Trump Turns on a Dime: Massive Loss of Life Is Now a Political Problem for Orange Man Because it Threatens His Reelection


turn on a dime

So, last weekend Trump pivoted toward keeping us on lockdown, in order to see whether we can hold down total deaths to somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000—and to keep new outbreaks from spreading into rural red states during the summer and fall. Multiple sources say he finally listened to the scientists because he finally grasped the political implications of ignoring them.

Trump continues to lie like a rug, but his decision to turn on a dime on the social distancing issue has left many of his cultists in a confused psychological state. For example, will Jerry Falwell, Jr., having reopened Liberty University in what has aptly been called an act of right-wing performance art, now close it again? Will the governor of Oklahoma now stop telling people to to go out to restaurants? Will the governor of Florida make sure the beaches are closed?

Who can say? But let me recommend this incisive analysis of The Coronavirus and the Conservative Mind: The pandemic has put psychological theories of politics to a very interesting test.

As It Were

2 plus 2

The one thing that I have been saying that never came across particularly clearly in the way some people — and I’m not mentioning names — have expressed this: We are in the escalating phase of a very serious pandemic. That is a fact. We have got to realize that and to prepare and respond. It is not, as it were, under control.

Interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci

YOU ARE THERE: History in the Making

Further to the topic of my last post, see Susan B. Glasser, The Trump O’Clock Follies: The President’s mendacious nightly press briefings on the coronavirus will go down in history for their monumental flimflammery:

During the Vietnam War, the United States had the Five O’Clock Follies, nightly briefings at which American military leaders claimed, citing a variety of bogus statistics, half-truths, and misleading reports from the front, to be winning a war that they were, in fact, losing. Richard Pyle, the Associated Press’s Saigon bureau chief, called the press conferences “the longest-playing tragicomedy in Southeast Asia’s theater of the absurd,” which, minus the “Southeast Asia” part, is not a bad description of the scene currently playing out each evening in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, in the White House. We now have the Trump Follies, the nightly briefings at which President Trump has lied and bragged, lamented and equivocated, about the global pandemicthat poses an existential threat to his Presidency. Just as the Vietnam briefings became a standard by which the erosion of government credibility could be measured then, historians of the future will consult the record of Trump’s mendacious, misleading press conferences as an example of a tragic failure of leadership at such a critical moment.