The latest news about the spreading coronavirus crisis is producing a rather schizophrenic response from Donald Trump and his administration. On one hand he is desperately trying to suppress accurate information in order to prevent a negative impact on his public approval ratings and damage his prospects for reelection. On the other hand he is scheduling ever more public appearances with his virus task force in an effort to tamp down panic.
The problem with Trump’s Anti-Coronavirus, All Is Well, National Tour is that he continues to disseminate falsehoods regarding the spread of the virus and his pitifully ineffective response to it. On Friday he visited the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) where he dealt out numerous lies about the alleged containment and availability of testing. On the latter he rambled nearly incoherently, conflating fake virus data with the excuses he used to justify his attempts to solicit political dirt on Joe Biden from Ukraine:
“They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test. […] and the tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect, right”
Seriously? Trump is actually trying to employ the documented lies he told – that resulted in his impeachment – to validate his patently false claims that testing is widely available. In other words, he’s using his conviction to prove his innocence. But according to his virus team, those tests will still not be available in sufficient quantities for weeks. However, if they were to become available, the first place to distribute them should be at Trump’s cult rallies that are filled with supporters who believe his assertions that there is really nothing to worry about. As News Corpse noted last week…
“This campaign of trivialization is insuring that it is Trump’s supporters who are the least informed about the reality of this budding pandemic. They are, therefore, the most likely to dismiss the risks and behave in ways that could escalate the incidence of infection. So while supporters of Democratic candidates may gather in public, they are likely to be heeding common sense advice to wash their hands, use sanitizers, cough or sneeze safely, and even stay home if not feeling well. But the Trump cultists who aren’t buying the seriousness of the outbreak, will be more likely to ignore such precautions.”
A new poll by Reuters/Ipsos confirms the potential risks of associating with Trumpists. As a result of the President’s dangerously optimistic pronouncements, his supporters are less likely to adjust their behavior to conform with the recommendations of medical experts.
“Democrats are about twice as likely as Republicans to say the coronavirus poses an imminent threat to the United States, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted this week. And more Democrats than Republicans say they are taking steps to be prepared, including washing their hands more often or limiting their travel plans.”
This makes the possibility of exposure and transmission far greater among Trump supporters than other Americans. And the places where Trump’s followers gather in the biggest numbers is, of course, at his cult rallies. Trump was asked on Friday whether he was concerned about the potential risk of bringing people together for these events. He replied callously that it “doesn’t bother me at all, and it doesn’t bother them at all.”
Well, so long as Trump and his disciples are not “bothered,” everything should be okay. No one needs to worry that they might be a breeding ground for a pandemic viral infection that they could spread to their families, co-workers, neighbors, and even strangers at shopping malls, movie theaters, churches, etc.
Although, it is a bit comforting that despite Trump’s reckless indifference to spreading disease at his self-serving rallies, he presently doesn’t have any scheduled. It’s impossible to know whether that is because he secretly is concerned about contaminating his fans (or more likely, himself), or he just hasn’t settled on the specifics of his itinerary going forward. But in any case, it would still be wise to avoid any large assemblies of Trump supporters who aren’t taking common sense precautions because Trump, in his infinite wisdom, told them they don’t need to.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.