Trump enters the stage

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

Re: Trump enters the stage-The 'war'president

Postby Meno_ » Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:11 am



Trump predicts victory over coronavirus ‘much sooner’ than expected

The president, during a 90-minute news briefing, maintained that the country was “very united.”

03/22/2020 09:35 PM EDT

As the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. soared past 400 on Sunday, President Donald Trump reassured Americans that everything would be OK and that it would all be over soon.

Even as he acknowledged the novel coronavirus as an invisible enemy that’s attacking more than 140 countries, the self-proclaimed wartime president predicted “a great victory” in America.

“It’s gonna be a victory that, in my opinion, will happen much sooner than originally expected,” Trump said.

In a 90-minute news conference with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Trump rattled off the number of supplies the federal government had sent to New York, California and Washington, where a combined 242 people have died from the virus. The list of materials included respirators, surgical masks, gowns, coveralls and gloves.

The high volume of items being sent to some of the nation’s hot spots highlights the severity of the threat that the nation and the world face. Hospitals are warning of shortages of materials, including a lack of hospital beds and protective equipment. Meanwhile, governors across the country have closed schools, restaurants, bars and other venues in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, which has surged to beyond 33,000 cases in the U.S. Some leaders have gone so far as to order residents to shelter in place or meet a curfew.

The threat has even infiltrated Congress, where three members have contracted the virus and several others are self-quarantining at home. Two congressmen and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky have tested positive in recent days. The disclosure of Paul’s diagnosis on Sunday quickly led to at least two Senate Republicans, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee of Utah, choosing to self-quarantine, leaving the GOP with a slim 48-47 majority.

Trump said he believed the infected members would “all be fine” and mocked Romney, who crossed party lines earlier this year and supported his impeachment. “Romney’s in isolation?” Trump said. “Gee, that’s too bad.”

The president told reporters he didn’t see any threats to a $1.6 trillion emergency rescue package, even if several Republican members were unable to vote on the legislation while they isolate themselves at home.

“It’ll all work out,” he insisted. Within an hour, a procedural vote on the bill failed.

In a broad mix of remarks, Trump also argued that the country was “very united,” warned that the virus would’ve been “catastrophic” if not for the massive tax cuts he signed into law in 2017, claimed the presidency had personally cost him billions of dollars, complained that no one thanked him for refusing a presidential salary, predicted the economy would “skyrocket once this is over,” touted his Department of Veterans Affairs for having “the highest poll numbers in the history of the” VA and suggested that none of his predecessors could tell him anything life-saving if he sought their advice.

“I have the best people in the world,” Trump said. “Look at the approval numbers on the job we’re doing. I think we’re doing an incredible job, so I don’t want to disturb them, bother them. I don’t think I’m gonna learn much. And, you know, I guess you could say there’s probably a natural inclination not to call. Now if I felt that if I called, I’d learn something, and that would save one life — it would save one life, OK? — I would make the call in 10 minutes, but I don’t see that happening.”

Trump said he had a great relationship with Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gavin Newsom of California, who are both Democrats. But he was critical of the news media, telling one reporter “you asked a nasty question” and another that her question sounded like it was “100 percent wrong.”

An emergency relief package meant to pump $1.6 trillion into the reeling U.S. economy stalls in the U.S. Senate.

Confirmed U.S. Cases: 33,276 | U.S. Deaths: 417

President Trump wants to defeat coronavirus and wants to be fully credited for doing so.

The federal government is about to be in the position to pick which companies live and which die.

Workers in low-income occupations are among those most at risk in the coronavirus pandemic.

Carter, Clinton, Bush or Obama? The president says he has not consulted any of them during the current crisis.

He also expressed optimism that a drug used to treat malaria could be a cure for the coronavirus, remarking that there were “tremendous signs it could work.”

“Why should we be testing it in a test tube for a year and a half when we have thousands of people that are very sick?” Trump asked. “They’re very, very sick, and we can use it on those people and maybe make them better and in some cases maybe save their lives.”

“We think it might work on this, based on evidence, based on very strong evidence. We’re gonna see. We’re gonna know sometime after Tuesday,” he added. “I don’t wanna get anybody over-excited, but I’m very excited by that, by the prospect of it.”

Trump’s rhetoric on the drug is at odds with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In an interview on Sunday morning on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Fauci said Trump had been “trying to bring hope to the people” by promoting the drug.

“But my job is to prove definitively from a scientific standpoint that they do work,” he said, explaining their differing views. “I was taking a purely medical, scientific standpoint.”





The big gamble: Trump's finest hour?

 Trump wants to reopen US businesses in weeks ‘not months’ even as deaths rise – as it happened

What to know about the US bailout

Dr Anthony Fauci counters Trump’s claims

Trump signals change in strategy that could clash with health experts

Evening summary

We’re closing out this US politics liveblog for the night, but our global live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic will continue. A summary of key events this evening:

In his White House coronavirus briefing, Donald Trump made clear that he wanted to lift restrictive public health measures as soon as possible, and that his major concern was the state of the US economy. He would re-open America for business in “weeks,” not months, Trump pledged, and refused to say whether he would simply ignore public health experts if they advised that restrictive measures to stop the spread of the virus needed to stay in place longer.

The public health expert who has emerged as a trusted public voice on the epidemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was not present at tonight’s White House briefing.

The White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, said the data on the spread of coronavirus in the New York City region was concerning, but data from Europe, which showed that 99% of the deaths from coronavirus were in people over 50, was reassuring.

A 69-year-old Texas Republican, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, said in a Fox News interview that, as a senior citizen, he would rather risk death than have the government pursue measures that would fundamentally damage the American economy. “I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me,” Patrick said. “Let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves.”

Updated at 22:30 EDT

Washington joins a host of other states with its new stay-at-home order, in which residents are asked not to leave their houses unless necessary. Those states are:

As life grinds to a slowdown across the US, bustling metropolises have come to resemble eerie ghost towns. Here’s what quarantined America looks like from above ...

US cities in coronavirus quarantine,

Updated at 22:28 ED

In his tweets announcing Washington’s new stay-at-home order, governor Inslee urged residents against a run on the grocery stores.

For the sake of our neighbors, our health workers, our seniors and others: No one should make a run on the grocery stores to overstock.

If each of us maintains our normal shopping habits, we will avoid the problem of empty shelves.

— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) March 24, 2020

The Guardian’s Victoria Bekiempis has reported on why panic-buying is the real threat to the US food supply.

She writes ...

As coronavirus spreads in the US, many people are stockpiling essentials for what they believe will be periods of home confinement and panicked shoppers have stripped many US grocery stores of staples ranging from bread and milk to meat and toilet paper.

But, in fact, the virus currently poses little threat to the integrity of the US food supply. It is panic-buying itself that is causing the real disruption.

Experts interviewed by the Guardian said that while the grocery supply chain is generally fine at this point, rapid, dramatic shifts in consumer behavior have temporarily disrupted the market.

Trump himself has sought to assuage fears by urging the country not to hoard groceries amid the outbreak, saying he had a call with grocery industry leaders who urged him to speak out against hoarding.

“They have actually asked me to say: ‘Could you buy a little bit less, please?’ I thought I’d never hear that from a retailer,” Trump remarked, also saying: “They have no shortages. We have no shortages other than people buying anywhere from three to five times [more].”

‘Could you buy a little less, please?’: panic-buying disrupts food distribution

Texas Lt governor: senior citizens might want to risk lives to preserve the economy

An extraordinary television interview tonight with a Texas Republican, Lt Governor Dan Patrick, who is 69 years old and will turn 70 this week.

Patrick and said he is concerned that public health measures to prevent coronavirus will end American life as he knows it, and said he would rather risk death than having the country continue with tough public health restrictions that hurt the economy.

“You know, Tucker, no one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in,” Patrick said. “And that doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that. I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me.”

Patrick praised President Trump’s Monday evening press conference and said his heart was “lifted” by Trump’s emphasis on opening the economy again as soon as possible.

“I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed…[in talking to people] everyone says pretty much the same thing: ‘We can’t lose our whole country. We’re having an economic collapse.”

“My message: let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country. Don’t do that.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick:

“What I'm living in fear of is what's happening to this country…‘Are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?' And if that's the exchange I'm all in"

“You’re basically saying that this disease could take your life, but that’s not the scariest thing to you. There’s something that would be worse than dying,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said to Patrick.

“Yeah,” Patrick said. “And look, I’m going to do everything I can do live. But if you said, are you willing to take a chance …”

A shorter clip of the interview is below:

Tx Lt Gov Dan Patrick says grandparents would be willing to die to save the economy for their grandchildren

Meanwhile in Washington state, the governor Jay Inslee has issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Hallie Golden in Seattle reports ...

Calling this the only weapon we have to fight against the virus, Inslee said during a public address broadcasted online Monday that “the less time you spend out in public, the more lives we can save.”

The order will be in place for a minimum of two weeks and involve a ban on all gatherings and the closure of many businesses, except those deemed essential or those where employees can work remotely. It requires all Washingtonians to minimize social interactions and postpone such events as weddings and funerals.

The announcement came after a weekend full of reports of locals congregating in large groups at parks and standing close to one another in line at coffee shops and restaurants.

On Monday, Washington state health officials confirmed 2,221 cases of coronavirus, including 110 deaths. The majority were reported in King County, which includes Seattle.

Inslee had already banned gatherings of more than 50 people, as well as sit-in service at all food establishments, including restaurants, bars and coffee shops. He also recently announced that all kindergarten through 12th grade public and private schools in Washington will be closed for at least six weeks.

But a growing group of Washington residents had taken to social media to call on local leaders to implement some type of shelter-in-place policy in order to better address the spread of the virus.

The decision follows similar announcements made by officials in at least a dozen other states, including New York and California. Washington has the 2nd highest number of cases in the US, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Fact-checking Trump’s claim about suicide deaths from a bad economy

In a marked low point of Donald Trump’s Monday press conference, the president argued that public health measures to slow spread of the coronavirus might have their own death toll, because the public health guidelines hurt the economy, and economic crisis leads to suicide.

The president implied that quickly ending ending restrictive health measures, in order to open the economy back up again, might avert an outbreak of suicide in the United States.

Before continuing with this post, and in case you find any of the president’s comments triggering, the number for the National Suicide Prevention hotline in the United States is: 1-800-273-8255. More information for other countries at the bottom of this post.

Trump's comments right now may be triggering for some people.

Stick around folks. You are loved

National Suicide Prevention Hotline:

The president said: “People get tremendous anxiety and depression. And you have suicides over things like this when you have terrible economies. You have death, probably, I mean definitely would be in greater numbers than the numbers that we’re talking about with regard to the virus.”

What does the data show?

It is reasonable to suggest that a pandemic-linked recession can increase the risk of a rise in suicides. According to research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, North America and Europe experienced 10,000 more suicides during the 2008 recession. The outbreak of Sars in Hong Kong in 2002 and 2003 also led to a “significant increase” in suicides in those aged over 65, according to 2010 research.

But experts also caution that there is no single cause of suicide.

While the figures for the mortality rate of coronavirus continues to evolve, recent research from Wuhan, China, the city where the outbreak began, indicates the mortality rate there was around 1.4%. Experts at Harvard University have projected an infection rate in the US of between 20 - 60%, meaning that while it is impossible to reliably estimate the American coronavirus death toll a reasonable scenario could result in hundreds of thousands of lives lost.

On first look, given the potentially devastating death toll directly associated with coronavirus, it appears unlikely to be matched by an increased rate in suicide, making the presidents claim almost certainly inaccurate.

In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 and Papyrus can be contacted on 0800 068 4141. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at

Updated at 20:48 ED

Report: CDC said coronavirus survived 17 days in cruise ship cabins

At tonight’s White House briefing on coronavirus, Trump officials kept reminding Americans that the president’s plan to “stop the spread” of coronavirus was only a “15 day challenge” and they were already halfway through.


CDC says coronavirus survived in Princess Cruise ship cabins for up to 17 days after passengers left

— CNBC (@CNBC) March 23, 2020

The mortality rate will be ‘a very big factor’ in Trump’s decision to ease restrictions

Asked if he was concerned that if he eased government restrictions to prevent coronavirus “too early”, the virus might continue to spread unabated, Trump said that he was looking to the mortality rate for coronavirus, and he found it encouraging.

At the beginning, “nobody knew anything about this particular virus”, and Trump said he heard numbers that the mortality rate for the virus might be as high as 5%, compared with “.001 or 2 or 3” percent for the normal flu.

Now, Trump said, he was hearing potential mortality rate numbers that were lower.

“The mortality rate, to me that is a very big factor,” Trump said.

“We’re under 1% now,” Trump said. “It’s still terrible. The whole concept of death is terrible, but there’s a tremendous difference between something under 1% and 4 or 5 or even 3%.”

Trump citing “under 1%” as the mortality rate for coronavirus is roughly in line with some expert estimates looking at data from other countries.

JON KARL: Are you worried that if you lift restrictions too quickly the virus will start spreading?

TRUMP: "The mortality rate, that's a big factor... I think we're very substantially under 1 percent... the whole concept of death is terrible, but there's a tremendous difference"

Trump: Fauci 'doesn't not agree' with need to re-open the economy

My colleague David Smith is in the White House briefing room, and just asked President Trump, “Where is Dr Fauci?”

“I was just with him,” Trump said, explaining that Anthony Fauci was “at a task force meeting”.

Smith asked Trump if Fauci agreed with him about the need to restart the economy.

“He doesn’t not agree,” Trump said. “He understands there’s a tremendous cost to our country.”

Q: "Where is Dr. Fauci right now? Why is he not at this briefing?"

President Trump: I was just with him...he's at the task force meeting right now."

Q: "Does he agree with you about the need to reopen the economy soon?"

President Trump: "He doesn't not agree." 

— CSPAN (@cspan) March 23, 2020

Fauci, the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has become a trusted public figure during the coronavirus crisis, sometimes speaking alongside the president.

A spokesperson for vice-president Mike Pence, asked about why Fauci was not present at today’s briefing, gave a similar statement with a bit more detail:

“Dr. Fauci attended today’s task force briefing in person in addition to other White House meetings. As promised when we started coronavirus briefings at the White House, we would be rotating briefers depending on the news of the day.”

Will the press briefing “look like this forever”? Trump asks.

Trump asked his coronavirus response coordinator a question, as he looked out at the much-more-empty than usual White House briefing room, with many fewer reporters than usual, and many empty seats between each journalist.

Before, the briefing room had been full of lots of “angry people who don’t like me”, Trump said, referring to the White House press corps. And the room used to be “full to the brim”, people almost sitting on each other’s laps, Trump said. “Will we ever have that again, or ... it will look like this forever?”

He turned to attorney general Bill Barr, who was standing behind him, after he asked the question, and Barr chuckled, suggesting he thought this was a funny joke.

Birx dodged answering at first, but Trump asked it again: once the immediate crisis of coronavirus is over, will it be all right for the White House press room to be overflowing with journalists once again?

“I don’t know,” Birx said, saying that the briefing room at the moment looked like clinics around the world where people were taking preventive measures against the spread of tuberculosis.

© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - A very big. ed Sullivan 'shoe'

Postby Meno_ » Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:44 pm


Trump wants 'packed churches' and economy open again on Easter despite the deadly threat of coronavirus



President Trump said on Fox News he wants the U.S. economy to "open" back up by Easter Sunday, even as the number of coronavirus cases in the country accelerates.

In another Fox interview, Trump said, "You'll have packed churches all over our country … I think it'll be a beautiful time."

"This is the making of a major public health disaster. I am not sure where he is getting his information from, but it is extremely flawed," said Dr. Tina Tan of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 

US President Donald Trump (L) speaks during a virtual town hall meeting from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 24, 2020

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants the U.S. economy to "open" back up by Easter Sunday, despite expert warnings about the deadly threat of the coronavirus.

Easter is April 12, less than three weeks away.

Trump's remarks in a Fox News "virtual town hall" event at the White House came as more states imposed extreme  measures, including shutting down businesses and ordering residents to stay home, to try to slow the spread of the disease.

"We're opening up this incredible country. Because we have to do that. I would love to have it open by Easter," Trump said.

"I would love to have that. It's such an important day for other reasons, but I'd love to make it an important day for this. I would love to have the country opened up, and rarin' to go by Easter."

In a second interview with Fox that aired Tuesday afternoon, Trump said he offered the holiday as a deadline because "Easter's a very special day for me."

"Wouldn't it be great to have all the churches full?" Trump asked. "You'll have packed churches all over our country … I think it'll be a beautiful time."

Trump added that "I'm not sure that's going to be the day," but "that would be a beautiful thing."

Medical experts quickly recoiled at Trump's suggestion that Americans could gather en masse amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"Obviously Trump is not rooted in reality," said Dr. Tina Tan, a board member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and a staff member at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

"This is the making of a major public health disaster. I am not sure where he is getting his information from, but it is extremely flawed," Tan said.

The number of people found to have COVID-19 has increased significantly in recent days, as testing kits have been made more available to states.

At least 46,500 cases of COVID-19, including 590 deaths, have so far been confirmed in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

Medical experts, including the Trump administration's scientific point man in the crisis, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have strongly advocated restrictions on people-to-people contact, saying it's better to overreact now than to be sorry later.

"I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting," he told NBC last week.

Fauci has been lauded across the aisle for his straight talk about the coronavirus, offering blunt risk assessments even at times when Trump has downplayed the threat. But Fauci was absent from the White House's most recent briefings on the virus.

A senior administration official told CNBC that Fauci was at the White House on Monday and had numerous meetings with the coronavirus task force Tuesday.

Fears about the coronavirus — and the impact of government containment efforts on businesses and workers — have prompted a dramatic surge in unemployment and have sent stocks spiraling down in recent weeks. 

The White House and leading lawmakers are working long hours on Capitol Hill to hash out the final details of a massive stimulus bill that would offer relief to those affected by the virus. The stimulus package is expected to cost at least $1.5 trillion and could include direct cash payments to Americans and around $350 billion in relief for small businesses.

Trump in the past few days has repeatedly expressed a desire to have the economy "reopen" by allowing businesses to "return to work."

"The faster we go back, the better it's going to be," Trump said during the virtual town hall in the Rose Garden on Tuesday.

He and his top economic advisor, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, suggested Tuesday that the stimulus bill could provide the springboard for an economic revival.

After hemorrhaging value for weeks, stocks jumped higher Tuesday as lawmakers signaled a bipartisan deal was nearing and as Trump pushed to get workers back in stores within weeks.

