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Geraldo Rivera’s proposal to name a COVID-19 vaccine after Donald Trump is like naming a set of steak knives after Jack the Ripper

Geraldo Rivera reminds me of that guy in college who is cast in the tricky role of go-between after two of his friends have a nasty breakup.

Remember that guy? And how it fell on him to let Steve gently know he should skip the rave on Saturday because Miranda was bringing her new boyfriend? The role of go-between is to normalize a new normal. It is to push for détente. It is to help one side accept loss, which allows both sides to move on.

But unlike that guy in college, Geraldo is now the go-between in the nasty breakup of Donald Trump and America. And it’s more complicated than keeping two 20-somethings apart at a kegger. For starters, Trump refuses to accept this is over.

America may well have to file a restraining order.

The lies! The delusions! The baseless allegations of cheating! The zero evidence!

For a guy who’s been thrice married, you’d think Trump would know when to grab an overnight bag and pack his toothbrush, bronzer and Superman Underoos. Instead, he’s smashing the good china, threatening revenge porn and vowing to burn down the house while holed up in the attic with jilted tears: “If I can’t be with America, no one can!”

Enter his buddy Geraldo.

In recent days, the correspondent-at-large for Fox News — that’s like chief dishwasher at Panda Express — has tried his darndest to be a responsible go-between. He’s heaped praise on his friend. He’s encouraged Trump to accept loss with grace and dignity.

But since none of that is working, Geraldo has a new plan.

And it’s more ridiculous than the time he opened Al Capone’s empty vault.

On Friday, with Pfizer filing for emergency use authorization for a promising vaccine — and more vaccines on the way — a light bulb went off inside Geraldo’s head.

“Why not name the vaccine ‘The Trump’?” he wondered aloud on “Fox & Friends,” as the three co-hosts stared into the cameras with blank expressions. “Make it like, ‘Have you gotten your Trump yet?’ No, it would be a nice gesture to him. And years from now, it would become just a kind of generic name: ‘Have you got your Trump yet?’ ‘Yeah, I got my Trump. I’m fine!’ I wish we could honour him in that way.”

I’m sorry, what? You want to honour a guy who downplayed the pandemic — he caught the virus! — and is responsible for thousands of deaths by naming the possible cure after him? Why don’t we name a new set of steak knives after Jack the Ripper? Or maybe the good people at Just for Men can invent a no-drip hair dye and call it The Giuliani? How about Stevie Wonder Binoculars? Or a Miley Cyrus Chastity Belt?

It’s almost as if Geraldo has no clue about Trump’s brand after the last four years.

When I told my overlords the subject for today’s dispatch, one of my editors shared an anecdote that made me laugh out loud: “When I took a cooking class last year, my teacher taught us to call the scum you skim off the top of the chicken broth ‘The Trump.’”

Are you reading, Geraldo? Do you really want to be inoculated with scum?

That’s the biggest problem with this hare-brained proposal to coddle a sore loser who is now trying to destroy democracy because he can’t accept the relationship is over. I can tell you right now, any serum called “The Trump” would turn me into an anti-vaxxer, mostly because I’d be terrified of the side effects, including narcissism and deceit.

Don’t you dare jab me with The Trump! I can’t be having an affair with Stormy Daniels!

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The forthcoming vaccines will only make a difference if people get them. Do you really think citizens in nations the soon-to-be-ex-president called “s—hole countries” will be inclined to roll up their sleeves for The Trump? Please.

There’s a reason we don’t call the rabies vaccine “The Foaming Pit Bull.”

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If Geraldo is absolutely convinced naming something after his deranged friend might soothe a bruised ego and help with the transition of power, then find something more appropriate. If scientists discover a new organism that is 100 per cent toxic to all other life-forms, by all means, call it the “DJT-2020.” If you buy a second-hand car with a bunch of engine problems, call it “The Donald” instead of a “lemon.” Old-timey dictator jackets, expired cottage cheese, faulty smoke alarms, three-legged chairs, broken records, fortune cookies with blank messages, basement floods, tax audits, sink holes, busted zippers, stinky pillows, when you stub a toe, when you binge conspiracy theories, when you deny reality — all of that can and should be called “The Trump.”

But naming a vaccine after an anti-science dingbat makes about as much sense as naming a new 5G network after the Unabomber. We might as well be handing out free milkshakes to the lactose intolerant.

It’s great Geraldo Rivera wants to be the go-between in this breakup.

But his efforts are doomed until his friend realizes it’s over.

Vinay Menon

Vinay Menon is the Star’s pop culture columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @vinaymenon

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