The Trump administration is endangering us all. As right-wing protests against shelter at home orders continue to spread, drastically increasing the chances of the coronavirus spreading to new victims in the process, the president refuses to condemn the gatherings.
Instead, Trump been lending support to the protestors and calling for them to “LIBERATE” their states. His political calculus is obvious: he’d rather more people get sick and die than risk alienating the unhinged populist reactionaries who propelled him into office. Having regularly downplayed the virus since the outbreak first began, Trump has only himself to blame for his supporters’ refusal to recognize the severity of this pandemic.
What should happen is the president should come out and tell these protestors that their economic concerns are understandable but that protesting like this is only going to make the virus spread faster and prolong this nightmare. Prematurely reopening the country like these people are demanding might get them back to work in the short term, but would almost certainly cause more economic damage and make things worse for them in the longterm as hospitals are overwhelmed and the deaths of countless Americans throw the economy into an even worse tailspin.
Of course, Trump lacks the courage to deliver such a blunt and difficult statement. Instead, he’ll continue to flirt with supporting these protestors while insisting that he is acting responsibly and in the best interests of the country.
Earlier today, Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on Fox News to sell the idea that her boss actually cares about the health of the protestors. When asked directly what the president thinks about his supporters calling for an end to virus guidelines that Trump himself implemented, Conway equivocated.
“Well first and foremost we want people to adhere to the CDC guidelines and we’ve updated those, Sandra, about less than two weeks ago for the sixteen critical infrastructure industries,” she said, before doing her best impression of a responsible government official by reeling off some of the guidelines.
“But some of the protestors, you’ve clearly seen the pictures, are breaching that social distancing line,” said host Sandra Smith.
“Correct,” admitted Conway. “But at the same time, some of these governors have physically distanced themselves from common sense,” she went on, employing that trademark bad faith spin we’ve come to expect from her.
“In Michigan, you can basically smoke your grass but not cut your grass. This makes no sense to many people,” Conway went on, throwing the implicit support of the Oval Office behind these reckless protestors. “And so for them, this is not fomenting domestic rebellion. I look at those people and I see the forgotten man and the forgotten woman.”
Conway’s cynical refusal to condemn these protests shows that the White House cares little about the spread of this virus in actuality. Her decision to take aim at state leaders like Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) is no coincidence either, as heaping blame on state officials has become Trump’s favorite strategy for shirking responsibility for his mistakes.
This pandemic has made one thing abundantly clear about every member of this administration: none of them should be permitted to hold any kind of position of power ever again.
— America's Newsroom (@AmericaNewsroom) April 20, 2020
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