The U.S., Trump said, can't sustain the current trend of closing down business and commerce in entire states.

"We're not built that way," Trump said. "I don't want the cure to be worse than the problem itself. … You can destroy a country this way."

Trump also once again compared the coronavirus to more common dangers, such as flu and car accidents, in an apparent attempt to play down the risk posed by the new disease.

"We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don't turn the country off," Trump said.

Few other countries are currently looking to loosen the strict steps being taken to slow the disease's transmission. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for instance, announced on Tuesday a "total lockdown" for the country of 1.3 billion people.

Trump wants 'packed churches,' economy open again on Easter despite deadly threat of coronavirus


Dow rebounds more than 11% in best day since 1933 as Congress nears coronavirus stimulus deal


CDC says coronavirus RNA found in Princess Cruise ship cabins up to 17 days after passengers left


Bill Gates says US missed its chance to avoid coronavirus shutdown, businesses should stay closed


Does Tuesday's huge rebound mark the bottom for markets? Investors says one key piece is missing

© 2019 CNBC LLC. All Rights Reserved. A Division of NBCUniversal

Data is a real time snapshot *Data is delayed at least 15 minutes. Global Business and Financial News.

{ a very big shoe to fill, indeed}

>>>>>>>>>snippets from corona times><<<<<<

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on Fox News Monday night that "lots of" grandparents might be willing to die from the coronavirus in order to save their grandchildren from living through another Great Depression. "My message is that let’s get back to work. Let’s get back to living. Let’s...

CoronavirusDan PatrickTexas

Cuomo: "My Mother Is Not Expendable," Won't Accept "Premise That Human Life Is Disposable"
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded the alarm Tuesday, saying that he strongly disagreed with suggestions from President Trump and other Republicans that the keeping the economy healthy is as important as stopping the coronavirus outbreak. "My mother is not expendable and your mother is not expendable--

{This as comment, if doctors have to choose a younger, healthier patient...}
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump way over popular

Postby Meno_ » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:15 pm

{ in spite of the fact that Biden harshly criticized Trump for loosening requirements for social distancing, Trump is at his highest level of popularity yet.}:

President Trump is as popular as he's ever been right now
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated 12:18 PM EDT, Wed March 25, 2020

(CNN)Here's an indisputable fact: President Donald Trump is as popular today as he has been since his first day in office.

In a new Gallup poll, 49% approve of the job Trump is doing as president while 45% disapprove, matching the highest his approval rating has ever been in Gallup surveys. A Monmouth University poll released on Monday showed Trump at 46% approval, again the best he has done in that poll in more than three years.

View this interactive content on
What accounts for Trump's rise? Simple: His response to the coronavirus crisis.

In the Gallup poll, 60% of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing in handling the crisis while 38% disapprove of how he has done. Six in 10 independents approve of how Trump has done on the coronavirus as do more than 1 in 4 (27%) of Democrats. In the Monmouth poll, 50% say Trump has done a good job with coronavirus while 45% said he has done a bad job.

The heightened approval for how Trump has managed this crisis -- particularly among independents and even Democrats -- is what is pushing up his overall approval numbers, which have been largely stagnant for years.

On one level, this isn't terribly surprising. Polling consistently shows a rallying effect around the president when major crises face the country. In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, for example, President George W. Bush's approval rating soared into the high 80s and low 90s. There's a tendency for even partisans of the opposite party from the president to soften a bit in their perception of him as we are reminded of our common humanity and the need for our leaders to, well, lead us out of crisis.

On another, however, Trump's high approval ratings for how he has dealt with coronavirus and how he is handling the job more broadly might well shock people who have been keeping close track of his and his administration's performance on the pandemic.

After all, it's quite clear that the administration simply didn't take the threat of coronavirus seriously enough soon enough. And the testing capabilities for coronavirus in the US were decidedly slow. And Trump's public statements have been marked by inaccurate claims (the test is "perfect", the vaccine is coming fast, etc).

But what the Gallup and Monmouth numbers seem to suggest is that either a) people aren't following every single statement made by Trump on this matter or b) they don't hold him personally responsible for the hiccups along the way.

The average person seems to broadly believe that Trump is doing the best that he can in a very difficult circumstance. And that what he says on a daily basis matters less than the fact he is out there saying it, and assuring the country that this will all be over soon. (Nota bene: There's very little medical evidence to suggest Trump's optimism is rooted in established facts.)

It's important to keep this perspective in mind when analyzing the political impact this massive campaign of social distancing has as the medical world battles the virus. A large number of Americans are looking at Trump's behavior not from the 50-foot or even 500-foot level but the 50,000-foot level.

And at least so far, they like what they are seeing.

View on CNN
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Fox News


Trump says there's 'light at the end of the tunnel' as White House pitches $6T coronavirus stimulus package

 By Gregg Re | Fox News

Saying the country was nearing the "the end of our historic battle" with "the invisible enemy" of coronavirus, President Trump on Tuesday evening emphasized his desire for the U.S. to reopen for business by Easter -- as his top economic adviser said Congress is "getting closer and closer" to passing an unprecedented fiscal stimulus package.

Speaking at Tuesday's White House coronavirus task force briefing, Director of the U.S. National Economic Council Larry Kudlow specifically said the new coronavirus bill working its way through congressional gridlock would total $6 trillion: $4 trillion in liquidity from the Federal Reserve and $2 trillion in new money. Typical annual appropriations from Congress in a given fiscal year are around $1.2-4 trillion, with total expenditures roughly $4.3 trillion.

"I said earlier today that I hope we can do this by Easter," Trump said in the White House briefing room, referring to his comments at a Fox News virtual town hall that officials could soon ease social-distancing restrictions. "I think that would be a great thing for our country, and we're all working very hard to make that a reality. ... Easter is a very special day for many reasons."

Trump also sounded an unexpectedly magnanimous note: "I also want to thank Congress, because whether or not we're happy that they haven't quite gotten there yet, they have been working long hours. I'm talking Republicans and Democrats, all of them, the House, the Senate. I want to thank Congress because they are really trying to get there, and I think they will."

Continue Reading Below


“This package will be the single largest Main Street assistance program in the history of the United States,” Kudlow said, adding that negotiations would continue into the evening but that a vote is imminent.

However, although the temperature on Capitol Hill was much lower on Tuesday, some fireworks began on the Senate floor late Tuesday night, after the briefing. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., remarked that “there are too many people on the field" and that Democrats still wanted too much more money for non-emergency, unrelated policy projects.

"Every special interest group in town is trying to get a little bit more," Graham said. "Nickel-and-diming at a time when people are dying -- literally dying." He urged Trump to recall Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to the White House to end negotiations.

"We may be on the 1-yard-line," Graham added around 8:30 p.m. ET, referring to some lawmakers' claims that the conclusion of negotiations was within reach. "But, apparently there are 20 people on defense."

Democrats' proposed bill includes measures to restrict airlines' carbon emissions, pay off billions in student loan debt, encourage federal agencies to employ "minority banks," bail out the U.S. Postal Service and even fund the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Republicans, including the president, have called the measures "nonsense" nonstarters.

President Donald Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listening as White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow spoke about the coronavirus Tuesday at the White House. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Also at the coronavirus briefing, both Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, remarked that anyone who has left New York City in recent days may have been exposed to coronavirus, and should self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of where they are now.

Pence said the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] was providing 7.6 million N95 masks and 4 million surgical masks to states. The agency told Fox News that at the last minute, it was able to procure coronavirus test kits from the private market and did not need to invoke the “prioritization” clause of the Defense Production Act.

"We should never be reliant on a foreign country for the means of our own survival," Trump said, adding that coronavirus has shown "how critical it is to have strong borders and a robust manufacturing sector."

"This package will be the single largest Main Street assistance program in the history of the United States."

— White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow

As his approval numbers hit their highest point ever, with 60 percent of Americans approving of his coronavirus response efforts, Trump went on to tout the impact of the expected congressional stimulus package as a good sign for the nation's financial future.

"The Dow surged over 2,100 points," Trump said. "That's the all-time record in the history of the exchange."

Investors had released some frustration that had pent up over days of watching Democrats repeatedly block GOP stimulus efforts. Leaders from both parties were more optimistic late Monday and early Tuesday that a deal could be reached.

President Trump listens with Dr. Anthony Fauci during the coronavirus task-force briefing Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

There was some good news inside the White House grounds, as well. As the briefing concluded, White House press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, who has been quarantined since coming in contact with Brazilian officials almost two weeks ago and working from home, revealed she has received negative COVID-19 test results and will be back to work Wednesday.

Grisham will return as the Trump administration increasingly has sought to project optimism. The president, who tweeted Sunday that "WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF," declared at the Fox News virtual town hall that he "would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter."

Pressed by Fox News' John Roberts on the timeline, Trump said at the briefing: "We'll be looking at a lot of things -- we'll also be looking at very large portions of our country, but I'll be guided very much by Dr. [Anthony] Fauci, and by Deborah [Birx]."

Fauci, the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whose absence from recent coronavirus briefings triggered a wave of speculation in the media, said the timeline was still "flexible."

This past Sunday, Fauci rejected attempts by journalists to drive a wedge between himself and the president. "The president was trying to bring hope to the people. I think there's this issue of [the media] trying to separate the two of us. There isn't fundamentally a difference there," Fauci said.

On Sunday, Fauci elaborated in a radio interview, saying media efforts to create a rift were "unfortunate."

"I would wish that would stop because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences," Fauci said. "They're really fundamentally at the core when you look at things, they are not differences."

Democrats have reacted furiously to Trump's new timeline for relaxing economic restrictions, with Hillary Clinton suggesting people would "needlessly die," and Joe Biden accusing Trump of spreading "misinformation."

"This a--hole and his rich friends are too stupid to get that we can only get through this together," former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau wrote. "Everyone is at risk from the virus. Everyone suffers when there aren’t enough hospital beds. Everyone struggles when millions are too sick to work."

Fellow Obama communications alum Tommy Vietor, meanwhile, deleted a tweet lamenting that he was reduced to drinking red wine in the shower during the economic shutdown.

©2020 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.


Trump business excluded from 2 trillion bailout!?


Trump businesses barred from getting coronavirus stimulus money, Schumer says

President Trump's businesses are barred from getting loans or investments under the new $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus deal, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The Trump Organization, which the president has not divested, is run by his two elder sons, Donald Jr. and Eric. The company controls several hotels, resorts and golf clubs, including Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

Democrats and other critics of the president were concerned that Trump's businesses would receive bailout money because the tourism industry is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus.

President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is seen on November 1, 2019 in Palm Beach, Florida

President Donald Trump's businesses are barred from getting loans or investments under the new $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus deal, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The Trump Organization, which the president has not divested, is run by his two elder sons, Donald Jr. and Eric. The company controls several hotels, resorts and golf clubs, including Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. The resort closed last week, during its peak season.

Lawmakers and the White House reached an agreement early Wednesday after days of tense, roller-coaster negotiations that added to uncertainty in markets.

Democrats and other critics of the president were concerned that Trump's businesses would receive bailout money because the tourism industry is one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus, which has spurred leaders to restrict travel and companies to cut capacity and close up shop.

The measure will also ban businesses controlled by Vice President Mike Pence, Cabinet members and lawmakers from receiving the funds, according to details circulated by Schumer, D-N.Y.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said early Wednesday the chamber would vote on the bill later in the day. If approved by the Senate, the bill faces action in the Democratic-led House.

The White House declined to comment

© 2019 CNBC LLC. All Rights Reserved. A Division of NBCUniversal


The end of it?


How the Pandemic Will End

The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out.

Editor's Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here.

Three months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, most everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation’s psyche.

A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”

So, now what? In the late hours of last Wednesday, which now feels like the distant past, I was talking about the pandemic with a pregnant friend who was days away from her due date. We realized that her child might be one of the first of a new cohort who are born into a society profoundly altered by COVID-19. We decided to call them Generation C.

As we’ll see, Gen C’s lives will be shaped by the choices made in the coming weeks, and by the losses we suffer as a result. But first, a brief reckoning. On the Global Health Security Index, a report card that grades every country on its pandemic preparedness, the United States has a score of 83.5—the world’s highest. Rich, strong, developed, America is supposed to be the readiest of nations. That illusion has been shattered. Despite months of advance warning as the virus spread in other countries, when America was finally tested by COVID-19, it failed.

How the Coronavirus Became an American Catastrophe

“No matter what, a virus [like SARS-CoV-2] was going to test the resilience of even the most well-equipped health systems,” says Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious-diseases physician at the Boston University School of Medicine. More transmissible and fatal than seasonal influenza, the new coronavirus is also stealthier, spreading from one host to another for several days before triggering obvious symptoms. To contain such a pathogen, nations must develop a test and use it to identify infected people, isolate them, and trace those they’ve had contact with. That is what South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong did to tremendous effect. It is what the United States did not.

As my colleagues Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer have reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed and distributed a faulty test in February. Independent labs created alternatives, but were mired in bureaucracy from the FDA. In a crucial month when the American caseload shot into the tens of thousands, only hundreds of people were tested. That a biomedical powerhouse like the U.S. should so thoroughly fail to create a very simple diagnostic test was, quite literally, unimaginable. “I’m not aware of any simulations that I or others have run where we [considered] a failure of testing,” says Alexandra Phelan of Georgetown University, who works on legal and policy issues related to infectious diseases.

The testing fiasco was the original sin of America’s pandemic failure, the single flaw that undermined every other countermeasure. If the country could have accurately tracked the spread of the virus, hospitals could have executed their pandemic plans, girding themselves by allocating treatment rooms, ordering extra supplies, tagging in personnel, or assigning specific facilities to deal with COVID-19 cases. None of that happened. Instead, a health-care system that already runs close to full capacity, and that was already challenged by a severe flu season, was suddenly faced with a virus that had been left to spread, untracked, through communities around the country. Overstretched hospitals became overwhelmed. Basic protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and gloves, began to run out. Beds will soon follow, as will the ventilators that provide oxygen to patients whose lungs are besieged by the virus.

With little room to surge during a crisis, America’s health-care system operates on the assumption that unaffected states can help beleaguered ones in an emergency. That ethic works for localized disasters such as hurricanes or wildfires, but not for a pandemic that is now in all 50 states. Cooperation has given way to competition; some worried hospitals have bought out large quantities of supplies, in the way that panicked consumers have bought out toilet paper.

Partly, that’s because the White House is a ghost town of scientific expertise. A pandemic-preparedness office that was part of the National Security Council was dissolved in 2018. On January 28, Luciana Borio, who was part of that team, urged the government to “act now to prevent an American epidemic,” and specifically to work with the private sector to develop fast, easy diagnostic tests. But with the office shuttered, those warnings were published in The Wall Street Journal, rather than spoken into the president’s ear. Instead of springing into action, America sat idle.

Derek Thompson: America is acting like a failed state

Rudderless, blindsided, lethargic, and uncoordinated, America has mishandled the COVID-19 crisis to a substantially worse degree than what every health expert I’ve spoken with had feared. “Much worse,” said Ron Klain, who coordinated the U.S. response to the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014. “Beyond any expectations we had,” said Lauren Sauer, who works on disaster preparedness at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “As an American, I’m horrified,” said Seth Berkley, who heads Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “The U.S. may end up with the worst outbreak in the industrialized world.”

I. The Next Months

Having fallen behind, it will be difficult—but not impossible—for the United States to catch up. To an extent, the near-term future is set because COVID-19 is a slow and long illness. People who were infected several days ago will only start showing symptoms now, even if they isolated themselves in the meantime. Some of those people will enter intensive-care units in early April. As of last weekend, the nation had 17,000 confirmed cases, but the actual number was probably somewhere between 60,000 and 245,000. Numbers are now starting to rise exponentially: As of Wednesday morning, the official case count was 54,000, and the actual case count is unknown. Health-care workers are already seeing worrying signs: dwindling equipment, growing numbers of patients, and doctors and nurses who are themselves becoming infected.

Italy and Spain offer grim warnings about the future. Hospitals are out of room, supplies, and staff. Unable to treat or save everyone, doctors have been forced into the unthinkable: rationing care to patients who are most likely to survive, while letting others die. The U.S. has fewer hospital beds per capita than Italy. A study released by a team at Imperial College London concluded that if the pandemic is left unchecked, those beds will all be full by late April. By the end of June, for every available critical-care bed, there will be roughly 15 COVID-19 patients in need of one.  By the end of the summer, the pandemic will have directly killed 2.2 million Americans, notwithstanding those who will indirectly die as hospitals are unable to care for the usual slew of heart attacks, strokes, and car accidents. This is the worst-case scenario. To avert it, four things need to happen—and quickly.

The first and most important is to rapidly produce masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. If health-care workers can’t stay healthy, the rest of the response will collapse. In some places, stockpiles are already so low that doctors are reusing masks between patients, calling for donations from the public, or sewing their own homemade alternatives. These shortages are happening because medical supplies are made-to-order and depend on byzantine international supply chains that are currently straining and snapping. Hubei province in China, the epicenter of the pandemic, was also a manufacturing center of medical masks.

In the U.S., the Strategic National Stockpile—a national larder of medical equipment—is already being deployed, especially to the hardest-hit states. The stockpile is not inexhaustible, but it can buy some time. Donald Trump could use that time to invoke the Defense Production Act, launching a wartime effort in which American manufacturers switch to making medical equipment. But after invoking the act last Wednesday, Trump has failed to actually use it, reportedly due to lobbying from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and heads of major corporations.

Some manufacturers are already rising to the challenge, but their efforts are piecemeal and unevenly distributed. “One day, we’ll wake up to a story of doctors in City X who are operating with bandanas, and a closet in City Y with masks piled into it,” says Ali Khan, the dean of public health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. A “massive logistics and supply-chain operation [is] now needed across the country,” says Thomas Inglesby of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. That can’t be managed by small and inexperienced teams scattered throughout the White House. The solution, he says, is to tag in the Defense Logistics Agency—a 26,000-person group that prepares the U.S. military for overseas operations and that has assisted in past public-health crises, including the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

This agency can also coordinate the second pressing need: a massive rollout of COVID-19 tests. Those tests have been slow to arrive because of five separate shortages: of masks to protect people administering the tests; of nasopharyngeal swabs for collecting viral samples; of extraction kits for pulling the virus’s genetic material out of the samples; of chemical reagents that are part of those kits; and of trained people who can give the tests. Many of these shortages are, again, due to strained supply chains. The U.S. relies on three manufacturers for extraction reagents, providing redundancy in case any of them fails—but all of them failed in the face of unprecedented global demand. Meanwhile, Lombardy, Italy, the hardest-hit place in Europe, houses one of the largest manufacturers of nasopharyngeal swabs.

