Splitsville for the Lone Ranger and Tonto

Lone Ranger

Politico, the house organ for the plutocratic politicos, reports on a big split between Lone Ranger Mike Pence and the Unmasked Jared Kushner, generally known as Tonto:

The Trump White House has a new internal battle: how much to talk publicly about a pandemic that’s crippling huge swaths of America.

President Donald Trump’s top aides are divided over the merits of resuming national news briefings to keep the public informed about the latest coronavirus statistics as infection rates spike in large states including California, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Georgia.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Jared Kushner, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and counselor to the president Hope Hicks are among the aides arguing against these regular sessions because they want to keep the White House focused on the path forward and the nascent economic recovery — without scaring too much of the country about a virus resurgence when infections are rising at different paces in different regions.

Other senior aides, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and his team, believe keeping Americans up to date about the nature of the outbreak is critical as the death toll rises. More than 126,000 people have perished in the U.S. because of the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the government’s own experts are warning of serious trouble ahead.

The brewing internal fight shows the extent to which the White House has lost control of its messaging on Covid-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — as the majority of voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of the virus, according to interviews with a half-dozen current and former senior administration officials and Republicans close to the White House.

Trump’s standing in the polls has slipped in recent weeks among senior citizens, suburban women and white non-college-educated voters, all critical constituencies for the president heading into the heat of his reelection race. Top aides cannot determine the best way for Trump to appear in control of the response — while the president himself has remained focused on culture-war concerns such as protests, the removal of monuments and the funding of law enforcement.