Donald Trump is without question the most reckless, ignorant, and incompetent president in America’s short history. Nevertheless, he is renowned for failing to take responsibility for any of his calamitous failures. Trump will vainly shift blame to others, employ awkward deflections, and lie shamelessly to avoid being held accountable. With Trump, the buck is always handed off to an innocent political foe or some hapless flunky.
Fortunately for Trump, he has a cadre of glassy-eyed disciples in right-wing media who will cover for him no matter how ludicrous the circumstances. Most of them reside at State TV (aka Fox News), such as his shadow chief-of-staff-infection, Sean Hannity. Trump relies on Hannity as a defensive shield against uncomfortable facts, propaganda dissemination, and contorted political strategy. And on Saturday Hannity fulfilled all three of those roles in a brief blog post.
The headline on Hannity’s harrangue was “A NEW LOW: Schiff Says ’50,000 Americans Are Dead’ Because Trump Wasn’t Impeached and Removed.” He lashed out at Rep. Adam Schiff for what he said were “Schiff’s vicious comments.” Elaborating, Hannity charged that…
“Congressman Adam Schiff escalated his war-of-words with the Trump administration Saturday; saying “50,000 Americans are dead” because the President was not impeached and removed from the Oval Office.”
What Hannity was referencing was a portion of a Schiff interview on Friday with Chris Hayes on MSNBC (video below). Schiff accurately observed about Trump that “A man with no moral compass will never find his way, and this president certainly hasn’t.” The subject of the segment was Trump’s tragically negligent response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Hayes asked Schiff about comments he made at the conclusion of Trump’s impeachment that speculated about the grave necessity of removing Trump from office to avert future catastrophes. Schiff’s response speculated about the degree of damage Trump would still be capable of if he remained:
“How much damage could he really do? We posed that question to the Senate and we answered it by saying that he could do an awful lot of damage. But frankly, Chris, I don’t think we had any idea how much damage he would go on to do in the months ahead.
There are 50,000 Americans now who are dead in significant part because of his incompetence. Because of his inability to think beyond himself and put the country first. I don’t think we would have ever anticipated that his brand of narcissism and his brand of incompetence, sometimes his brand of malevolence, would be so fatal to the American people.
To be clear, Hannity’s assertion that Schiff said 50,000 Americans are dead because Trump wasn’t removed from office is inaccurate. What Schiff is that the deaths were because of Trump’s incompetence. Of course, those deaths would not have occurred had he been removed, but neither would they have occurred had he not been incompetent. What’s more, the severity of the coronavirus casualties is being under reported. The death toll is now over 65,000 with more than 1,100,000 infected.
A month ago Trump said that he would consider a total of 65,000 deaths to be a “victory.” That was an estimate for August that we reached in April. A few days ago his son-in-law (and senior advisor), Jared Kushner, called it “a great success story.” But yesterday Trump was busy tearing down and reconstructing the goal posts at 100,000 fatalities. Expect those posts to be pushed back further in a few weeks.
As for Hannity, his concern about not holding Trump accountable for the death toll isn’t surprising. But he is also failing to hold himself accountable. He spent the past couple of months dismissing the coronavirus as an insignificant form of the flu. As a result, a recent study revealed that watching Hannity actually increased one’s likelihood of dying from the disease. So it would be wise to practice social distancing from Hannity as well as all other Fox News viewers and Trump supporters. You can’t be too careful these days.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Rep. Adam Schiff on what haunts him from the impeachment trial:
“We asked…we have an election in 9 months. How much damage could he really do? … But frankly, Chris, I don’t think we had any idea how much damage he would go on to do in the months ahead." pic.twitter.com/EiBU5q5edX
— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) April 25, 2020