Some shortages are being addressed. The FDA is now moving quickly to approve tests developed by private labs. At least one can deliver results in less than an hour, potentially allowing doctors to know if the patient in front of them has COVID-19. The country “is adding capacity on a daily basis,” says Kelly Wroblewski of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

On March 6, Trump said that “anyone who wants a test can get a test.” That was (and still is) untrue, and his own officials were quick to correct him. Regardless, anxious people still flooded into hospitals, seeking tests that did not exist. “People wanted to be tested even if they weren’t symptomatic, or if they sat next to someone with a cough,” says Saskia Popescu of George Mason University, who works to prepare hospitals for pandemics. Others just had colds, but doctors still had to use masks to examine them, burning through their already dwindling supplies. “It really stressed the health-care system,” Popescu says. Even now, as capacity expands, tests must be used carefully. The first priority, says Marc Lipsitch of Harvard, is to test health-care workers and hospitalized patients, allowing hospitals to quell any ongoing fires. Only later, once the immediate crisis is slowing, should tests be deployed in a more widespread way. “This isn’t just going to be: Let’s get the tests out there!” Inglesby says.

These measures will take time, during which the pandemic will either accelerate beyond the capacity of the health system or slow to containable levels. Its course—and the nation’s fate—now depends on the third need, which is social distancing. Think of it this way: There are now only two groups of Americans. Group A includes everyone involved in the medical response, whether that’s treating patients, running tests, or manufacturing supplies. Group B includes everyone else, and their job is to buy Group A more time. Group B must now “flatten the curve” by physically isolating themselves from other people to cut off chains of transmission. Given the slow fuse of COVID-19, to forestall the future collapse of the health-care system, these seemingly drastic steps must be taken immediately, before they feel proportionate, and they must continue for several weeks.

Juliette Kayyem: The crisis could last 18 months. Be prepared.

Persuading a country to voluntarily stay at home is not easy, and without clear guidelines from the White House, mayors, governors, and business owners have been forced to take their own steps. Some states have banned large gatherings or closed schools and restaurants. At least 21 have now instituted some form of mandatory quarantine, compelling people to stay at home. And yet many citizens continue to crowd into public spaces.

In these moments, when the good of all hinges on the sacrifices of many, clear coordination matters—the fourth urgent need. The importance of social distancing must be impressed upon a public who must also be reassured and informed. Instead, Trump has repeatedly played down the problem, telling America that “we have it very well under control” when we do not, and that cases were “going to be down to close to zero” when they were rising. In some cases, as with his claims about ubiquitous testing, his misleading gaffes have deepened the crisis. He has even touted unproven medications.

Away from the White House press room, Trump has apparently been listening to Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci has advised every president since Ronald Reagan on new epidemics, and now sits on the COVID-19 task force that meets with Trump roughly every other day. “He’s got his own style, let’s leave it at that,” Fauci told me, “but any kind of recommendation that I have made thus far, the substance of it, he has listened to everything.”

Read: Grocery stores are the coronavirus tipping point

But Trump already seems to be wavering. In recent days, he has signaled that he is prepared to backtrack on social-distancing policies in a bid to protect the economy. Pundits and business leaders have used similar rhetoric, arguing that high-risk people, such as the elderly, could be protected while lower-risk people are allowed to go back to work. Such thinking is seductive, but flawed. It overestimates our ability to assess a person’s risk, and to somehow wall off the ‘high-risk’ people from the rest of society. It underestimates how badly the virus can hit ‘low-risk’ groups, and how thoroughly hospitals will be overwhelmed if even just younger demographics are falling sick.

A recent analysis from the University of Pennsylvania estimated that even if social-distancing measures can reduce infection rates by 95 percent, 960,000 Americans will still need intensive care. There are only about 180,000 ventilators in the U.S. and, more pertinently, only enough respiratory therapists and critical-care staff to safely look after 100,000 ventilated patients. Abandoning social distancing would be foolish. Abandoning it now, when tests and protective equipment are still scarce, would be catastrophic.

Read: America’s hospitals have never experienced anything like this

If Trump stays the course, if Americans adhere to social distancing, if testing can be rolled out, and if enough masks can be produced, there is a chance that the country can still avert the worst predictions about COVID-19, and at least temporarily bring the pandemic under control. No one knows how long that will take, but it won’t be quick. “It could be anywhere from four to six weeks to up to three months,” Fauci said, “but I don’t have great confidence in that range.”

II. The Endgame

Even a perfect response won’t end the pandemic. As long as the virus persists somewhere, there’s a chance that one infected traveler will reignite fresh sparks in countries that have already extinguished their fires. This is already happening in China, Singapore, and other Asian countries that briefly seemed to have the virus under control. Under these conditions, there are three possible endgames: one that’s very unlikely, one that’s very dangerous, and one that’s very long.

The first is that every nation manages to simultaneously bring the virus to heel, as with the original SARS in 2003. Given how widespread the coronavirus pandemic is, and how badly many countries are faring, the odds of worldwide synchronous control seem vanishingly small.

The second is that the virus does what past flu pandemics have done: It burns through the world and leaves behind enough immune survivors that it eventually struggles to find viable hosts. This “herd immunity” scenario would be quick, and thus tempting. But it would also come at a terrible cost: SARS-CoV-2 is more transmissible and fatal than the flu, and it would likely leave behind many millions of corpses and a trail of devastated health systems. The United Kingdom initially seemed to consider this herd-immunity strategy, before backtracking when models revealed the dire consequences. The U.S. now seems to be considering it too.

Read: What will you do if you start coughing?

The third scenario is that the world plays a protracted game of whack-a-mole with the virus, stamping out outbreaks here and there until a vaccine can be produced. This is the best option, but also the longest and most complicated.

It depends, for a start, on making a vaccine. If this were a flu pandemic, that would be easier. The world is experienced at making flu vaccines and does so every year. But there are no existing vaccines for coronaviruses—until now, these viruses seemed to cause diseases that were mild or rare—so researchers must start from scratch. The first steps have been impressively quick. Last Monday, a possible vaccine created by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health went into early clinical testing. That marks a 63-day gap between scientists sequencing the virus’s genes for the first time and doctors injecting a vaccine candidate into a person’s arm. “It’s overwhelmingly the world record,” Fauci said.

But it’s also the fastest step among many subsequent slow ones. The initial trial will simply tell researchers if the vaccine seems safe, and if it can actually mobilize the immune system. Researchers will then need to check that it actually prevents infection from SARS-CoV-2. They’ll need to do animal tests and large-scale trials to ensure that the vaccine doesn’t cause severe side effects. They’ll need to work out what dose is required, how many shots people need, if the vaccine works in elderly people, and if it requires other chemicals to boost its effectiveness.

“Even if it works, they don’t have an easy way to manufacture it at a massive scale,” said Seth Berkley of Gavi. That’s because Moderna is using a new approach to vaccination. Existing vaccines work by providing the body with inactivated or fragmented viruses, allowing the immune system to prep its defenses ahead of time. By contrast, Moderna’s vaccine comprises a sliver of SARS-CoV-2’s genetic material—its RNA. The idea is that the body can use this sliver to build its own viral fragments, which would then form the basis of the immune system’s preparations. This approach works in animals, but is unproven in humans. By contrast, French scientists are trying to modify the existing measles vaccine using fragments of the new coronavirus. “The advantage of that is that if we needed hundreds of doses tomorrow, a lot of plants in the world know how to do it,” Berkley said. No matter which strategy is faster, Berkley and others estimate that it will take 12 to 18 months to develop a proven vaccine, and then longer still to make it, ship it, and inject it into people’s arms.

It’s likely, then, that the new coronavirus will be a lingering part of American life for at least a year, if not much longer. If the current round of social-distancing measures works, the pandemic may ebb enough for things to return to a semblance of normalcy. Offices could fill and bars could bustle. Schools could reopen and friends could reunite. But as the status quo returns, so too will the virus. This doesn’t mean that society must be on continuous lockdown until 2022. But “we need to be prepared to do multiple periods of social distancing,” says Stephen Kissler of Harvard.

Much about the coming years, including the frequency, duration, and timing of social upheavals, depends on two properties of the virus, both of which are currently unknown. First: seasonality. Coronaviruses tend to be winter infections that wane or disappear in the summer. That may also be true for SARS-CoV-2, but seasonal variations might not sufficiently slow the virus when it has so many immunologically naive hosts to infect. “Much of the world is waiting anxiously to see what—if anything—the summer does to transmission in the Northern Hemisphere,” says Maia Majumder of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Second: duration of immunity. When people are infected by the milder human coronaviruses that cause cold-like symptoms, they remain immune for less than a year. By contrast, the few who were infected by the original SARS virus, which was far more severe, stayed immune for much longer. Assuming that SARS-CoV-2 lies somewhere in the middle, people who recover from their encounters might be protected for a couple of years. To confirm that, scientists will need to develop accurate serological tests, which look for the antibodies that confer immunity. They’ll also need to confirm that such antibodies actually stop people from catching or spreading the virus. If so, immune citizens can return to work, care for the vulnerable, and anchor the economy during bouts of social distancing.

Scientists can use the periods between those bouts to develop antiviral drugs—although such drugs are rarely panaceas, and come with possible side effects and the risk of resistance. Hospitals can stockpile the necessary supplies. Testing kits can be widely distributed to catch the virus’s return as quickly as possible. There’s no reason that the U.S. should let SARS-CoV-2 catch it unawares again, and thus no reason that social-distancing measures need to be deployed as broadly and heavy-handedly as they now must be. As Aaron E. Carroll and Ashish Jha recently wrote, “We can keep schools and businesses open as much as possible, closing them quickly when suppression fails, then opening them back up again once the infected are identified and isolated. Instead of playing defense, we could play more offense.”

Whether through accumulating herd immunity or the long-awaited arrival of a vaccine, the virus will find spreading explosively more and more difficult. It’s unlikely to disappear entirely. The vaccine may need to be updated as the virus changes, and people may need to get revaccinated on a regular basis, as they currently do for the flu. Models suggest that the virus might simmer around the world, triggering epidemics every few years or so. “But my hope and expectation is that the severity would decline, and there would be less societal upheaval,” Kissler says. In this future, COVID-19 may become like the flu is today—a recurring scourge of winter. Perhaps it will eventually become so mundane that even though a vaccine exists, large swaths of Gen C won’t bother getting it, forgetting how dramatically their world was molded by its absence.

III. The Aftermath

The cost of reaching that point, with as few deaths as possible, will be enormous. As my colleague Annie Lowrey wrote, the economy is experiencing a shock “more sudden and severe than anyone alive has ever experienced.” About one in five people in the United States have lost working hours or jobs. Hotels are empty. Airlines are grounding flights. Restaurants and other small businesses are closing. Inequalities will widen: People with low incomes will be hardest-hit by social-distancing measures, and most likely to have the chronic health conditions that increase their risk of severe infections. Diseases have destabilized cities and societies many times over, “but it hasn’t happened in this country in a very long time, or to quite the extent that we’re seeing now,” says Elena Conis, a historian of medicine at UC Berkeley. “We’re far more urban and metropolitan. We have more people traveling great distances and living far from family and work.”

After infections begin ebbing, a secondary pandemic of mental-health problems will follow. At a moment of profound dread and uncertainty, people are being cut off from soothing human contact. Hugs, handshakes, and other social rituals are now tinged with danger. People with anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder are struggling. Elderly people, who are already excluded from much of public life, are being asked to distance themselves even further, deepening their loneliness. Asian people are suffering racist insults, fueled by a president who insists on labeling the new coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” Incidents of domestic violence and child abuse are likely to spike as people are forced to stay in unsafe homes. Children, whose bodies are mostly spared by the virus, may endure mental trauma that stays with them into adulthood.

After the pandemic, people who recover from COVID-19 might be shunned and stigmatized, as were survivors of Ebola, SARS, and HIV. Health-care workers will take time to heal: One to two years after SARS hit Toronto, people who dealt with the outbreak were still less productive and more likely to be experiencing burnout and post-traumatic stress. People who went through long bouts of quarantine will carry the scars of their experience. “My colleagues in Wuhan note that some people there now refuse to leave their homes and have developed agoraphobia,” says Steven Taylor of the University of British Columbia, who wrote The Psychology of Pandemics.

But “there is also the potential for a much better world after we get through this trauma,” says Richard Danzig of the Center for a New American Security. Already, communities are finding new ways of coming together, even as they must stay apart. Attitudes to health may also change for the better. The rise of HIV and AIDS “completely changed sexual behavior among young people who were coming into sexual maturity at the height of the epidemic,” Conis says. “The use of condoms became normalized. Testing for STDs became mainstream.” Similarly, washing your hands for 20 seconds, a habit that has historically been hard to enshrine even in hospitals, “may be one of those behaviors that we become so accustomed to in the course of this outbreak that we don’t think about them,” Conis adds.

Pandemics can also catalyze social change. People, businesses, and institutions have been remarkably quick to adopt or call for practices that they might once have dragged their heels on, including working from home, conference-calling to accommodate people with disabilities, proper sick leave, and flexible child-care arrangements. “This is the first time in my lifetime that I’ve heard someone say, ‘Oh, if you’re sick, stay home,’” says Adia Benton, an anthropologist at Northwestern University. Perhaps the nation will learn that preparedness isn’t just about masks, vaccines, and tests, but also about fair labor policies and a stable and equal health-care system. Perhaps it will appreciate that health-care workers and public-health specialists compose America’s social immune system, and that this system has been suppressed.

Aspects of America’s identity may need rethinking after COVID-19. Many of the country’s values have seemed to work against it during the pandemic. Its individualism, exceptionalism, and tendency to equate doing whatever you want with an act of resistance meant that when it came time to save lives and stay indoors, some people flocked to bars and clubs. Having internalized years of anti-terrorism messaging following 9/11, Americans resolved to not live in fear. But SARS-CoV-2 has no interest in their terror, only their cells.

Years of isolationist rhetoric had consequences too. Citizens who saw China as a distant, different place, where bats are edible and authoritarianism is acceptable, failed to consider that they would be next or that they wouldn’t be ready. (China’s response to this crisis had its own problems, but that’s for another time.) “People believed the rhetoric that containment would work,” says Wendy Parmet, who studies law and public health at Northeastern University. “We keep them out, and we’ll be okay. When you have a body politic that buys into these ideas of isolationism and ethnonationalism, you’re especially vulnerable when a pandemic hits.”

Graeme Wood: The ‘Chinese virus’ is a test. Don’t fail it.

Veterans of past epidemics have long warned that American society is trapped in a cycle of panic and neglect. After every crisis—anthrax, SARS, flu, Ebola—attention is paid and investments are made. But after short periods of peacetime, memories fade and budgets dwindle. This trend transcends red and blue administrations. When a new normal sets in, the abnormal once again becomes unimaginable. But there is reason to think that COVID-19 might be a disaster that leads to more radical and lasting change.

The other major epidemics of recent decades either barely affected the U.S. (SARS, MERS, Ebola), were milder than expected (H1N1 flu in 2009), or were mostly limited to specific groups of people (Zika, HIV). The COVID-19 pandemic, by contrast, is affecting everyone directly, changing the nature of their everyday life. That distinguishes it not only from other diseases, but also from the other systemic challenges of our time. When an administration prevaricates on climate change, the effects won’t be felt for years, and even then will be hard to parse. It’s different when a president says that everyone can get a test, and one day later, everyone cannot. Pandemics are democratizing experiences. People whose privilege and power would normally shield them from a crisis are facing quarantines, testing positive, and losing loved ones. Senators are falling sick. The consequences of defunding public-health agencies, losing expertise, and stretching hospitals are no longer manifesting as angry opinion pieces, but as faltering lungs.

After 9/11, the world focused on counterterrorism. After COVID-19, attention may shift to public health. Expect to see a spike in funding for virology and vaccinology, a surge in students applying to public-health programs, and more domestic production of medical supplies. Expect pandemics to top the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly. Anthony Fauci is now a household name. “Regular people who think easily about what a policewoman or firefighter does finally get what an epidemiologist does,” says Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Such changes, in themselves, might protect the world from the next inevitable disease. “The countries that had lived through SARS had a public consciousness about this that allowed them to leap into action,” said Ron Klain, the former Ebola czar. “The most commonly uttered sentence in America at the moment is, ‘I’ve never seen something like this before.’ That wasn’t a sentence anyone in Hong Kong uttered.” For the U.S., and for the world, it’s abundantly, viscerally clear what a pandemic can do.

The lessons that America draws from this experience are hard to predict, especially at a time when online algorithms and partisan broadcasters only serve news that aligns with their audience’s preconceptions. Such dynamics will be pivotal in the coming months, says Ilan Goldenberg, a foreign-policy expert at the Center for a New American Security. “The transitions after World War II or 9/11 were not about a bunch of new ideas,” he says. “The ideas are out there, but the debates will be more acute over the next few months because of the fluidity of the moment and willingness of the American public to accept big, massive changes.”

One could easily conceive of a world in which most of the nation believes that America defeated COVID-19. Despite his many lapses, Trump’s approval rating has surged. Imagine that he succeeds in diverting blame for the crisis to China, casting it as the villain and America as the resilient hero. During the second term of his presidency, the U.S. turns further inward and pulls out of NATO and other international alliances, builds actual and figurative walls, and disinvests in other nations. As Gen C grows up, foreign plagues replace communists and terrorists as the new generational threat.

One could also envisage a future in which America learns a different lesson. A communal spirit, ironically born through social distancing, causes people to turn outward, to neighbors both foreign and domestic. The election of November 2020 becomes a repudiation of “America first” politics. The nation pivots, as it did after World War II, from isolationism to international cooperation. Buoyed by steady investments and an influx of the brightest minds, the health-care workforce surges. Gen C kids write school essays about growing up to be epidemiologists. Public health becomes the centerpiece of foreign policy. The U.S. leads a new global partnership focused on solving challenges like pandemics and climate change.

2 The President Is Trapped

5 This Is Just the Beginning

9 Denmark’s Idea Could Help the World Avoid a Great Depression

Copyright © 2020 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.
Last edited by Meno_ on Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:06 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby promethean75 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:25 pm

Polling consistently shows a rallying effect around the president when major crises face the country.

