There May Be a Problem

Trump is supposed to address the nation tonight, 9 pm eastern time. I’m sure I can find something else to watch on Netflix. Let us know if you watch and he says anything significant.

The Dow officially entered a bear market today, and coronavirus officially became a pandemic.  The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade may or may not be cancelled; there are contradicting reports. This may be getting serious.

Jordan Weissman writes at Slate that nobody likes Trump’s ideas for dealing with the financial meltdown being caused by the pandemic. For example, Trump is pushing for a payroll tax cut that would last past the November election. Lawmakers of both parties shot that down, although for different reasons. Republicans want something more “surgical.” Democrats slammed Republicans for thinking tax cuts fix everything.

Senate Democrats put forward a bill to require employers pay up to fourteen days of sick leave during the pandemic. Republicans shot that down because, you know, it’s not fair to employers. So the food service workers will show up to work sick.

Complicating matters, the toddler-in-chief is throwing tantrums over having to work with Nancy Pelosi.

President Donald Trump can’t stand the idea of negotiating one-on-one with his chief counterpart, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Indeed, he suspects that she would use the moment to try to humiliate him.

She doesn’t need to humiliate him; he’s doing that job just fine, all by himself.

Two senior Trump administration officials described a president who, out of an intense bitterness toward the House Speaker, has shuddered at the prospect of being in the same room with her during the ongoing public-health crisis and economic reverberations.

So juvenile.

Reuters is reporting that

The White House has ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, an unusual step that has restricted information and hampered the U.S. government’s response to the contagion, according to four Trump administration officials.

Did they think no one would notice the pandemic?

The officials said that dozens of classified discussions about such topics as the scope of infections, quarantines and travel restrictions have been held since mid-January in a high-security meeting room at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), a key player in the fight against the coronavirus.

Staffers without security clearances, including government experts, were excluded from the interagency meetings, which included video conference calls, the sources said.

“We had some very critical people who did not have security clearances who could not go,” one official said. “These should not be classified meetings. It was unnecessary.”

See also Max Boot, The right-wing media’s contempt for truth has never been more dangerous. Yeah, tell us about it, Max.