If you expected anything else, if you expected that on this, 1,146th day of his presidency, Trump would be different—that he would finally become presidential—you have been willfully fooling yourself. If, four years ago, you thought, ‘oh, what’s the difference between a Hillary Clinton and a Donald Trump;’ if you thought that they’re all the same, and that none of it matters anyway because American institutions would just get everyone through on autopilot, this is what you get.
You get a president who shuts down the global health security team in the National Security Council so that there’s no one but his son-in-law to advise him when a global pandemic reaches our country’s shores. You get a president who doesn’t care about whether people live or die, he just wants the numbers to look good for him, wants the number of cases down and the numbers on the stock indices up, and the best way to do that is to keep Covid-19 testing and public information at a minimum. You get a president who doesn’t believe in science when it doesn’t suit him and who, as recently as three days ago, declares a virus that had already claimed thousands of lives around the world a “hoax” and “fake news”—or a president that simply focuses, falsely, on how well his administration is responding to the crisis—because the pandemic might hurt the economy and jeopardize his reelection. You get a president who thinks he can do anything, who off-the-cuff announces a rally in Florida, where the governor has suspended all official travel as medical experts advise people practice “social distancing” by avoiding crowds. You get a president whose response to an invisible virus is to blame foreigners.
We are watching an experiment play out in real time. On one side, you have governments, like those of Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China, and Hong Kong that used the powerful tools at a state’s disposal—surveillance, financial and institutional resources, the bully pulpit—to keep citizens informed, to institute smart and targeted travel restrictions and quarantines, thereby keeping the virus from wreaking wider havoc. Then you have Italy, where a messy, squabbling government and piecemeal approach have led to the whole country being shut down, and Iran, where, after weeks of dissembling and lying by state officials, reality has given way to satellite images of burial trenches being dug for the mounting Covid dead. Thanks to Trump’s narcissistic penchant for lying about anything that doesn’t fit his heroic narrative of himself—and thanks to his eagerness to destroy institutions that aren’t slavish in their loyalty to him— America, the richest, most powerful country in the world, is now firmly in the camp of Italy and Iran.
Some 63 million Americans voted for a man who wanted to smash the system to smithereens, either because they felt it wasn’t doing enough for them or because breaking glass just feels so primitively satisfying. Or maybe it's because the Republican Party has been peddling a dystopian anarchistic anti-government pipe dream to them for the last four decades. Now, it turns out, a functioning government is a good thing to have when a global pandemic arrives on your shores. It turns out that maybe reforming an imperfect system is wiser than just taking a sledgehammer to it, better to trust people who have dedicated their lives to being public servants than trashing them in favor of a one-man, megalomaniacal savior, better to have a functioning system than dancing on its rubble while crowing about the death of the “deep state”—or “the political establishment.”
To those 63 million Americans, I say this: you wanted to smash the system and you got what you wanted—in spades. Now we will all have to pay the price.
Schools are closed all over the country or will be closing next week, including here where I live
Professional and college sporting events, theme parks, mass transit, concerts, festivals, even religious services are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.
Our economy is heading for an absolute recession at this point, it's
only a matter of how many thousands of businesses, millions of jobs, and
trillions of dollars will go poof. COVID-19 will be with us for quite a
long time. The assumption that everything
will be okay in April or even May is dangerously wishful thinking at this point. Various states are fending for themselves with a Trump regime that has so far been useless and even counter-productive with Trump's rampant lies.
The GOP sees COVID-19 as a Trojan horse for "liberal wish lists" of legislation and regulation, and they are doing everything they can to make the situation worse.
Despite mounting pleas from California and other states, the Trump administration isn’t allowing states to use Medicaid more freely to respond to the coronavirus crisis by expanding medical services.
In previous emergencies, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the H1N1 flu outbreak, both Republican and Democratic administrations loosened Medicaid rules to empower states to meet surging needs.
But months into the current global disease outbreak, the White House and senior federal health officials haven’t taken the necessary steps to give states simple pathways to fully leverage the mammoth safety net program to prevent a wider epidemic.
That’s making it harder for states to quickly sign up poor patients for coverage so they can get necessary testing or treatment if they are exposed to coronavirus.
And it threatens to slow efforts by states to bring on new medical providers, set up emergency clinics or begin quarantining and caring for homeless Americans at high risk from the virus.
“If they wanted to do it, they could do it,” said Cindy Mann, who oversaw the Medicaid program in the Obama administration and worked with states to help respond to the H1N1 flu crisis in 2009.
One reason federal health officials have not acted appears to be President Trump’s reluctance to declare a national emergency. That’s a key step that would clear the way for states to get Medicaid waivers to more nimbly tackle coronavirus, but it would conflict with Trump’s repeated efforts to downplay the seriousness of the epidemic.
Trump will go as long as he can before declaring an emergency, because the second he does, he admits to his cultists that COVID-19 is real and a threat.
But the GOP response is now coming into focus. They know who to blame for the COVID-19 outbreak, and it's Beijing
Hawkish Sen. Tom Cotton issued a menacing statement on Thursday vowing that the United States “will hold accountable those who inflicted” the coronavirus on the world, seeming to suggest that the Chinese government is behind the pandemic.
“The Wuhan coronavirus is a grave challenge to our great nation,” said Cotton, who announced he is temporarily closing his Washington, D.C. office as a precautionary measure. “We are a great people. We rise to every challenge, we vanquish every foe, and we come through adversity even better than before.”
In a tweet, the Arkansas Republican left no doubt that his statement was directed at China.
Critics slammed Cotton for exploiting the deadly pandemic to beat the drums of war as the U.S. struggles to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
Cotton went on Sean Hannity's FOX News State TV Trump White Power Adviser Hour™ last night to not only accuse China of deliberately unleashing COVID-19 (There's a reason I no longer refer to the virus as 'Wuhan Coronavirus' and I never should have) but to accuse Joe Biden of benefiting from the virus on purpose.
As utterly ridiculous as that sounds, know two things: One, Donald Trump will absolutely start attacking China and Biden any second now and blaming them as the death toll mounts, and two, all 63 million Trump voters will believe every damn word of it. He will blame everything, the illness, the economic recession, the job losses, on "Beijing Biden". If China is "the enemy" here, and Trump uses a national emergency to assume extraordinary powers in a crisis, what will Trump do stop "collaborators" like Joe Biden and the Democrats, and the media? It's insane.
And you know what? There's a very damn good chance it works