Yup. The naive sentimentalism and patriotism of the citizens during a crisis like this will.... eh, trump (not intended) their ability to be critically skeptical of the government's role in augmenting the disaster. Rather then being able to recognize that trump is not only largely incompetent, but also fundamentally stands for and endorses the very capitalist system that makes managing the crisis that much more difficult and inefficient, they blindly huddle together to show their support for the cocksucker-in-chief.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - good & bad Trump

Postby Meno_ » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:15 pm

1 good Trump

Opinion +

A lot of Americans like Trump's handling of crisis

Opinion by Scott Jennings

Updated 7:58 AM EDT, Thu March 26, 2020


Editor's Note: (Scott Jennings, a CNN contributor, is a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and a former campaign adviser to Sen. Mitch McConnell. He is a partner at RunSwitch Public Relations in Louisville, Kentucky. Follow him on Twitter @ScottJenningsKY. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion articles on CNN.)

(CNN)As the coronavirus crisis unfolds and media and Democratic bashing of President Donald Trump continues, a curious thing is happening -- his numbers are going up.

The Gallup poll this week recorded its highest ever job approval for the President (49% approve, versus 45% who don't). Likewise, Trump is generally getting decent marks on his handling of the pandemic, with Gallup showing 60% approval on the subject.

The question is -- why? Trump has lived in a very tight job-approval zone for most of his presidency, hovering around 42-43% among registered and likely voters. But today, FiveThirtyEight's Trump job approval tracker shows him with an average approval of 44.9% and the RealClearPolitics tracker has him at 46.3%.

He's been lifted, apparently, by his handling of the coronavirus, and perhaps by his opposition's mishandling of it. I think a few things are at work, and a smattering of each could easily explain his lift:

1. In its reporting on the pandemic, as with most issues, the press along with Democrat politicians have gone overboard criticizing the President. And because neither of those institutions is all that trusted by the American people -- 45% of respondents in a CBS poll this week said they think the media is overreacting -- they may see that overreaction as a signal that Trump has got this. Some 51% in the CBS poll said they think Trump is "about right" in his reaction to the crisis.

2. The Democratic rush to call the President racist over his terming the Covid-19 disease "the Chinese virus" backfired. In their quest to make just about every issue about race, Democrats fell all over themselves calling Trump -- and anyone else who called the virus "Chinese" or "Wuhan"-- racist, despite evidence that the virus did indeed, originate in China. After Trump imposed travel restrictions on people arriving to the US from China to stop the virus's spread, former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump's presumptive opponent, tweeted: "A wall will not stop the coronavirus. Banning all travel from Europe -- or any other part of the world -- will not stop it. This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet -- and we need a plan to combat it." At a town hall meeting, he said "this is no time for Donald Trump's record of hysteria and xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia ... and fearmongering."

If you've got coronavirus, shout it from the rooftops

And all this despite the fact that it is pretty well documented that the Chinese government misled, witheld information about the virus and tried to cover it up, essentially unleashing the pandemic on an unprepared world. In their rush to condemn every Trump decision as racist, Democrats wound up looking like out-of-touch partisans.

3. People are giving the President some latitude here. Americans were caught off guard by this virus and don't blame Trump for its arrival at our borders. And because it is such an unusual event, they are giving the federal government some room as it figures out how to handle it. If you hate Trump already, you will conclude that no matter what he does it must be wrong and was done with impure motives. But for the large percentage of Americans who don't hate him for living, his administration is being allowed some grace time as it feels its way through an unprecedented situation.

4. Trump is processing this the way a lot of people are. Trump does this out loud, and this may match up better with the average American's thinking more than Democrats want to believe. An average voter might hear Trump's press conference and think: "He's probably reacting the way I would." This includes confronting the twin concerns of saving lives but also the American economy. It's a tricky balance and many if not most people are having these conversations in their own houses and minds.

5. Democrats trying to cram liberal nonsense into the relief bill was a major blunder and it did not go unnoticed by the American people. Amid what everyone agrees is a crisis and an emergency, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held up a $2 trillion relief bill in an attempt to lard it with non-germane items that should have shamed and embarrassed every member of her party. Demanding diversity on corporate boards, carbon emission offset demands of the airline industry, and millions for the Kennedy Center, to name a few. I suspect the American people, watching and reading more news than usual, caught on to this ridiculous power grab pretty quickly and reacted negatively.

We'll see if the President can hold this uptick in his numbers, as the pain in our economy is just now manifesting itself in millions of American households. How he handles the twin issues of public health and reviving a reeling economy will make or break his reelection. There's nothing else for him to do except get this right, and if you believe the recent polling, an increasing share of the American people may believe he is on his way to doing just that.

© 2020 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

2 bad Trump




Trump Is an Authoritarian Weakman

Coronavirus would be the perfect opportunity for an autocrat. Trump isn’t taking it.

President Donald Trump walks in for a daily coronavirus press briefing. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images


03/26/2020 04:30 AM EDT

Updated: 03/26/2020 11:02 AM EDT

Let’s take inventory of what new insights we have learned from the pandemic about President Donald Trump and his leadership character.

One could hardly miss how this crisis has fortified one of the two primary pillars of the anti-Trump argument, as advanced by his most ardent detractors. It has been insufficiently noted, however, the degree to which the coronavirus response has weakened the other pillar.

The first pillar is that Trump, in the near-unanimous view of the opposition, is a terrible person whose terribleness finds expression in terrible policies. He is narcissistic, dismissive of unwelcome facts, willing to traffic in falsehoods, lacking in empathy, erratic in personal manner, and, above all, impulsive in judgment. Are you following so far? Even a Trump defender could comprehend how Trump critics would seize on the performance of the past two months—“We have it totally under control,” he said on Jan. 22—to add damaging new counts to the indictment they began compiling four years ago.

It is the second pillar of the anti-Trump case that has wobbled curiously in recent weeks. This president allegedly is not just a near-term menace but a long-term one—a leader bent on amassing personal power and undermining constitutional democracy in ways that would last beyond his presidency (which, under the worst scenarios, he might even try, Vladimir Putin-style, to extend illegally if he loses in November.)

The notion of Trump as authoritarian strongman, however, has been cast in an odd light in this pandemic. Would-be tyrants use crisis to consolidate power. Trump, by contrast, has been pilloried from many quarters, including many liberals, for not asserting authority and responsibility more forcefully to combat Covid-19. Rather than seizing on a genuine emergency, Trump was slow to issue an emergency declaration, moved gingerly in employing the War Production Act to help overburdened local health systems, and even now seems eager to emphasize that many subjects—closure of schools and businesses, obtaining sufficient ventilators—are primarily problems for state governors to deal with.

Trump’s apparent personal affinity with Putin, and other dictators, has caused foes to conclude that he has an aesthetic attraction to leaders who don’t let procedural niceties of democracy or law get in their way. But he has shown passivity in what by all rights would be a dream scenario for an authoritarian strongman.

Perhaps the way to think of Trump is as an authoritarian weakman.

“I don’t take any responsibility at all,” Trump said, a line that seems likely to join a pantheon that includes George W. Bush’s “Brownie, you‘re doing a heck of a job,” and Bill Clinton’s “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is,” as debacle-defining one-liners.

That was in response to a question about inadequate supplies of coronavirus testing kits, which many health experts regard as the essence of why the United States has been flat-footed in containing the spread of disease. But the spirit has animated other dimensions of Trump’s response, in which he has been reluctant to make Washington the focal point of pandemic policy. “The governors,” Trump said at a media briefing on Sunday, “locally, are going to be in command. We will be following them, and we hope they can do the job.”

Quotes like these don’t mean the critique of Trump as aspiring dictator is in terminal condition. But it is on bed rest with a high fever. He “has abdicated the role played by U.S. presidents in every previous global crisis of the past century, which is to step forward to offer remedies, support other nations and coordinate multilateral responses,” editorialized the Washington Post. New York Times columnist David Leonhardt criticized Trump for declining to “mobilize American business” by invoking an emergency, and said the voluntary initiatives he backs instead “are far less aggressive than a mandatory national effort would be.”

Of course, even if Trump isn’t grasping for new power, others in his administration may be. POLITICO’s Betsy Woodruff Swan first reported on the Justice Department’s plan to seek new authority during emergencies, including asking judges to detain people without trial. “Over my dead body,” responded conservative Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah.) “Hell no,” added liberal Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Experience suggests one should not get too fixated on any single image of Trump—a kaleidoscopic figure at most times, and especially in the midst of highly fluid circumstances like a global pandemic. Many appraisals of Trump, from admirers and foes alike, depend in part on how one holds any particular moment up to the light.

The diverse interpretations of Trump critics tend to fall along a spectrum. They tend also to return to a couple of deeply rutted debates.


The Senate unanimously approved a $2 trillion emergency package intended to stave off economic collapse. The House will vote next.

Confirmed U.S. Cases: 69,197 | U.S. Deaths: 1,046



Unemployment claims rose more than 1000 percent last week.

Trump's team failed to follow a National Security Council pandemic playbook that laid out how to handle a large-scale bio-threat.

One debate concerns how seriously anti-Trumpers should take him. At one end of the spectrum are people who find Trump an absurd figure but essentially the political equivalent of a professional wrestler—lots of bluster and puffery that is ultimately devoid of content beyond self-protection and self-promotion. By these lights Trump is dangerous in a moment like the corona pandemic because he is in over his head, not because he has lots of menacing plans in his head. At the other end of this spectrum is the belief that he may not be guided by deep ideas in the traditional sense of politics but he is guided by some clear and purposeful instincts—toward elevating executive power (as long as he is the executive), punishing enemies, and weakening traditional constraints of custom and law. This is the thesis of a pre-pandemic cover story in the Atlantic by influential writer George Packer.

The other debate, related, concerns how seriously Trump takes himself. Does he have any ability to detach himself from his own performance, to self-critique and modulate, to occasionally give a knowing wink to the audience to signal that he understands his act as well as they do. Or is he so fully immersed in the performance that he is lost in it—no longer makes a distinction between reality show and reality?

(Incidentally, these debates among Trump foes are matched by ones from Trump supporters. Is he a crude but surprisingly effective politician with whom one can make common cause—the Mitch McConnell position? Or is he possessed of some kind of mystical leadership skills—possibly what former Energy Secretary Rick Perry meant when he said Trump was God’s “chosen one.”)

The debate over how much Trump has weakened constitutional democracy in prepandemic episodes—his effort to nullify the independence of the FBI, for instance, or his consistent defiance of congressional oversight—is an argument without end, one that surely will continue years after Trump leaves office.

But the stylistic question—how much ability Trump has to tailor his brand of politics to fit new circumstances and meet new demands—may well have been settled decisively in this crisis. The answer is no.

If he had the ability to modulate to the moment he would have done so. And at times he has tried to do so. “Acting with compassion and love, we will heal the sick, care for those in need, help our fellow citizens and emerge from this challenge stronger and more unified than ever before,” said at the end of his Oval Office address earlier this month, in a line that read like it was inserted at the insistence of someone else, like Ivanka Trump or Jared Kushner.

But his pugilistic instincts returned almost instantly, as did his instinct that the most important part of being a winning leader is bluff self-confidence. Rather than seize command in the crisis, Trump is determined to project that bad news is the fault of someone else. "The LameStream Media,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday, “is the dominant force in trying to get me to keep our Country closed as long as possible in the hope that it will be detrimental to my election success.”

There was an old Trump argument summoned to service in a new era. Maybe the most surprising thing we have learned about Trump during the pandemic is that he no longer has much capacity to surprise.






{ Doesn't this show that the Trumpism neo-Kantianism is failing prima facie?
And it is the primary baby insecurity fueled by such misunderstanding leading to a wider divide? Is not such infantile presentation eventually realized by the child who shows that indeed, the emperor is not wearing clothes?

Exposing the opaque non transparency of the 'mirror stage?}

Biden has just said , " He goes on to note that he would use all his authority “to turn the tide on the epidemic.” That seems very obviously what any leader would want to do but then, without naming Trump, he says he takes issue with the idea that you have to choose between the public health and re-opening the economy".
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Re: Trump enters the stage - annulment requirement

Postby Meno_ » Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:24 am



Democrats delayed stimulus bill to tighten ban on Trump family profiting

Democrats have tried to prevent Trump from receiving taxpayer money at his businesses for three years. This week, they finally scored a small victory.

From left to right, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Lara Trump. Lawmakers didn't want it to seem like Kushner's family was getting a carve-out. | Mark Wilson/Getty Image

The Senate was about to approve the largest recovery bill in U.S. history on Wednesday night when Minority Leader Chuck Schumer hit pause, realizing something was missing — revised language designed to bar President Donald Trump from getting money for his own businesses.

Democrats and Republicans had already agreed to a rewritten clause, but the update had somehow not made it into the final printed legislation, according to two people familiar with the situation.

For two hours, Schumer and fellow Democrats held up the bill — written to boost a faltering economy amid the coronavirus outbreak — while the stricter language was inserted. The Senate passed the $2 trillion package just before midnight.

The change was meant to close a loophole in the original clause that barred loans to businesses that were at least 20 percent owned by presidents or their children, spouses and in-laws. The updated language extended the ban to businesses in which several family members collectively have a 20 percent stake, even if each person's individual stake is below the 20 percent threshold.

For Democrats, it was a small victory after three years of fruitless efforts to block Trump from linking his private business interests with America’s highest public office.

“Now is a time to come together as a nation to provide a desperately needed lifeline to American families," said House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y). "It is not time to bail out the private businesses of President Trump and his family or any other top policymakers."

The Senate unanimously approved a $2 trillion emergency package intended to stave off economic collapse. The House will vote next.


Pelosi warned House lawmakers not to be "selfish" and to swiftly pass the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package.

The Trump family business interests have not been immune from the economic devastation that has blanketed the country. Hotels and tourism have been among the hardest-hit industries, and the president's properties have suffered. Across the country, his hotels and resorts have either partially or completely shut their doors, likely costing his family millions of dollars even as they lay off thousands of employees.

Mar-a-Lago, Trump's South Florida home away from the White House, has closed. The restaurant at Trump’s Washington hotel, a popular gathering spot for candidates, lobbyists and congressional aides, isn't serving food or drinks. And the spa at the Trump International Hotel & Tower New York is not accepting customers.

“Various facilities are temporarily closed given local, state and federal mandates,” a Trump Organization spokesman said. “We anxiously await the day when this pandemic is over and our world-class facilities can reopen.”

Trump, who has met with various industries looking for bailouts, including hospitality executives, has said he would like to re-open businesses by mid-April, despite public health officials warning that much more time is needed.

Some of Trump's properties were initially slow to respond to government calls to limit business activities that involved large gatherings of people. Some kept advertising banquets and spa services, for instance. Other properties remain open in a limited capacity and are still promoting some activities, such as rounds of golf.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington remains open even though only about 5 percent of its rooms are occupied, according to John Boardman, executive secretary-treasurer of the D.C. affiliate of Unite Here, which represents 172 employees at the hotel. About 160 employees, including bartenders, housekeepers, doormen, were laid off, he said.

Earlier this week, Trump didn't rule out accepting the taxpayer money from the expected stimulus package.

“Let’s just see what happens because we have to save some of these great companies that can be great companies literally in a matter of weeks," he said. "We have to save them."

The White House and Trump Organization did not respond to questions on Thursday.

Schumer pushed the original provision about the president's businesses during negotiations with Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Both sides later agreed to change the language to address the collective ownership issue.

Yet the tweak was somehow missing from the final bill. A Republican source familiar with the situation said it was an oversight and that both sides were fine with the updated language.

“To suggest it is anything other than a clerical error is wrong,” the person said.

The clause doesn’t just address the president. It also pertains to the vice president, the heads of executive departments and members of Congress.

The new language was designed to prevent Trump, his adult children, Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric, or even his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is also personally wealthy, from selling their stake in a company to a family member to escape the bill's restrictions.

The bill also was missing a second provision that Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had pushed, indicating that the Treasury Department had to publish the companies receiving the loans every seven days.

“We told Republicans it was unacceptable to omit strict prohibitions on Trump businesses having access to the Treasury lending, as well as critical transparency measures, and that we would hold up the bill until they included them in the final text,” Schumer told POLITICO. “They relented and these important accountability provisions were successfully added to the final bill.”

Some House Democrats and numerous watchdog groups have been arguing for three years that Trump is violating the Constitution's little-used emoluments clauses, which forbids presidents from receiving gifts from foreign governments or money from U.S. taxpayers beyond their salaries.

Before he was sworn into office, Trump ignored calls to fully separate from his namesake company, which is comprised of more than 500 businesses. Instead, he placed his holdings in a trust designed to hold assets for his benefit. He can withdraw money from it at any time without the public’s knowledge.

Shortly after Democrats took control of the House, they launched investigations into whether the arrangement violated the emoluments clause. But lawmakers eventually cut the allegations out of their articles of impeachment, choosing to narrowly focus on Trump pushing Ukraine to open an inquiry into Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

“The fact that President Trump accepts payments from foreign governments and corporate lobbyists who are willing to spend money at his hotels is a massive scandal hiding in plain sight," said Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), chairwoman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee with jurisdiction over Trump's Washington hotel. "Taxpayers should not be forced to partake in it. This provision is one way to stop that.”

The Trump Organization has responded to the scrutiny by donating $350,000 to the U.S. Treasury that it said came from foreign governments. But watchdog groups say there is little accountability and that the amount should be higher.

Trump denies he is using the presidency to promote his resorts and claims he receives unfair scrutiny because of the "phony emoluments clause.” It's a defense that his critics dismiss, noting how often Trump discusses and stays at his own properties.

“Every decision made by this president has been tainted by his rampant conflicts of interest. His unwillingness to divest from his properties and his abuse of taxpayer dollars at Trump properties necessitated this action," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a House Oversight Committee member.

The Senate provision won’t completely prevent Trump businesses from getting money. They could still be eligible for small-business loans or benefit through a $15 billion change to the tax code. And the provision also doesn’t cover the many businesses branded or managed by Trump, but not owned by the family.

“This provision helps ensure President Trump and his family can’t benefit from coronavirus pandemic, but there are some loopholes,” said Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, an advocacy group that works closely with House committee staffers. “They could benefit in indirect ways.”

The Senate unanimously approved the $2 trillion emergency package after more than five days of negotiations. The House is expected to pass it soon. The legislation will authorize direct checks to many Americans, a massive fund for beleaguered industries, immediate aid for hospitals and back-up cash for state and local government.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Back to old routine

Postby Meno_ » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:30 pm

{ Type cast Trump , can not act out of character , it appears, just like all other bas actors including Megan Markel, who thrives on bad publicity; after all it's a free be in her case.

