In 64 CE, Nero fiddled while Rome burned. On the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, Trump golfed while the U.S. death total from COVID-19 neared 100,000.

There are other comparisons one can make between Nero and Trump. Both cheated. In the Olympics Nero competed in the chariot races and fell out on a turn. The rest of the chariots waited until he got back in, and then Nero charged ahead.

Trump cheats continually at golf. Check Rick Reilly’s book, “Commander in Cheat,” for the full story, but here are some tidbits.

Trump always plays first, swings, gets in his cart, and roars away before anyone else plays. In golfing etiquette this is rude, but being rude never bothers Trump. He has also driven his cart onto the green, damaging the grass. Though he is not seen putting, the ball is in the hole. Every time.

He has corrupted the Secret Service as they have been seen kicking Trump’s balls out of the rough onto the fairway. Anyone who plays with Trump knows better than to count his strokes on each hole. It will always be less than what Trump actually took.

Nero cheated on his wives, as Trump has, though I’m fairly sure Trump has never kicked any of his wives down the stairs.

Nero, like Trump, was never wrong. Nero, too, if there had been a plague in his time, would say, “I am not responsible,” as Trump said about the many fatalities from COVID-19 in the US. And Nero would probably have said about any rumor of a plague, “It’s a hoax,” as Trump did early on. Trump was wrong about that, too.

One regular feature of Roman emperors like Nero, Caligula and Domitian, three of the worst, is that they must be seen as imperators, winners against a foreign foe. Trump has followed this tradition by declaring war on COVID-19.

Unfortunately Trump got into the battle late. He was told about COVID-19 in January, and yet he did nothing to protect the country until March. The two month delay cost thousands of American lives. Even now there is still a shortage of swabs, masks and gowns for hospital personnel.

In the end, Nero fell on his sword. Trump will continue on, but at the moment the score is COVID-19 deaths in the US 100,000+, Trump zero.

Trump is a loser.

Ralph Mohr

Coos Bay

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