, the number of deaths in Japan does not even reach 1000. By contrast we have nearly 114 thousand here at home. Much of the difference can be ascribed to cultural differences, i.e. the Japanese custom of bowing to greet instead of shaking hands, and their long standing acceptance of mask wearing.

There can be a continued reopening of all sectors of the economy while maintaining the basic triad of prevention – mask wearing – social distancing – frequent disinfecting.

But it appears that sectors of our population are choosing to ignore such measures.

To not follow them is an instance of massive denial.

I fault principally our current leadership for not setting a clear example of what should be done.

It was an act of grand denial to begin with, for us to have reacted slowly to the arrival of the virus. And here we are again repeating the same behavior.

Denial is an enormously destructive force.

I see its effects every day in the field of mental health, where I work. Patients with severe illnesses get well from the taking of meds, then once they feel recovered, they stop taking them and promptly get sick again. You’d think that since it happened once, that would be enough to learn the lesson. But no, they make the same mistake a second, third, fourth or fifth time, with the cumulative effects having serious consequences.  

Reason seems difficult to accept.

And so it appears to be with Covid-19.

In the absence of leaders who prefer not to set an example for the nation by wearing a mask, we are on our own.

Good luck.

Oscar Valdes is the author of ‘Psychiatrist for A Nation’. Available on Amazon.

See Oscarvaldes.net for other titles.