Disney offered her a voice over part in a cartoon. Not good enough, all the free publicity in her mind earned her am expected stardom?

Trump wired her today that the U.S. is not paying her security , and her wanting to merchandise under the HRH trademark, does not measure up to even the Trump trademark. The bad queen took that away from her, as well.
There are good actors and ones that fail, and Stardom is not possibly a self promoter claim.
There was an ingenie named Amgelyne, who tried it, by driving around in a classic pink roadsters, and nothing really much came of it, in spite of large and pointed wit and equally so equipment.

Acting can be appreciated as that which devolves into periodic quirks, or unusual bumps in the road, 15 minutes of fame that every body deserves.

Years ago, in less irritating times, there was a starlet wannabe, who platformed herself in the busiest intersection, tossed her braless clinging sweater off , and waved bored drivers heading home from their 9-5 routine into extasy.

Did not work. Incidentally
Hedy Laamarr, the Austrian bombshell of the world war period, went broke and was arrested for shoplifting.

So trademark chasers looking for any and all publicity are no comparison to really good acting.}
------- --------- -------'-


Donald Trump, the president, has taken to Twitter to praise Donald Trump, the TV star.

“Because the ‘Ratings’ of my News Conferences etc. are so high, Media is going CRAZY. ‘Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.” said one lunatic. See you at 5:00 P.M.!’”, he wrote.

It’s a little odd that Trump is happy to cite a story from the “Lamestream Media” he is denigrating, but there you go.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020

-------------------------- ---------------------------

Internal struggle in White House



Trump’s April challenge: Leaning into the ‘deep state’ to quell a raging crisis

A president who long shunned career government workers and preferred to rely on his gut faces a managerial challenge at a scale unseen by any American leader.

Everyone in the White House owns — or wants to own — a piece of the administration’s coronavirus response.

Vice President Mike Pence is officially running the coronavirus task force. Senior adviser Jared Kushner has propped up his own operation focused on increasing the testing capacity in the U.S., forging partnerships with private industries and business executives, and tracking down desperately needed medical supplies.

Health officials are sparring with economic aides over the White House’s internal deliberations about when and how to reopen parts of the U.S. economy. President Donald Trump himself is fielding calls from governors, Republican lawmakers, business executives and former aides as he crowdsources his decision-making on the best path forward to fight the virus.

The cacophony of voices around Trump is complicating the monumental challenge for the president at the most critical moment of his first term. Inside the White House, staffers are experiencing the classic Trump “Team of Rivals” approach to governing, in which a variety of factions and personalities vie for the president’s attention and the last word on policy deliberations. Trump has long preferred this approach to his operation — but this time the competing voices offer wildly different prescriptions for fighting the pandemic when the stakes could not be higher both for the health of Americans and for Trump politically.

In the next month, Trump must make the most consequential decisions of his presidency, including determining an appropriate time to relax the social-distancing guidelines his administration previously put in place to prevent widespread community transmission — a move he’s eyeing as he looks to reopen huge swaths of the country. At a press conference on Sunday, Trump said he was extending the initial social distancing guidelines through April 30.

If Trump sends Americans back to work and allows businesses to open their doors too soon and the virus spreads even further, he could extend Americans’ self-quarantine by weeks or even months. But if the economy remains stalled — leaving millions more people to lose their jobs and countless businesses to go bankrupt — then Trump will have overseen an even deeper downturn that devastates his reelection prospects.

The question now is whether the competing factions within the White House can offer the president an analytical approach by which he can make key decisions. White House staffers already worry about a messy chain of command — and the fact that key points or data will become lost in a mess of communication as individuals or different teams pursue their various projects, according to interviews with a dozen senior administration officials, Trump advisers and Republicans close to the White House.

Amid the confusing environment, the White House’s new chief of staff, Mark Meadows, officially begins his job on Monday. The chief-of-staff wing of the White House is in flux, with new aides to Meadows starting their positions while staffers aligned with his predecessor, Mick Mulvaney, have moved out of the West Wing and into offices in the adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office building.

Meadows “is just walking into a perfect storm,” said Chris Whipple, author of “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.”

“It is almost a White House that was designed to fail from Day One,” Whipple said. “Now, you’ve got a crisis meeting a president who ran against the whole idea of government and who thinks the federal bureaucracy is a deep state out to get him. Now, he has to be able to mobilize that deep state to save us all.”

In a statement, the White House press office dismissed the staffing considerations as “palace intrigue.”

“President Trump and his entire Administration are focused on leading this whole-of-government response to slow the spread of COVID-19, expand testing capacities, and expedite vaccine development. The goal is for America to be healthy, prosperous, and again open for business, and that’s what we are all working toward,” said Judd Deere, deputy White House press secretary.

Meadows has tried recently to insert himself into the administration’s response by gathering information from his former congressional colleagues on what would be most helpful for their states, and then bringing that input back to the White House for the president and the task force to use as guidance. Trump’s incoming chief of staff spent Saturday traveling with the president and a small group of administration officials to a Naval base in Norfolk, Va., where Trump ceremoniously dispatched a hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, to New York Harbor.

Part of the lack of coordination comes from the changing leadership of the coronavirus response over the last three months. First, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar helmed the effort until Trump considered bringing in a “coronavirus czar” before ultimately deciding that Pence would lead the task force.

Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, became heavily involved in the coronavirus response roughly two weeks ago when Trump became concerned about testing in the U.S., and Kushner empowered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to take more of a leading role as top health officials, including Azar, have been sidelined. Now several White House and agency staffers work out of the FEMA offices rather than the West Wing.

White House aides have told Azar to stop making television appearances, consigning him to radio interviews like the one he did last week with a Chicago station called AM 560 The Answer. White House aides also remain deeply distrustful of the leadership of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whom they blame for the lag in standing up the U.S.’s testing capacity.

One Republican close to the White House said that Kushner does not want to overshadow anyone, including Pence, and the Pence team has welcomed his help; instead, Kushner has tried to act as a turnaround expert to bolster the White House’s response after it initially faltered.

In addition to reaching out to tech and other business executives, Kushner and his team, including deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell, have tried to coordinate the private-sector response. Every day, Kushner speaks to Trump personally several times and updates him on the different commitments he has received from company executives even if those commitments are just verbal ones. He has also worked with Amazon, Apple and Facebook on issues related to the supply chain, the donation of medical supplies and the creation of apps and public information tools to inform Americans about the virus.

On the supply issue alone, a bevy of White House aides are involved and pursuing different lines of inquiry, including Kushner, trade adviser Peter Navarro, the head of the Domestic Policy Council, Joe Grogan, and staffers from the National Security Council and the National Economic Council — with officials not always having visibility into the work others are pursuing.

Kushner and his team have also solicited questions about pandemic preparedness from doctors, lobbied the private sector to boost its involvement and worked with DHS and the State Department to close down the northern and southern borders — moves that have extended the tentacles of Kushner’s efforts to nearly every facet of the administration’s Covid-19 response.

White House aides maintain that the response to any crisis of this magnitude would feel chaotic at times, especially as staffers work long hours, seven days a week. Aides say there is not that much infighting as much as there are aides pursuing projects with good intentions but little coordination.

“The task force is in the lead, and anyone who tries to go around it ends up screwing up,” argued one senior administration official.

This lack of coordination among teams led to premature promises, like Trump’s Rose Garden pronouncement that Google was going to develop a website to offer Americans information about local drive-through testing sites.

White House aides had to engage in a similar clean-up effort following the president’s rare Oval Office address on March 11, when he delivered a number of statements the White House had to later walk back or clarify during a hastily written speech, championed by Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Hope Hicks, staff secretary Derek Lyons and senior adviser Stephen Miller.

But competing teams and factions have always been a hallmark of the Trump White House, dating back to the inauguration.

New York state is bracing for what is expected to be a brutal week dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Confirmed U.S. Cases: 139,675 | U.S. Deaths: 2,436
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump changes Easter easing soc

Postby Meno_ » Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:29 am

Trump concedes US coronavirus death toll could be 100,000 or more

Updated 10:23 PM EDT, Sun March 29, 2020


(CNN)President Donald Trump acknowledged Sunday for the first time that deaths in the United States from coronavirus could reach 100,000 or more, adding that if the death toll stays at or below 100,000, "we all together have done a very good job."

Trump's assertion came after he was asked about comments the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, made earlier Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that based on models, 100,000 Americans or more could die from the virus.

On Sunday, Trump said during an evening news conference at the White House that he'd decided to extend the nationwide social distancing guidelines -- which include suggested limits on large gatherings -- for another 30 days to April 30.

During his news conference, Trump said he received what he called the "most accurate" or "most comprehensive" study today about the potential death toll from Covid-19.

US could see millions of coronavirus cases and 100,000 or more deaths, Fauci says

He said there could be up more than 2 million cases if "we did nothing" but he did not give more details on the exact number. Fauci told CNN earlier Sunday that the US could see millions of cases of coronavirus in the US.

Trump extends federal social distancing guidelines to April 30

"When I heard the number today. First time I heard that number, because I have been asking the same question to some people. I felt even better about what we did last week with the $2.2 trillion dollars," Trump said in reference to the historic stimulus package passed by Congress last week. "Because you are talking about a potential of up to 2.2 million and some people said it could even be higher than that. You are talking about 2.2 million deaths. 2.2 million people from this," Trump said.

This story has been updated with additional details from Trump's Sunday news conference.

© 2020 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - apprentice madman or adman ?

Postby Meno_ » Tue Mar 31, 2020 5:58 pm



CNN, MSNBC Hosts Speak Out Against Airing Donald Trump’s Press Briefings Live

March 31, 2020 8:16AM PDT

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and CNN’s Don Lemon each spoke out against their networks decision to run Donald Trump’s coronavirus press briefings live, as critics contend that they have provided a platform for the president to trumpet dubious claims about his response and even to spread misinformation as a time of crisis.

“They have morphed into something akin to Trump rallies without the crowds,” Hayes said. “The briefings are where he casts his failures in the most positive light. Yesterday the man who initially dismissed the coronavirus threat — remember we have all heard it time and time again — said that if 100,000 persons died from the virus, he and his team have done a quote, very good job.”

Chris Cuomo Says He's Tested Positive For The Coronavirus

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow already has said that if it were up to her, she would stop carrying the briefings live.

Later, CNN’s Don Lemon said, “I am not sure, if you want to be honest, that we should carry that live. I think we should run snippets. I think we should do it afterward and get the pertinent points to the American people, because he’s never, ever going to tell you the truth.” He said that the briefings have become Trump’s new Apprentice, where he “wants his base to think the media’s being mean to him and they’re attacking him.”

Both networks, along with Fox News, have been carrying the press briefings almost in their entirety, while broadcast networks have occasionally done special reports. But CNN and MSNBC have cut away at certain moments of the briefings. CNN turned to its own anchors on Monday when Trump brought a succession of CEOs to the stage to offer him praise and outline what they have been doing to assist in the response to the pandemic. Among those who spoke was longtime Trump supporter Michael Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, which is making face masks.

“It’s obviously above my pay grade. I don’t make the call that we take them or not,” Hayes said. “But it seems crazy to me that everyone’s still taking them when you got the MyPillow guy getting up there, talking about reading the Bible.”

White House officials have criticized outlets that have declined to carry the briefing live. Last week, spokesman Judd Deere called it “pretty disgraceful” that CNN and MSNBC cut away from the briefing, which also feature Vice President Mike Pence and members of the president’s coronavirus task force.

© 2020 PMC. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Reelection?

Postby Meno_ » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:10 pm

Trump Finally Recognized His Mistake

The president had downplayed the coronavirus for short-term political gain. But acknowledging the threat is in his long-term interest.



The American people have done Donald Trump a giant favor. By telling pollsters they want to extend social-distancing restrictions, they’ve persuaded him—for the moment—to act in his own political self-interest. Trump has great difficulty accepting short-term pain in exchange for long-term gain—even though in the case of COVID-19, doing so is his best reelection strategy. Luckily for him, ordinary Americans are demanding that he do exactly that.   

Until this week, Trump had spent most of the year downplaying the threat from COVID-19. As The Washington Post noted in a timeline of Trump’s statements, he had minimized the coronavirus threat until mid-March. Then, after briefly announcing that the United States was at war with the virus, he minimized the danger again late last month when he demanded that the U.S. economy reopen by Easter. But this week his tone changed dramatically. Trump—who had previously said the coronavirus would soon “disappear”—on Tuesday indicated that, even under the administration’s “goals of community mitigation,” it would kill 100,000 to 240,000 Americans.

Before Trump’s about-face, some commentators rightly noticed that, politically, he was making a mistake by downplaying the virus. “The strangest part” of Trump’s initial refusal to take the virus more seriously, the New York Times columnist David Leonhardt observed, was “that it’s almost certainly damaging his chances of re-election.” Leonhardt’s point was that what Trump should care about most is not his approval rating now but his approval rating when Americans vote in November. From the moment scientists started warning about the COVID-19 threat, Trump should have called for extensive measures to contain it. Yes, those measures might have hurt the economy—and his popularity—in the short term. But they would have increased the chances that America will have tamed the virus by summer, thus allowing an economic rebound in the fall, as Americans go to the polls.

Why didn’t Trump do that? The answer may lie in an insight from behavioral economics called hyperbolic discounting. The insight is that people overvalue the present and undervalue the future. Some overvaluing is reasonable: Better to get $10 today than $10 in a week, because there’s always some uncertainty about whether a promise will come true. But people choose what researchers call the smaller-sooner reward over the larger-later reward to an irrational degree.

Some people, however, overvalue the here and now more than others do. A 2014 study in the journal NeuroImage examined the effect of the “big five” personality traits on hyperbolic discounting. Two traits stood out. The first was conscientiousness: a person’s diligence, self-discipline, and efficiency. The second was neuroticism, which is often linked to emotional instability. The researchers found that conscientious people were less prone to hyperbolic discounting—less likely to discount the future in favor of the present. Neurotic or emotionally unstable people, by contrast, were more susceptible to hyperbolic discounting. They were more likely to overvalue what happens right now. “The highly neurotic person will choose the $8 now,” the researchers wrote, “while the highly conscientious person will choose the $10 in five days.”

To understand what this has to do with Donald Trump and COVID-19, it’s worth looking at what we know about his personality. Last year, two political scientists, Jürgen Maier and Ferran Martínez Coma, asked 60 scholars to evaluate Trump’s personality using the same “big five” categories used in the 2014 NeuroImage study. (Although mental-health professionals, in what’s called the Goldwater rule, have historically avoided diagnosing subjects they can’t observe up close, a growing number have proposed revising that in response to Trump.)

The scholars rated Trump “extremely low” on conscientiousness and emotional stability—which is to say, extremely high on neuroticism. In other words, they rated him as lacking the very qualities needed to avoid hyperbolic discounting and defer gratification in the present in order to gain greater benefits in the future. Tony Schwartz, who co-wrote The Art of the Deal with Trump, has noticed the same tendency. In a 2016 New Yorker profile, Jane Mayer reported that Schwartz considered Trump to be “pathologically impulsive.”

For Trump, prioritizing the short term over the long term has at times proved politically beneficial. In 2016, when he demanded that Mexico pay for a border wall, he was prioritizing the slogan’s short-term appeal to nationalistic voters over its negative long-term consequences to the U.S.-Mexico relationship. In 2017, when he signed a massive tax bill, he was mildly stimulating the economy—thus boosting his reelection chances—while massively increasing the budget deficit, which can be left to his successors.

What makes COVID-19 different is that the politician who would pay the greatest long-term political price for prioritizing the short-term is Trump himself. By minimizing the threat posed by the virus in an attempt to prop up the economy and his own approval ratings this spring, he increased the chances that the economy will remain moribund this fall—thus hurting his chances of reelection. In this case, Trump’s hyperbolic discounting was politically obtuse.

But the American people may be coming to his political aid. In explaining why Trump this week abandoned his call for reopening the economy, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times reported, “Political advisers described for him polling that showed that voters overwhelmingly preferred to keep containment measures in place over sending people back to work prematurely.” Trump didn’t stop prioritizing the instantaneous approval he craves. He just realized that a majority of Americans want to accept painful consequences now—in the form of social distancing and an economic downturn—to limit COVID-19’s long-term effects. Because most Americans are prioritizing the future, Trump—who prioritizes the present—can acquiesce to their current wishes and benefit his reelection chances at the same time.

All this may change; Trump is famously erratic. For now, however, he has gotten lucky. He may be unusually prone to hyperbolic discounting. But the American people are not.


Copyright © 2020 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - New new deal?

Postby Meno_ » Wed Apr 01, 2020 4:56 pm

Amid fears of “the mother of all financial crises,” Washington considers an infrastructure program to create jobs.
Fears are growing that the global downturn could be far more punishing and long lasting than initially feared — potentially enduring into next year, and even beyond — as governments intensify restrictions on business to halt the spread of the pandemic, and fear of the virus impedes consumer-led economic growth.

“This is already shaping up as the deepest dive on record for the global economy for over 100 years,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economist and co-author of “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly,” a history of financial crises. “Everything depends on how long it lasts, but if this goes on for a long time, it’s certainly going to be the mother of all financial crises.”
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump breakdown?

Postby Meno_ » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:27 pm




Trump’s Breakdown

Old traits — bluster, defiance, implacable self-promotion — that once worked well now threaten to sink a presidency.

04/01/2020 04:30 AM EDT

Altitude is a column by POLITICO founding editor John Harris, offering weekly perspective on politics in a moment of radical disruption.

Before Herbert Hoover earned a reputation as a tragic failure, he had a reputation for heroic success—a can-do businessman who arrived in the presidency with no previous elective experience. He was one of the most celebrated men of his times. Then times changed.

“Ambition and anxiety both gnaw at him constantly,” the columnist Walter Lippmann wrote Felix Frankfurter, then a law professor and later a Supreme Court justice, as Hoover floundered desperately during the early days of the Great Depression. “He has no resiliency. And if things continue to break badly for him, I think the chances are against his being able to avoid a breakdown. When men of his temperament get to his age without ever having had real opposition, and then meet it in its most dramatic form, it’s quite dangerous.”

Lippmann didn’t mean breakdown in a psychological sense so much as a political one—describing a leader who found himself trapped by experience and instincts that suddenly were irrelevant to the moment.

Now Donald Trump during the pandemic is giving a new generation reason to wonder whether he—like other presidents who suddenly find currents of history shifting violently before them—is on the verge of breakdown.

