JEERS ... to President Donald J. Trump.
Wednesday, Trump picked up on a tweet from Young Americans for Liberty President Cliff Maloney of Valparaiso, Fla., who took the side of the Christ Church protesters during their Sept. 23 altercation with Moscow police.
The president added what is politely described as a prevarication: “DEMS WANT TO SHUT YOUR CHURCHES DOWN, PERMANENTLY. HOPE YOU SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING. VOTE NOW!”
Exhibit A: Two people were arrested and three more were cited not for singing psalms or practicing their religion. They were openly defying the city’s social distancing and face-mask mandates.
Exhibit B: Nobody is trying to close the churches. Had the faithful remained in their own domain, no one would have compelled them to wear masks or practice social distancing. The city of Moscow does not enforce its ordinance on private property — unless, of course, it provides public accommodations, such as a retail outlet. Instead, Christ Church adherents ventured into the public square, in this case outside Moscow City Hall, to provoke a reaction.
Exhibit C: What Democrats? Moscow Mayor Bill Lambert and the city councilors who have passed the ordinance were elected to nonpartisan office.
And Trump — whose own irresponsibility with COVID-19 landed him in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with the virus and transformed the White House into a coronavirus hot spot — is giving aid and comfort to anti-maskers at a time when Idaho is facing a third wave of infection.
Idaho’s positivity rate for COVID-19 testing hit 23.22 percent — second only to South Dakota — according to Johns Hopkins University. As Tommy Simmons and Thomas Plank of the Idaho Press note, that’s 4.6 times higher than the World Health Organization’s 5 percent threshold for reopening an economy.
On Wednesday, Idaho hit a milestone with 500 COVID-19 deaths.
According to the New York Times, Idaho’s seven-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases reached 526 on Wednesday, up from 485.5 just a week before.
The Times also reported that Idaho’s seven-day moving average of COVID-19 deaths rose to five, up from two on Sept. 30.
As of Tuesday, 191 Idahoans were hospitalized with COVID-19, and 41 were being treated in the intensive care unit.
Latah County’s seven-day moving average was 43.8 per 100,000 — well above the state’s average of 27 per 100,000.
If you’re unwilling to help us, Mr. President, at least stop hurting us.
JEERS ... to Ammon Bundy of Emmett.
If there’s an opportunity to create chaos, this professional anarchist will find it.
It doesn’t have to be a standoff with federal law enforcement officers at this father’s public lands ranch in Nevada or a national wildlife refuge in Oregon.
He’s willing to settle for stalking a Meridian police officer outside his home, barging his way into Idaho Legislature’s chambers or bullying the Southwest District Health Department at Caldwell.
But a high school football game?
Last Friday, Emmett High School was playing at Caldwell — and was leading 35-0 — when Bundy got involved. He refused to comply with the school district’s face-mask policy. Nor would he agree to leave and watch the game from a nearby park.
As the Idaho Statesman’s Nicole Foy reported, Bundy yelled back at perturbed parents: “I will not put on a mask. I have a right not to put on a mask. You guys should be brave enough to do the same thing.”
Faced with few options, Caldwell school officials canceled the game at the end of the first half. And until Tuesday when Emmett Athletic Director Gavin Watson and Caldwell Athletic Director Jon Hallock made a deal, it appeared Emmett would forfeit the game and lose a playoff spot.
The COVID-19 pandemic already has cost Idaho’s kids so much. They’ve missed graduations, proms and have been forced to endure bouts of distance learning.
Why would anyone interfere with this small piece of normality? What’s next on Bundy’s agenda? Disrupting day care Christmas programs?
JEERS ... to Sen. Jim Risch and Congressman Russ Fulcher, both R-Idaho.
Both have refused to stand on the same platform with Democratic rivals Paulette Jordan and Rudy Soto and debate.
The latest example is their unwillingness to show up for debates scheduled on Boise’s KTVB.
Risch has agreed to appear Oct. 16 on public television’s Idaho Debates. Fulcher has signed onto tonight’s program, which airs at 8 p.m., also on public television.
But in contrast with past years, the public television format is not a live debate. It involves pre-taped individual interviews.
That approach was adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preserving an advantage over their less well-known and under-funded challengers serves the interests of these incumbents.
What about yours?
What about your ability to see and hear your senator and your congressman defend their records without relying on flashy television ads and campaign talking points?
These two aren’t asking for your votes.
They’re expecting it.
JEERS ... to former Idaho state Sen. Dan “Don’t piss him off” Foreman, R-Viola.
He, too, was a no-show for a debate with the Democrat who ousted him from office two years ago, Sen. David Nelson of Moscow. In this case, it was Wednesday’s League of Women Voters of Moscow candidate forum.
Due to Foreman’s absence, Nelson was denied an opportunity to participate.
What is it Foreman has against the voters of Moscow?
During his two-year term, he voted against the University of Idaho’s budget.
He blew his stack with a group of UI students who lobbied on behalf of Planned Parenthood.
When a Latah County fair-goer disagreed with him, Foreman invited him to “go straight to hell, you son of a bitch.”
And he once characterized Moscow as a “big, selfish, godless town without a soul.”
Voters will stand just about anything from a politician — conflicts of interests, misdirection and outright dishonesty.
But will they tolerate Foreman’s obvious contempt? — M.T.