Four or so days ago Trump was claiming absolute authority to order the nation’s economy to start up again. I assume someone was able to explain to him that, in fact, he had no authority to open anything that had been closed by by the states, so he then made a show of authorizing the governors to make decisions for their own states. Which they would have done, anyway.
But then Trump realized that people who like him are protesting restrictions in some states and calling for state economies to re-start NOW. The photo above shows protesters in Ohio — taken this week, mind you. So today the moron encouraged the protests by tweeting LIBERATE MINNESOTA! LIBERATE MICHIGAN! LIBERATE VIRGINIA! Yeah, that’s helpful. I notice he didn’t call to LIBERATE OHIO!, possibly because the governor there is a Republican.
Aaron Rupar writes at Vox that Fox News has been promoting these protests. Of course. Also,
Fox News’s coverage might give you the idea that these protesters represent the views of a significant chunk of people in their states. But polling indicates that’s not the case. For instance, a YouGov/Economist poll released Wednesday found that 61 percent of Americans think Trump should institute a nationwide stay-at-home order, compared to just 22 percent who are opposed. Along the same lines, polling from the Pew Research Central released on Thursday showed that 66 percent of people are concerned their state governments will relax social distancing restrictions too soon, compared to just 32 percent who are worried they won’t move quickly enough.
As Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) noted in response to the so-called “Operation Gridlock” in her state, the sad irony is that such demonstrations could end up extending the need for stay-at-home orders by spreading the virus among protesters. But asked on Thursday if he thinks protesters in Michigan should listen to local officials like Whitmer, Trump said that such people listen to him instead.
By now there’s been enough death in enough states that most Americans realize this coronavirus is a bigger deal than seasonal flu. By now I suspect most Americans are at least acquainted with someone who possibly has the virus but can’t get tested. Trump can brag the car he’s selling is beautiful and runs like a dream, but people are seeing for themselves the bumpers are falling off and the tailpipe is rusty.
But there are always a few who don’t catch on. Some elected officials, not just Fox News bobbleheads, are encouraging the protests.
The tension has prompted Republican lawmakers and supporters of the president to publicly call for Americans to defy their local orders, claiming they infringe on constitutional rights. On Monday, Richard Grenell, acting director of the Office of National Intelligence and the U.S. ambassador to Germany, posted a photo of the Bill of Rights on Instagram with a title “Signed Permission Slip to Leave Your House.” Below the post, in the caption, Grenell wrote, “Love this!”
There’s nothing considered unconstitutional about the state restrictions, as I wrote earlier this week. There are, however, a lot of morons who have awarded themselves degrees in epidemiology, not to mention constitutional law, who are very certain that we don’t really need to be doing all this restricting. And these morons are listened to. There is no surer way to be hailed as an “expert” than to tell people what they want to hear.
Regarding the tests, it’s clear Trump has gone from bragging there are plenty of tests and that they are beautiful tests, the best tests, to just washing his hands, figuratively speaking, of the whole subject of tests. He doesn’t even want to hear about the tests. The tests are the governors’ problems. Here’s Trump three days ago:
Trump blows up and threatens to leave his own press conference when he was asked about people not being able to get tested. pic.twitter.com/wo0yWK9xBX
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) April 14, 2020
In normal times, something complicated that is needed nationally would in fact be the federal government’s responsibility. But getting all those tests is hard. So Trump doesn’t want to be bothered. But they won’t leave him alone about the damn tests. No wonder he’s angry about the tests.
Some of Trump’s other comments inspired an Epic Snark for the Ages from Andrew Cuomo today. You really want to watch this.
But the administration can’t escape the tests. Trump finally sort of convened his business executive task force, although it seems to have been little more than a conference call, to advise him on re-opening the economy. And guess what the business executives wanted to talk about?
The Wall Street Journal reports that in Trump’s first task force meeting of business and political leaders, executives told the president that the administration must dramatically increase the availability of coronavirus testing “before the public would be confident enough to return to work, eat at restaurants or shop in retail establishments,” according to sources familiar with the call.
And today Senate Democrats tore into Mike Pence about tests.
A Democratic Senate aide told CNN that “almost every question” from Democratic senators on the call “has been about testing,” and said that the administration “has not given clear answers.”
The source said that at one point, Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said to Pence and everyone on the call, “I have never been so mad about a phone call in my life.”
King called the administration’s failure to develop a more widespread national testing regime a “dereliction of duty.”
Is this the single biggest bleepup in U.S. history? It’s certainly the biggest failure of the U.S. government to respond to a crisis, but I’m not sure it yet rises to the level of sending ground troops into Vietnam. That will depend on how long it will take the nation to put itself back together after we get rid of Trump.
Meanwhile, more protests are being planned around the country. A protest is planned for Kansas City, for example, even though the governor of Missouri is a useless right-wing Republican sock puppet. They must be planning to protest the Democratic governor of Kansas. Trumpers are still confused about which state Kansas City is in, I guess. See also The rightwing groups behind wave of protests against Covid-19 restrictions.