Trump emphatically has faced real opposition, and reveled in it, on his path to power. But he has met earlier chapters of adversity, in politics and business, with reliance on traits—bluster, defiance, implacable self-promotion—that, however unorthodox, served him quite well in the old context.

Now the context has changed but—so far—Trump has not, or to the extent he has tried it, has not lasted more than a few hours at a time. Admirers and foes alike have become so casually accustomed to this president’s shattering of norms in a contemporary political setting that people easily miss how bizarre these circumstances are in historical terms. Is there any equivalent example in American history of a president confronting a grave domestic or international crisis with a similar combination of impetuosity and self-reference?

In just the past few days (who keeps track of time in self-quarantine?), Trump has gone from shocking his own health experts with a prediction that church pews would be filled and the country “raring to go” by Easter to extending the national shutdown through April. He has questioned whether governors are exaggerating their need for medical equipment and then indignantly denied saying that the next day. He has boasted of the television ratings for his coronavirus briefings.

So what? That’s just Trump, right? We are used to him by now.

True enough. But there is a difference between the current moment and the pre-corona past. Previously, his most flamboyant behavior was, for many of his admirers, an essential part of his appeal. It is unlikely that many Trump supporters are genuinely enthusiastic about his parade of errant statements on coronavirus, from the claim in late February that the number of U.S. cases “within a couple of days is going to be down close to zero,” to his insistence earlier this month that, “Anybody that needs a test, gets a test,” even as the person shepherding the administration’s response, Vice President Mike Pence, was saying, “we don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward."

The fact that Trump’s style of boasting about himself and denouncing critics is thoroughly familiar is not necessarily reassuring when it is employed in circumstances that are radically unfamiliar.

If there is any common trait of successful presidents, it is what Lippmann called “resiliency”—the capacity for personal growth, for recalibration, and for principled improvisation in the face of new circumstances.

If there is any common trait of failed presidents, it is incapacity for growth—a reliance on old habits and thinking even when events demand the opposite.

The coronavirus drama, with 180,000 cases, rather than the 15 at the time Trump made his “close to zero” prediction, is still closer to the beginning than the end. On Tuesday, he took a much more sober tone, saying: “I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going through a very tough two weeks.” With some lucky breaks, combined with the policy shifts he and his health team have made, he could yet retain his title as the Houdini of his era.

Without those breaks, however, he could easily end up keeping company historically with Hoover (who promised that “prosperity is around the corner”) and Lyndon B. Johnson (whose Vietnam generals fantasized about “light at the end of the tunnel”) as presidents who arrived in office with outsized personalities that shriveled as they failed to meet the political, practical, ultimately psychic needs of a nation in crisis.

Democrats and Republicans across the country say they’re desperately trying to acquire masks, gloves and ventilators for the most at-risk health care workers in their districts as the president takes a hands-off approach.

Confirmed U.S. Cases: 199,092 | U.S. Deaths: 4,361


Trump is considering whether to recommend Americans wear face covers when out in public, according to Sen. Pat Toomey.

Gov. Ron DeSantis urged all Floridians to avoid unnecessary gatherings and travel after coming under increasing pressure.

State-by-state systems for getting benefits into the hands of the unemployed are stressed, inefficient and not sending money quickly enough.

Fauci predicted that the effects of the pandemic will be "imprinted on the personality of our nation” for years to come.

The phenomenon works in reverse: presidents who displayed leadership dimensions that were unseen by most observers, and possibly by the presidents themselves, until crisis summoned greatness. Lippmann famously described the man campaigning to be Hoover’s successor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, as “an amiable boy scout,” and “a pleasant man, who, without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be president.”

As Lippmann’s biographer, Ronald Steel, explained, the columnist’s critics never stopped rubbing his nose in that quote. But Lippmann lived for more four decades insisting, accurately, “That I will maintain to my dying day was true of the Franklin Roosevelt of 1932.”

Adaptability was likewise a signature of the previous century’s greatest president. “I claim not to have controlled events but confess plainly that events have controlled me,” Abraham Lincoln said, describing his evolution during the Civil War on the abolition of slavery.

Trump, by contrast, asked recently by a reporter to grade himself, said, “I’d rate it a 10, I think we’ve done a great job.”

But Trump does not need to reach back in history for an example of a leadership style that doesn’t require a dubious pose of perfection to convey strength. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, who regularly shares the podium with Trump at coronavirus briefings, has described often in interviews the vitriol targeted at him during the early days of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Protesters were storming the National Institutes of Health campus and burning Fauci in effigy, because of frustrations with the pace of research on a cure. The activist Larry Kramer, whom Fauci now counts as a friend, was calling him a murderer. Fauci decided the protesters were right on some key points and urged they be integrated closely into the government’s response.

“The best thing I’ve done from a sociological and community standpoint was to embrace the activists,” Fauci said in an interview with Science Speaks in 2011. “Instead of rejecting them, I listened to them.”

Close your eyes and imagine Trump saying that.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - wag the tale, again?

Postby Meno_ » Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:30 am

The New York Times

Trump Warns Iran of Heightened Retaliation for Any Attacks on U.S. Troops

Democratic leaders cautioned the president privately that he must consult lawmakers before taking military action.

President Trump said his administration had “very good information” that Iran-backed militias were planning more assaults.

By Julian E. Barnes

April 1, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Trump warned Iran on Wednesday against using its proxy forces to attack American troops, vowing to retaliate by going “up the food chain,” a hint that the American military was considering a more direct strike on Iranian forces.

But senior Democrats cautioned Mr. Trump against attacking Iran without consulting Congress, a step he chose to forgo before the January killing of a top Iranian commander that pushed the countries to the brink of war. In a letter on March 27, Democratic leaders wrote that Mr. Trump must discuss with lawmakers any potential military actions overseas and noted that recent attacks on American forces in Iraq highlighted threats that could require a military response.

Mr. Trump strongly hinted on Wednesday that he was considering striking Iran if its proxy forces again attacked American troops and said his administration had “very good information” that Iran-backed militias were planning more assaults.

Noting that the United States had retaliated after a strike in March by Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia with ties to Iran, Mr. Trump suggested that if proxy groups struck again, the United States was considering directly attacking Iranian forces.

“If it happens again, that would go up the food chain,” Mr. Trump said. “This response will be bigger if they do something.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the president warned Iran against a “sneak attack” on American forces and hinted at reprisal. “Upon information and belief, Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on U.S. troops and/or assets in Iraq,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price, indeed!”

Mr. Trump’s comments were the latest indication that the White House was considering escalating action against Iran or its proxy forces.

Tensions with Iran have deepened since the start of the year when Mr. Trump ordered the killing of the top Iranian military and intelligence commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who was plotting operations around the Middle East. Though both sides pulled back before a wider war broke out, a deadly tit-for-tat has unfolded inside Iraq in the weeks since.

But the lawmakers noted that the Constitution and American law require the president to consult with Congress “before engaging in military action or actions likely to lead to war,” outside of narrow situations of self-defense.

“This administration has largely failed to fulfill this legal obligation,” the lawmakers continued, mentioning the January drone strike that killed General Suleimani.

The letter was signed by the Democratic members of the so-called Gang of Eight, who are regularly briefed by intelligence agencies on sensitive national security developments: Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader; and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The letter cited media reports about the administration’s consideration of direct action against Iran in response to attacks on American forces in Iraq by Iranian-sponsored militias. It was sent on the same day that The New York Times reported that the Pentagon was planning for a potential escalation in operations against Iranian militias.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other officials have privately pushed for more direct attacks on Iranian forces, as part of an effort to force Tehran to the bargaining table.

Mr. Trump had resisted Mr. Pompeo’s proposal for tougher action, noting in the deliberations with his national security team that with Iran reeling from the coronavirus, a direct attack would appear inappropriate.

But Mr. Pompeo and some other senior administration officials have become frustrated with the violence in Iraq and near-daily American intelligence reports that Iran’s proxy forces are plotting against the United States. Mr. Pompeo, along with Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, and Richard Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence, have argued that bolder action against Iranian forces could break the current cycle of violence and give new life to efforts to restart negotiations with Tehran.

Administration officials have maintained for nearly a year that a harsh approach toward Iran, including a campaign of financial warfare, would hurt Iran’s economy to the point of forcing its government to negotiate over its nuclear program and its military operations throughout the Middle East. Instead, Iran has lashed out with attacks for months against American forces and allied countries.

Mr. Trump held out hope on Wednesday that his tougher stance on Iran would restart negotiations. He said that he believed Tehran was “dying to make a deal” and that if Iran gave up its ambitions for nuclear weapons, it could get negotiations settled quickly.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said the Iranian government had refused an American offer of medical supplies and had done too little to help its people fight the pandemic, instead continuing to support its proxy forces.

“I feel deep concern for the Iranian people,” Mr. Esper said. “The important thing is that the Iranian government should focus on them and stop this malign behavior that they’ve been conducting now for over 40 years.”

Senior military officers have been more skeptical of a stepped-up campaign against Iran or Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. In a memo, Lt. Gen. Robert P. White, the top American commander in Iraq, wrote that a new military campaign against the militias would require that thousands more American troops be sent to Iraq and divert resources from the training mission.

At his news conference, Mr. Trump said he was watching the situation in Iraq closely and had been in touch with the Iraqi government about the threats against American forces. He said his public comments were a message to Tehran to reconsider its attacks.

“It’s not a heads-up” about an attack, Mr. Trump said. “I’m giving them a warning. There’s a big difference. I’m saying if you do anything to hurt our troops, they’re going to pay a price.”

Tensions With Iran

As Iran Reels, Trump Aides Clash Over Escalating Military Showdown

Julian E. Barnes is a national security reporter based in Washington, covering the intelligence agencies.

Alarm, Denial, Blame: The Pro-Trump Media’s Coronavirus Distortion

Trump Confronts a New Reality Before an Expected Wave of Disease and Death

© 2020 The New York Times Company

{ predictable possible project(ion) to take the populace off internal fears, when political expediency can shelter no more uncertainty, hmmm, for the Republicans.

A clever diversion maybe, ...?

Hope to God, --- NOT!


Victor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, assumes dictatorial powers amid corona virus, canceling elections, and assuring a probable tenure for life:

You could say that Hungary was already “immunocompromised.” A decade under the nation’s illiberal nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orban, has corroded the state’s checks and balances, cowed the judiciary, enfeebled civil society and the free press, and reconfigured electoral politics to the advantage of Orban’s ruling Fidesz party. So, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Budapest’s ailing democracy proved all too vulnerable.

============== ===========

And the coronaviral politics beat goes on

New York Times

Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing commentators turned a pandemic into a battle of us vs. them — the kind of battle President Trump has waged for much of his life.

President Trump spoke during a Fox News town hall at the White House on Tuesday.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

By Jeremy W. Peters

April 1, 2020

On Feb. 27, two days after the first reported case of the coronavirus spreading inside a community in the United States, Candace Owens was underwhelmed. “Now we’re all going to die from Coronavirus,” she wrote sarcastically to her two million Twitter followers, blaming a “doomsday cult” of liberal paranoia for the growing anxiety over the outbreak.

One month later, on the day the United States reached the grim milestone of having more documented coronavirus cases than anywhere in the world, Ms. Owens — a conservative commentator whom President Trump has called “a real star” — was back at it, offering what she said was “a little perspective” on the 1,000 American deaths so far. “The 2009 swine flu infected 1.4 Billion people around the world, and killed 575,000 people,” she wrote. “There was no media panic, and societies did not shut down.”

In the weeks leading up to the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, tens of millions of Americans who get their information from media personalities like Ms. Owens heard that this once-in-a-lifetime global health crisis was actually downright ordinary.

The president’s backers sometimes seemed to take their cues from him. On Feb. 26, the day before Ms. Owens was a guest at the White House for an African-American History Month reception, Mr. Trump denied it would spread further. “I don’t think it’s inevitable,” he said.

At other times, the president echoed right-wing media stars. When he declared at a campaign rally two days later that criticism of his halting response was a “new hoax,” commentators like Laura Ingraham of Fox News had already been accusing his opponents of exploiting the crisis. “A coronavirus,” she said on Feb. 25, “that’s a new pathway for hitting President Trump.” And when he falsely asserted that he had treated the outbreak as a pandemic all along, Fox hosts like Sean Hannity backed him up, saying that Mr. Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China and Europe would “go down as the single most consequential decision in history.”

A review of hundreds of hours of programming and social media traffic from Jan. 1 through mid-March — when the White House started urging people to stay home and limit their exposure to others — shows that doubt, cynicism and misinformation about the virus took root among many of Mr. Trump’s boosters in the right-wing media as the number of confirmed cases in the United States grew.

It was during this lull — before the human and economic toll became undeniable — when the story of the coronavirus among the president’s most stalwart defenders evolved into the kind of us-versus-them clash that Mr. Trump has waged for much of his life.

Now, with the nation’s economic and physical health in clear peril, Mr. Trump and many of his allies on the airwaves and online are blaming familiar enemies in the Democratic Party and the news media.


Viral politics as usual:

Coronavirus outbreak

Trump gets help from Kushner and rails against new ‘witch-hunt’ at coronavirus briefing

President’s son-in-law makes surprise appearance and says Trump heard about supply shortages ‘just this morning’

Donald Trump sparked fresh criticism on Thursday by deploying his son-in-law at a White House coronavirus taskforce briefing and accusing Democrats of launching a fresh “witch-hunt”.

Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to the US president who is married to his daughter, Ivanka, made a surprise appearance on the podium and said Trump had instructed him to “break down every barrier needed to make sure the teams can succeed”.

He added: “The president also wanted us to make sure that we think outside the box, make sure we’re finding all the best thinkers in the country, making sure we’re getting all the best ideas.

But by way of example, Kushner said Trump became concerned about supply shortages after hearing about them “just this morning” from “friends of his in New York” – implying the president responds to anecdotes rather than the state governor or public health officials.

“We went to the president today,” Kushner continued. “And earlier today, the president called Mayor [Bill] de Blasio to inform him that we are going to send a month of supply to New York public hospital system.” The vice-president, Mike Pence, later said there would 200,000 masks sent to New York.

Kushner said: “We’ll be doing similar things with all the different public hospitals that are in the hotspot zones and making sure that we’re constantly in communications with the local communities.”

Media reports have suggested that Kushner, a property developer with no medical expertise, is running a “shadow taskforce” – a rival power base that conflicts with the official task force led by Pence.

He said: “I’ve been serving really at the direction of the vice-president. He’s asked me to get involved in different projects. The vice-president and I speak, probably, sometimes five, 10 times a day, but everything that I’m doing is at the direction of the vice-president.”

He glanced over at Pence, who smiled benignly.

Earlier on Thursday, Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, announced a new House committee would oversee “all aspects” of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic and did not rule out an investigation in the style of the commission on the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Such a prospect clearly stung Trump, who compared it to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and the congressional hearings into his dealings with Ukraine that led to his impeachment.

“This is not the time for politics,” he told reporters. “Endless partisan investigations – here we go again – have already done extraordinary damage to our country in recent years. You see what happens. It’s witch-hunt after witch-hunt after witch-hunt and, in the end, the people doing the witch-hunt have been losing, and they’ve been losing by a lot. It’s not any time for witch-hunts.”

Yet even as the president spoke, the White House was releasing a letter in which he assailed Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic minority leader from New York. “Thank you for your Democrat public relations letter and incorrect sound bites, which are wrong in every way,” Trump wrote

“If you spent less time on your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ended up going nowhere (except increasing my poll numbers) and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared for the ‘invisible enemy’.”

Along with Kushner, Trump introduced Peter Navarro, the national Defense Production Act (DPA) policy coordinator. Navarro claimed there was a “black market springing up” to drive up prices of protective gear, involving brokers and middle men. “We are going to crack down on the hoarders,” he said.

Navarro, a hardliner on trade, also used the opportunity claim the pandemic showed “we’re over-dependent on a global supply chain” and was a “vindication” of Trump’s stance on buying American goods and strengthening borders. More than once he praised “Trump time” – shorthand for getting things done fast.

The president said he was again invoking the DPA to ensure parts were available for the mass production of ventilators. Adm John Polowczyk, in charge of the supply chain, said the federal government had now produced 22.4m pairs of protective gloves, 5.2m face shields and 7,600 ventilators.

But distributing the supplies to the places most in need has been a problem. Trump became defensive under questioning, seeking to shift blame to individual states.

Some were well prepared, he said, but “in some cases their shelves were bare”. He went on: “By the way, the states should have been building their stockpiles. We’re a backup, we’re not an ordering clerk. Whoever heard of a governor calling up the federal government and saying, ‘Sir, we need a hospital?’”

Trump also faced queries about the economy on a day that saw the number of people filing claims for unemployment benefits surge to a record of more than 6.6 million. He made the astonishing claim: “I will always protect your Social Security, your Medicare and your Medicaid” – despite having supported cuts in the past.

The president announced that he had taken a second test for coronavirus and, like the first, it came back negative. The second test was much simpler and took about 15 minutes. “I’ve done them both and the second one is much more pleasant,” he said.

America now has more than 236,000 confirmed cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins, the highest in the world, and more than 5,600 fatalities. Deborah Birx, the taskforce response coordinator, warned that Americans are not yet taking the risks seriously enough.

“I know you’ve seen the slope in the United States vs the slope in Italy,” she said. “We have to change that slope ... we see country after country having done that. I can tell by the curve as it is today that not everyone is following the social distancing guidance. We can bend our curve, but everyone has to take responsibility as Americans.”

© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - the enemy of the people, really

Postby Meno_ » Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:03 pm

The Guardian - Back to home


Donald Trump

‘It’s an exhausting story’: Jonathan Karl on his up-close view of Trump

ABC’s chief White House correspondent on his new book Front Row at the Trump Show, fake news, coronavirus and why the Trump presidency is a matter of life and deathm

Sat 4 Apr 2020 01.00 EDT

At a White House briefing late last month, Jonathan Karl asked what he regarded as the fundamental question that day, about the coronavirus pandemic. “And everybody who needs one will be able to get a ventilator?”

Donald Trump’s reply was probably the strangest ABC News’ chief White House correspondent has ever had from a US president.

“Look,” he said. “Don’t be a cutie pie. OK?”

Trump went on. Karl, he said, was “a wise guy” too.

What viewers may not have known is that the two men go way back.

They first met in 1994 when Karl was a cub reporter at the New York Post and Trump, a millionaire property developer, gave him a tour of Trump Tower, where newly married couple Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley were staying. The result was a front-page scoop: “Inside Michael’s Honeymoon Hideaway”.

Now president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Karl recounts the episode both at the start of his new book, Front Row at the Trump Show, and in a phone interview with the Guardian.

“The thing that blew me away about that moment, my first real introduction to Donald Trump, was the way he understood exactly what my job was and how to make a compelling story, and the way he operated so quickly,” he says.

“It wasn’t going through handlers and PR advisers and spokespeople. It was Donald Trump: ‘Come on over, let me show you what I got.’ There was no filter. It was him and he was incredibly, in a way, charming and we had a great story and he was willing to break rules to tell it.

“There was intense security all around, keeping the press at bay, and here’s Donald Trump bringing me right up to Michael’s apartment, showing me their secret vehicle to get in and out of the place. He didn’t play it the way it’s normally played.”

Karl, 52, adds: “I knew that I could call him from that point on whenever I wanted to and he would be accessible and willing to play along and loved to be in the mix. The idea that I would go on to become a White House reporter, president of the White House Correspondents Association, and he would be the president is kind of mind-blowing.”

Trump’s gut instinct for publicity and reptilian genius for making media weather would be evident in his 2016 election campaign and throughout his presidency. The White House press secretary’s daily briefing was killed off and replaced by “chopper talk”, before Trump boarded Marine One on the South Lawn. He has turned the daily coronavirus updates into a new form of campaign rally.

Karl reflects: “We’ve had three White House press secretaries, we’ve had – I guess depends on how you count – three or four communications directors in the Trump White House, but in reality we’ve really only had one. Donald Trump has always been the press secretary, the spokesperson, the communications director for Donald Trump. That was true in 1994 when I first encountered him and it’s absolutely true in 2020.”

Karl finds himself promoting a book in the middle of a pandemic. He has been doing TV interviews from remote locations. Stephen Colbert teased him for speaking from a home office where his Emmy awards were prominently displayed.

One of Karl’s most memorable anecdotes is about 10 November 2016. It has become a commonplace to quote the musical Hamilton’s song The Room Where It Happens but Karl was genuinely in there, witnessing the Oval Office meeting between President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump (and snapping a few photos from 5ft away). And this collision of matter and anti-matter produced a surprise.

“It was the first time that I saw what seemed to be a humbled Donald Trump,” Karl recalls. “He seemed to be taken with the moment. I was almost imagining he’s like, ‘Oh, my God, what did I get myself into?’

“Nobody thought he was going to win. I don’t think he really thought he was going to win and here he was in the Oval Office, a place where he was gonna be returning in just a short period of time as the president and all the weight of all that meant and the problems he was gonna be dealing with and the responsibility he was going to have.

“He seemed humbled. He seemed a little bit freaked out. Now, that didn’t last: we never saw that look again, really. That was a fleeting moment but it really struck me.”

When Trump was asked if he intended to ask Obama or any of his other predecessors for advice on dealing with the coronavirus crisis, he replied: “I don’t want to disturb them, bother them. I don’t think I’m going to learn much. And, you know, I guess you could say that there’s probably a natural inclination not to call.”

‘Enemy of the people’

For more than three years, Karl has been on Trump’s trail, even receiving a hug from Kanye West in the Oval Office. He has also witnessed Trump’s war on the media with barbs such as “the enemy of the people” – a phrase which, Karl notes, the Nazis used in 1934. So what message does it send to the rest of the world?

“I think it is deeply disturbing that you have authoritarian leaders around the world who shut down a free press, jail reporters and potentially even worse and do so invoking the words of the American president. So you see Erdoğan and Putin. You see it’s been documented in Kazakhstan and in Egypt. You see authoritarian leaders echoing the precise words of Donald Trump, talking about ‘fake news’ as reporters are thrown in jail.

The Enemy of the People review: CNN's Jim Acosta takes Trump's bait again

“The other thing that I think is really troubling is when the president calls real news ‘fake news’, when he suggests that the act of being an aggressive reporter is ‘treasonous’, it has undermined the faith in an independent free press among a significant segment of the population. That’s a big problem. I do worry about that a lot.”

Trump’s use of the bully pulpit for his daily coronavirus briefings has led to renewed calls for the press corps to be more combative. In his book, however, Karl cautions against reporters behaving like a political opposition or the anti-Trump “resistance”.

He explains: “There is a breathlessly negative tone to a lot of the news coverage of Trump and Trump’s provided ample material to fuel that, but what happens is a segment of the population sees it and tunes it all out. It all becomes noise and everything is the outrage of the day and then it’s hard to differentiate between a real outrage and an outrage that is maybe not as important.

“I mention the case of one CNN reporter literally getting up on live television and saying reporters should be protesting the president in Lafayette Square. We are not protesters. We are not the resistance. We need to report on a president fairly and objectively and a lot of that’s going to end up being negative.”

He adds: “Your north star is to provide objective and balanced news and let’s remember that this president has branded the news media as the opposition party, so when those working for mainstream news organisations act like the opposition party, you’re actually playing right into his media strategy.”

Karl’s book draws on fresh research and interviews, including with John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff. In 2017, Karl writes, Kelly had to talk the national security adviser, HR McMaster, out of passing on the president’s order for a Venezuela war plan to the Pentagon.

Now, however, as Trump faces the biggest test of his life, most voices of restraint are gone.

Karl says: “Up until this moment he’s had a series of people in the White House who have tried to steer him or put some guardrails up. John Kelly made the most aggressive effort to try to protect Donald Trump from his most destructive tendencies.

“It is all Donald Trump right now and I think that’s potentially dangerous. Any president, no matter how competent, needs to have strong advisers. He’s got the medical people that are advising him on this, sure, but those are not on his West Wing staff there.

“This is truly Donald Trump calling all the shots and doing it by his gut instinct. So I think that is potentially worrisome, as is the way the truth has been undermined, the credibility of the White House and also the credibility of the press corps that he’s tried so hard to undermine. Both of those things make this crisis harder to deal with day to day.”

‘An exhausting story’

As the title of his book implies, Karl already had a front-row seat to history, reporting on the most peculiar president of this or any other age. Now there is a once-in-a-century global pandemic added to the mix. What a time to be alive. Is a part of him secretly enjoying the daily adrenaline rush?

Trump speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

“It’s an exhausting story,” he says, suddenly sounding weary. “Yes, there is something rewarding about people wanting to know the story and the interest and the fascination in it, but it’s exhausting and some of it’s truly been troubling.”

A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump review: dispatches from a time before the virus

He elaborates: “I think, especially in light of what we’re seeing with this pandemic, there is something very dangerous that is unfolding here.

“We’re at a point where nearly half the country doesn’t believe what this president and White House says and we have nearly half the rest of the country that’s been told not to believe what they see in a newspaper or see in television news or any other form of mainstream news.

“That’s a deeply troubling, deeply dangerous place to be where there isn’t a shared agreement and sense of some basic facts, especially now where reliable information, and believing you have reliable information, can literally be a matter of life and death.

© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

{ The above accentuates the triple danger the world is facing: a deathly viral toll, a dialectical struggle, and a dangerous man. Who ever said such bad mix couldn't happen here, the very source of intellectual enlightenment, and social reality the world has ever known since the Golden Ages of Greece and Rome.}
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Re: Trump enters the stage - The Man for all seasons ?

Postby Meno_ » Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:41 pm

{ Or, does a semi successful acting career guarantee a smooth transition to politics? } :


Two months in, Trump's coronavirus response creates more chaos

Analysis: Amid America's biggest crisis in generations, the president's actions have often complicated problems rather than resolved them.

April 5, 2020, 9:45 AM EDT

By Jonathan Allen

WASHINGTON — More than two months into what President Donald Trump calls a "war" against COVID-19, his administration's efforts to combat the deadly disease, along with its disastrous effects on the U.S. economy, are often creating more problems than they solve.

Bidding wars for life-saving equipment, a power struggle between Trump's son-in-law and the vice president, political gamesmanship, the centralization of authority and decentralization of accountability, and the creation of new government programs while standing bureaucracies are ignored, have all contributed to chaos within the political, economic and health care systems.

Banks haven't been able to process loan applications for a new Small Business Administration relief program, companies trying to produce personal protective equipment for medical professionals can't get the Federal Emergency Management Administration's attention, and doctors and ventilators at ambulatory surgery centers idled by a soft moratorium on elective operations are on the sidelines.

Those problems are minor compared to the crunch of rising coronavirus cases, the scarcity of ventilators and the possibility that trillions of dollars in aid won't be enough — or well-directed enough — to prevent a catastrophic economic collapse.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

It all adds up to a sense that no one is really in charge in the midst of the most daunting crisis the nation has faced in generations.

"This country is re-learning what it understood during the Cold War — we don't elect presidents for the good days, we elect them to handle the bad days," said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. "Donald Trump is incapable of handling a bad day, let alone a protracted pandemic."

The composite sketch drawn from interviews NBC conducted in recent days with more than a dozen individuals involved in various aspects of the crisis reveals a fight for mortal and economic survival in which men and women, states and cities, and hospitals and businesses of all kinds have been left without sufficient support. The absence of national leadership comes even at a time when Congress and the Federal Reserve are pumping cash into the system and many businesses who want to provide assistance have found they can't connect with federal agencies.

Many of those interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the president, or because they weren't authorized by their employers to talk publicly, and some only provided details on small pieces of the puzzle. Their slices of the world represent Democratic and Republican politics, federal, state and local governments, large and small businesses, the health care system and various parts of supply chains that have been broken or bent under the weight of tremendous financial strain and wildly variant demand for an array of goods and services.

Some praised aspects of the president's efforts, including cracking down on hoarding and price-gouging, encouraging Americans to stay at home to prevent the spread of the disease, and using some of his hard and soft power to procure medical equipment from private companies.

But taken together, their stories reveal that poor preparation for the pandemic has been compounded both by policies that have been implemented and by the Trump administration's inability to coordinate the distribution of health care assets — equipment like ventilators, masks and gloves, and trained medical personnel — and the effort to backstop an economy suddenly thrust into reverse.

More than three years into his tenure, Trump has blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for a barren national stockpile of needed medical equipment and at the same time said that the federal government should not be relied upon as a supplier.

"The states should have been building their stockpiles," he said at a White House press briefing this week. "We’re a backup. We’re not an ordering clerk."

He also invited his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to speak about the response for the first time, acknowledging the prominent behind-the-scenes role Kushner has taken in recent days on a task force that had been the domain of Vice President Mike Pence.

"I've been serving really at the direction of the vice president and he's asked me to get involved in different projects," Kushner said in response to a question about reports that he is running a "shadow" task force parallel to Pence's effort.

The biggest issue on the front lines of the coronavirus fight is scarcity. On its own, that's not a problem of Trump's making, but it has been exacerbated by his insistence that states and cities compete with the federal government and private-sector buyers, including deeper-pocketed hospitals, for test kits, ventilators, masks, gowns and other items.

The truth is, there's not much equipment out there to be had. Much of the personal protective gear used in the United States is manufactured in China, where the coronavirus devastated production months ago.

On top of that, rising demand and the waiver of some federal rules for protective gear has inspired the development of a very hot "gray market" for the goods. That market means less quality control, buyers who are often unfamiliar with sellers or brokers as they are inundated with solicitations, prices that have skyrocketed, and orders that are frequently canceled at the last minute, according to several people involved in bidding for the equipment.

That can mean losses in terms of the opportunity cost of bidding teams' time, money thrown away or, even worse, the risk of outfitting emergency medical personnel with substandard equipment.

"The demand curve is far exceeding the supply curve ... which is resulting in unvetted and uncertified suppliers entering the marketplace," said Chaun Powell, vice president for strategic supplier engagement at the health care consulting firm Premier.

Of course, any president would have been challenged by the enormity of this crisis, and Trump has found ways to show glimmers of creativity with the resources available to him.

For example, the federal government is now underwriting the cost of flying personal protective equipment in from overseas to deliver them to private buyers in exchange for the right to identify which counties get 50 percent of the materials first, a Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman said in an email exchange about the "Project Airbridge" program.

If he chose to, Trump could invoke the Defense Production Act to take and allocate 100 percent.

Facing pressure, he issued an order Friday designed to get 3M, the Minnesota-based manufacturer of the N-95 face mask, to ship protective gear made in foreign countries to the U.S. and stop sending U.S.-made goods to other countries. The order states that when it comes to equipment needed in the COVID-19 fight, "it is the policy of the United States to prevent domestic brokers, distributors, and other intermediaries from diverting such material overseas."

Often, the president chooses to highlight how he has convinced personal friends, political allies or people with business before the federal government to pitch in. On March 30, he held a Rose Garden news conference in which several CEOs spoke about their efforts to provide tranches of personal protective equipment. One of them, MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, has donated more than $200,000 to Trump's campaigns and affiliated committees.

Another CEO, Greg Hayes of United Technologies Corporation, announced the donation of 1.1 million pieces of personal protective equipment to FEMA, some of which was originally designated the previous week. UTC's long-pending merger with the defense contractor Raytheon had been approved by Trump's Justice Department four days before the Rose Garden event.

More often than not, reports from around the country and across sectors of the economy show inefficiency from the federal government at best and incompetence at worst. In some cases, the administration's actions may have had unanticipated downsides.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams' admonition to limit elective surgeries was the right call but has hammered ambulatory surgery centers, just as stay-at-home guidelines have had a painful effect on health care providers who are not involved in the coronavirus fight more broadly, according to Jim Rechtin, CEO of Envision.

His company, which operates more than 250 ambulatory surgery centers and employs 27,000 clinicians, including 11,000 who work in emergency rooms, has ventilators on hand and doctors who are able to travel to work with coronavirus patients. He's looking for ways to get ventilators to hospitals — despite his concern that they won't be replenished — and clinicians need to be paid.

"It’s a mismatch of supply and demand — part of that is coordination and part of it's the financial support to make it happen," he said, adding that there are "signs that there is early activity in this area but we could use more, faster."

Two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that FEMA isn't responding to requests from companies looking to supply goods for the coronavirus fight. The emergency management bureau's regional offices are well-schooled in disaster response, but the White House has basically thrown that organizational structure out the window in favor of centralizing power. Trump has also chosen not to use established logistics chains at other agencies, preferring a task-force model that has yet to wrangle the towering management challenge.


Outside the health system, businesses are closing up shop and laying off workers at a record pace. Ten million people have filed new unemployment claims in the last two weeks alone, and even industries that were expected to hum through the coronavirus crisis are witnessing severe slow-downs. Across the country, big trucks are parked for days on end with nothing to haul, according to multiple sources familiar with the industry.

"The food factories are reducing our shipments," said Dan Eberhart, who owns trucking and oil companies. "They’re doing this because the employees showing up at the factories are shrinking" in number.

Eberhart, who is a major fundraiser for GOP candidates, said Trump needs to get on the ball on the Small Business Administration relief program that has been overwhelmed by applications but unable to get off the ground.

"I have several industrial businesses seeking these SBA loans, and the banks won't even take the applications yet and/or haven't been able to submit them to the SBA," he said in a text message late Saturday night. "If President Trump doesn't speed this up, the U.S. is going to have an economy the size of the Cayman Islands."

Right now, he appears to be having trouble proving he can manage a government bigger than that.

Jonathan Allen is a senior political analyst for NBC News, based in Washington.

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Re: Trump enters the stage Trump-scientist or criminal ?

Postby Meno_ » Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:19 pm

Fox News


Published April 06, 2020

Last Update 2 hrs ago

Dem lawmaker wants Trump prosecuted at international court for 'crimes against humanity'

By Ronn Blitzer | Fox News

A Democratic state representative in Ohio said she "can't take it anymore" and vowed to refer President Trump to the International Criminal Court for "crimes against humanity" over Trump's promotion of a drug that has not been conclusively proven to fight the coronavirus.

State Rep. Tavia Galonski tweeted Sunday after President Trump spoke about hydroxychloroquine at his daily press briefing. The drug, normally used to treat malaria, is one of several that the president has pointed to as showing promise in the fight against COVID-19, but its effectiveness has been a subject of debate.


"I can’t take it anymore. I’ve been to The Hague. I’m making a referral for crimes against humanity tomorrow," Galonski said. "Today’s press conference was the last straw. I know the need for a prosecution referral when I see one."

The Hague is the site of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which boasts 123 state parties. The United States is not one of them. Only member states or non-members who accept the ICC's jurisdiction can make referrals. Alternatively, the United Nations Security Council can also refer a matter for investigation.

"Crimes against humanity" is a category of offense that the ICC handles. The court provides a list of crimes that fall under this, including murder, extermination, enslavement, torture, and "other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury."

Fox News asked Rep. Galonski if there is a specific crime she is accusing Trump of committing, and how she plans on pursuing charges given the United States' non-member status. She did not immediately respond.

Galonski is not the only one to question Trump's promotion of hydroxychloroquine, given that the FDA has not approved it -- or any other drugs -- specifically for treating COVID-19.

Many governors, public-health officials, and others have warned that the drug has shown major side effects and its efficacy still remained unproven as a treatment for COVID-19. Some experts have expressed concern that widespread use of the drug could lead to complicating access for people who need them for rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

There have been instances of doctors saying they have had success with it, but Dr. Antony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS' "Face the Nation" that the data is "at best suggestive."

Fauci said he does not think "we could definitely say it works," noting that in some cases there has been "no effect," and in others it may have been effective.

When Fauci was asked about the drug at Sunday's press briefing, Trump said, "He’s answered that question 15 times."

Despite the apparent inconclusiveness one way or the other about the drug, Galonski appears confident that she has grounds to bring a case against the president, and is calling on attorneys with international experience to reach out and help her.

Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report.

2020 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.


'A Really Chilling Moment': Trump Refuses to Allow Dr. Fauci to Answer Question on Dangers of Hydroxychloroquine

"This is unacceptable. Dr. Fauci, one of the world's top infectious disease scientists, was just censored live at a White House press conference."


Jake Johnson, staff writer


Monday, April 06, 2020

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci as President Donald Trump dismisses a question during an unscheduled briefing after a Coronavirus Task Force meeting at the White House on April 5, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

During a press briefing Sunday night purportedly aimed at providing the U.S. public with crucial information amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump refused to allow the nation's top infectious disease expert to answer a reporter's question about the efficacy of an anti-malaria drug that the president has recklessly touted as a possible COVID-19 treatment despite warnings from medical professionals.

Before Dr. Anthony Fauci could respond to the question about hydroxychloroquine, Trump—who was standing back and off to the side of the podium—complained that Fauci had already spoken about the drug "15 times."

"You don't have to ask the question again," said Trump, stepping forward and moving closer to Fauci as another reporter began asking a separate question.

"This is a really chilling moment from a science standpoint, with Trump having just pushed an unproven COVID treatment and Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., getting muzzled on live TV," tweeted Andrew Freedman, a climate reporter for the Washington Post. "Was clear Trump didn't want to be contradicted."

Dr. Lucky Tran, a biologist, said Trump's interruption was "unacceptable."

"Dr. Fauci, one of the world's top infectious disease scientists, was just censored live at a White House press conference," tweeted Tran.

The exchange came just hours after Fauci, in an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday morning, said that "in terms of science, I don't think we could definitively say [hydroxychloroquine] works."

"The data are really just at best suggestive," said Fauci. "There have been cases that show there may be an effect and there are others to show there's no effect."

During a press briefing Saturday evening, Trump said "I really think they should they should take it," referring to coronavirus patients and hydroxychloroquine. Three people in Nigeria overdosed on the drug last month after the president said, without evidence, that the drug may be able to combat the novel coronavirus.

In a joint statement on March 25, the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists said "there is no incontrovertible evidence to support off-label use of medications for COVID-19."

"What do I know?" Trump asked during the press briefing Sunday night. "I'm not a doctor."

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Has Anyone Found Trump’s Soul? Anyone?

He’s not rising to the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic. He’s shriveling into nothingness.

By Frank Bruni

Opinion Columnist

April 6, 2020

Do you remember President George W. Bush’s remarks at Ground Zero in Manhattan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks? I can still hear him speaking of national grief and national pride. This was before all the awful judgment calls and fatal mistakes, and it doesn’t excuse them. But it mattered, because it reassured us that our country’s leader was navigating some of the same emotional currents that we were.

Do you remember President Barack Obama’s news conference after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 28 people, including 20 children, dead? I do. Freshest in my memory is how he fought back tears. He was hurting. He cared. And while we couldn’t bank on new laws to prevent the next massacre, we could at least hold on to that.

One more question: Do you remember the moment when President Trump’s bearing and words made clear that he grasped not only the magnitude of this rapidly metastasizing pandemic but also our terror in the face of it?

It passed me by, maybe because it never happened.

In Trump’s predecessors, for all their imperfections, I could sense the beat of a heart and see the glimmer of a soul. In him I can’t, and that fills me with a sorrow and a rage that I quite frankly don’t know what to do with.

During these extraordinary times, Opinion columnists and writers will be going live on Twitter every weekday at 1 p.m. Eastern to chat with viewers. Join Frank Bruni for a conversation on Wednesday, April 8: @FrankBruni.

Americans are dying by the thousands, and he gloats about what a huge, rapt television audience he has. They’re confronting financial ruin and not sure how they’ll continue to pay for food and shelter, and he reprimands governors for not treating him with adequate adulation.

He’s not rising to the challenge before him, not even a millimeter. He’s shriveling into nothingness.

On Friday, when Trump relayed a new recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all Americans wear face masks in public places, he went so far out of his way to stress that the coverings were voluntary and that he himself wouldn’t be going anywhere near one that he might as well have branded them Apparel for Skittish Losers. I’ve finally settled on his epitaph: “Donald J. Trump, too cool for the coronavirus.”

This is more than a failure of empathy, which is how many observers have described his deficiency. It’s more than a failure of decency, which has been my go-to lament. It’s a failure of basic humanity.

In The Washington Post a few days ago, Michael Gerson, a conservative who worked in Bush’s White House, wrote that Trump’s spirit is “a vast, trackless wasteland.” Not exactly trackless. There are gaudy outposts of ego all along the horizon.

When the direness of this global health crisis began to be apparent, I was braced for the falsehoods and misinformation that are Trump’s trademarks. I was girded for the incompetence that defines an administration with such contempt for proper procedure and for true expertise.

But what has taken me by surprise and torn me up inside are the aloofness, arrogance, pettiness, meanness, narcissism and solipsism that persist in Trump — that flourish in him — even during a once-in-a-lifetime emergency that demands something nobler. Under normal circumstances, these traits are galling. Under the current ones, they’re gutting.

“I don’t take responsibility at all.” “Did you know I was number one on Facebook?” To bother with just one of those sentences while a nation trembles is disgusting. To bother with both, as Trump did, is perverse.

He continues to bash the media, as if the virus were cooked up in the bowels of CNN. He continues to play blame games and to lord his station over those of a lesser political caste, turning governors into grovelers and suggesting that they’re whiny piggies at the federal trough.

He continues his one-man orgy of self-congratulation, so that in the same breath recently he speculated about a toll of 100,000 deaths in America from Covid-19 and crowed about what a great job he’s doing.

And he continues to taunt and smear his perceived political adversaries. Last week, on Fox News, he called Nancy Pelosi “a sick puppy.” This is how he chooses to spend his time and energy?

At those beloved daily briefings of his, where he talks and talks and talks, he sometimes seems to regard what’s happening less as a devastating scourge than as a star-studded event. Just look at the nifty degree of prominence it’s conferring on everyone and everything involved! He has mused aloud about how well known Anthony Fauci has become. He has marveled at the disease’s celebrity profile.

“Become a very famous term — C-O-V-I-D,” he said on Thursday. Was that envy in his voice?

He leaps from tone deafness to some realm of complete sensory and moral deprivation.

“I want to come way under the models,” he said on Friday, referring to casualty projections. “The professionals did the models. I was never involved in a model.”

“At least this kind of model,” he added. No context like a pandemic for X-rated humor.

It’s an extraordinary thing: to fill the air with so many words and have none of them carry any genuine sadness or stirring resolve.

I can hear his admirers grumble that he doesn’t do camera-perfect emotions, that Obama was just a better actor, that Trump is the more authentic man.

To which I answer: What’s the point of having a showman for a president if he can’t put on the right kind of show? Performances count, even if they’re just performances. And Trump clearly isn’t averse to artifice. Just look at his hair.

A cheap shot? I’m feeling cheap. A loss of life and livelihoods on this scale will do that to you.

As of this writing, at least 9,600 people with the coronavirus have died in the United States. That’s more than three times the number killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. New York State alone reported 630 new deaths on Saturday . No school shooting has taken even a small faction of as many lives.

And while I’m not looking to Trump for any panacea, is it too much to ask for some sign that the dying has made an impression on him, that the crying has penetrated his carapace and that he’s thinking about something other than his ratings? I watch. I wait. I suspect I’ll be doing that forever.

Health Care Workers Are Begging for Masks. Is the President Listening?

Trump Is Gutting Our Democracy While We’re Dealing with Coronavirus

April 6, 2020

© 2020 The New York Times Company

'To which I answer: What’s the point of having a showman for a president if he can’t put on the right kind of show? Performances count, even if they’re just performances. And Trump clearly isn’t averse to artifice. Just look at his hair.

A cheap shot? '

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Re: Trump enters the stage - continuing bad acting

Postby Meno_ » Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:29 am

The Guardian - Back to home

Coronavirus US live: Trump says US will stop funding World Heath Organization, then backtracks
President claims WHO ‘blew it’ after downplaying crisis himself

Acting navy secretary resigns after comments on ousted captain
New York has now lost 5,489 residents to coronavirus
Trump was warned in January of devastating impact, memos reveal
Wisconsin voters go to the polls in controversial election

Live global updates

Tue 7 Apr 2020 19.16 ED

Key events
19:10 EDT

Dr Anthony Fauci added that “health disparities have always existed for the African American community but here, again, with this crisis, it’s shining a bright light on how unacceptable that is.”

Although “we will get over coronavirus,” he added, “there will still be health disparities.”

Updated at 19:16 EDT
19:07 EDT
Dr Deborah Birx clarified that African Americans are not more “susceptible” to coronavirus. “What our data suggests is that they are more susceptible to more difficult and severe disease and poorer outcomes,” she said.

Data from cities including Chicago and Philadelphia show stark racial disparities in coronavirus patients and fatalities. White House official Seema Verma said that Medicare data will be looking at race and underlying conditions, and the president earlier promised that more statistics on racial disparities will be revealed in the next week.

Updated at 19:13 EDT
18:58 EDT
Fact check: coronavirus deaths

“I think they’re pretty accurate on the death counts,” Trump told reporters. But doctors disagree. Delays in reporting and a continuing lack of widespread testing mean that more people have died of coronavirus than the official count. Doctors also believe that deaths in February and early March — before the coronavirus was recognized as an epidemic in the US — that were attributed to influenza or pneumonia, were likely due to Covid-19.

Updated at 18:58 EDT
18:52 EDT
Fact check: vote-by-mail

The president has left the briefing room, leaving it to Mike Pence and health officials to answer the remaining questions. Before he exited, he once again falsely claimed that recent elections were marred by voter fraud, insisting that millions of people voted illegally in 2016 which cost him the popular vote.

But extensive research has found that voter fraud is rare and virtually nonexistent.

Trump zeroed in on mail-in ballots, claiming the process is “corrupt” and susceptible to widespread fraud. “You get thousands and thousands of people sitting in somebody’s living room, signing somebody’s ballot,” he said. I

n the 5 states that have moved to an entirely vote-by-mail systems, there has been no evidence of widespread fraud. More states are considering expanding their vote-by-mail systems amid the coronavirus pandemic as a way to keep voters and poll workers safe. But the moves are widely opposed by Republicans, as was the case in Wisconsin, which held its primary election on Tuesday despite calls and legal challenges to postpone the election.

It should be noted, once again, that Trump voted by mail-in ballot in Florida last month. Additionally, the most significant episode of mail-in ballot fraud in recent years involved a Republican congressional candidate in North Carolina. The election was overturned.

Wisconsin voters go to the polls in controversial election

Updated at 18:52 EDT
18:45 EDT
Fact check: hydroxychloroquine

Trump loves to tout hydroxychloroquine. Last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided the drug with an “emergency use authorization” to use on coronavirus patients in some circumstances. State officials in New York have said that about 4,000 seriously ill patients are now being treated with the drug. But experts say it’s too early to call it a cure.

What is hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine, also known by its brand name, Plaquenil, is a drug used to treat malaria. It is a less toxic version of chloroquine, another malaria drug, which itself is related to quinine, an ingredient in tonic water.

It is also readily available to Americans – already approved as a malaria and anti-inflammation treatment by the FDA – where it is an off-the-shelf drug with various low-cost generic versions. Despite the emergency use order, the FDA has not conducted clinical trials to fully ascertain whether the drug is an effective treatment for Covid-19.

Why is Trump touting it?

Trump was influenced by a widely publicized study in France where 40 coronavirus patients were given hydroxychloroquine, with more than half experiencing the clearing of their airways within three to six days. This apparent improvement is important as it would curtail the timeframe in which infected people could spread Covid-19 to others.

However, experts have warned that the study is small and lacks sufficient rigor to be classed as evidence of a potential treatment. The French health ministry has warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19, with Olivier Véran, France’s health minister, saying that it shouldn’t be used by anyone with the exception of “serious forms of hospitalization and on the collegial decision of doctors and under strict medical supervision”.

Updated at 18:45 EDT

18:37 EDT

Trump is again touting hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, which has not yet been proven effective against the coronavirus.

The repeated a story about a Democratic state lawmaker who credits hydroxychloroquine and Trump for her recovery from Covid-19. “I really think it’s a great thing to try, just based on what I know,” he said. “Again, I’m not a doctor. Get a physician’s approval.”

Here’s more on that state representative, from the Detroit Free Press:

State Rep. Karen Whitsett, who learned Monday she has tested positive for COVID-19, said she started taking hydroxychloroquine on March 31, prescribed by her doctor, after both she and her husband sought treatment for a range of symptoms on March 18.

“It was less than two hours” before she started to feel relief, said Whitsett, who had experienced shortness of breath, swollen lymph nodes, and what felt like a sinus infection. She is still experiencing headaches, she said.

Whitsett said she was familiar with “the wonders” of hydroxychloroquine from an earlier bout with Lyme disease, but does not believe she would have thought to ask for it, or her doctor would have prescribed it, had Trump not been touting it as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

Updated at 18:37 EDT
18:29 EDT

“Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country,” the president said. The ballots are “forgeries in many cases - it’s a horrible thing,” he added, citing no evidence to back the claim.

Trump himself voted by mail — in March.

Updated at 18:30 EDT
18:20 EDT
Fact check: Travel restrictions

Trump took credit for “closing down the borders” to China, and then later to Europe. In fact, he placed restrictions on travel from China but did not totally close it down, as he has repeatedly claimed. Trump also touted his decision to restrict travel from Europe to the US, but the initial order included only 26 countries that are part of the Schengen Area. He later added Ireland the UK but the restrictions still excluded a number of European countries.

Updated at 18:20 EDT
18:18 EDT

Contradicting what he said just minutes ago, Trump is now denying that he’s saying the US will strop funding the WHO. “No I didn’t say it,” he said. “I said I’d look at it.

“They did give us some pretty bad play-calling,” Trump said of the WHO. “They’re taking a lot of heat.” Moreover, “social media” suggested to him that the organization was biased toward China, the president claimed.

Updated at 18:19 EDT
18:15 EDT

Trump said he had “no role” in Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly’s resignation. “I would not have asked him,” the president said. “He didn’t have to resign but he felt it would be better for the country.”

Modly resigned after leaked audio revealed he called the former commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge, in an address to the ship’s crew.

Captain Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, had sent a memo warning that coronavirus spreading among the crew. After the memo leaked, Modly fired Crozier.

Trump’s take? Crozier shouldn’t have written a letter, because “he’s not Ernest Hemingway”.

Updated at 18:15 EDT

18:07 EDT

Trump says US will stop sending money to WHO
The president announced that the US will stop sending money to the World Health Organization, even as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Finding a scapegoat, the president blamed the WHO for the crisis, noting that they “blew it”.

“They called it wrong. They called it wrong,” Trump said. “They missed the call. They could’ve called it months earlier.”

Trump repeatedly downplayed the crisis even after the WHO “called it” a pandemic.

Updated at 18:12 EDT
18:04 EDT
Fact check: Governors

Trump claimed that he’s getting along swimmingly with the nation’s governors. But that is a rosy read of the relationship.

For weeks, governors have pleaded with the administration to do more, walking a fine line as they criticize what the view is a chaotic federal response while also trying not to alienate the famously prickly president. “If they had started in February building ventilators, getting ready for this pandemic, we would not have the problems we are having today and, frankly, very many fewer people would die,” Illinois governor JB Pritzker, a Democrat, said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday

Context: Coronavirus and racial disparities

Addressing the impact of coronavirus on Black communities, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that “we’ve known literally forever that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma are disproportionately affecting minority populations, especially the African Americans.”

Those underlying conditions put people at greater risk for complications from coronavirus. “There’s nothing we can do about it right now,” Fauci said.

What the top health official didn’t get into were the reasons why people of color are at greater risk - which include a lack of access to health care, especially preventative care, and the “weathering” effect of facing racism. Federal officials could, of course, make it easier for people to access healthcare, right now. But the Trump administration has resisted reopening the public health exchanges to allow the uninsured to get health insurance.

Donald Trump said he knows “for a fact” that other countries have more coronavirus cases, but are reporting misleading or wrong numbers, without providing any evidence to back up the claim.

“When you look at some of these large countries, I know for a fact they have more cases than we do but they don’t report them,” Trump said

“There’s been great coordination, especially over the last little while” between the federal government and states, Trump said. But, he added, “if you have a governor that’s failing, we’re going to protect you.”

© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - the show -mendacity

Postby Meno_ » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:03 pm

The New York Times

President Trump at his daily briefing on Monday.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times


Drop the Curtain on the Trump Follies

Why does the nation need to be subjected to the president’s daily carnival of misinformation, preening and political venom?

April 7, 2020

Even as the Trump administration slowly finds its footing in the war against Covid-19, one high-profile element of its response remains stubbornly awful: President Trump’s performance in the daily news briefings on the pandemic.

Early on, Mr. Trump discovered that he could use the briefings to satisfy his need for everything to be all about him. As the death toll rises, that imperative has not changed. Most nights, he comes before an uneasy public, typically for an hour or more, to spew a thick fog of self-congratulation, political attacks, misinformation and nonsense.

Since Mr. Trump took office, a debate has raged among the news media about how to cover a man-child apparently untethered from reality. But with a lethal pandemic on the prowl, the president’s insistence on grabbing center stage and deceiving the public isn’t merely endangering the metaphorical health of the Republic. It is risking the health — and lives — of millions of Americans. A better leader would curb his baser instincts in the face of this crisis. Since Mr. Trump is not wired that way, it falls to the media to serve the public interest by no longer airing his briefings live.

For those who have managed to avoid these nightly spectacles, it is hard to convey their tragic absurdity. Mr. Trump typically starts by reading a somber statement that he seems to have never seen before. Next come remarks from other administration officials or corporate executives involved in the relief effort, generally laden with praise for the president’s peerless leadership. Vice President Mike Pence is particularly gifted at this.

After the testimonials comes the Q. and A., which is where the president lets his id off the leash. His constant goal seems to be to stress that he is in no way responsible for this nightmare — including any glitches in his administration’s response. All failures he assigns to past administrations, Democrats, governors, the media and so on.

Some of Mr. Trump’s misleading claims are fairy tales about his perfect response to this crisis. On March 15, he reassured the public that his administration had “tremendous control over” the virus. (No.) On March 17, he claimed to have “felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” (Really?)

Other fabrications are more specific. On April 1, he assured people that safeguards were in place for travelers. “They’re doing tests on airlines — very strong tests — for getting on, getting off. They’re doing tests on trains — getting on, getting off,” he said. (No.)

Testing is a particularly touchy issue. Mr. Trump has claimed that, starting out, his team was burdened by “old, obsolete” tests inherited from the Obama administration. (No.) In ducking a question about the United States’ rate of per capita testing, he asserted that Seoul, South Korea, has a population of 38 million. (Try less than 10 million.) He continues to deny reports of testing problems in hard-hit states.

At Monday’s briefing, two journalists asked about a new report by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services indicating that many hospitals were still grappling with testing delays. Mr. Trump first dismissed anyone with the job of inspector general. “Did I hear the word ‘inspector general’? Really?” Suggesting the report was politically motivated, he demanded to know the official’s name (Christi Grimm), when she had been appointed (this January) and how long she had served in government. When told she had served in the inspector general’s office since 1999, he erupted as if he’d uncovered a coup.

“You’re a third-rate reporter, and what you just said is a disgrace!” he ranted at Jonathan Karl of ABC News, pronouncing, “You will never make it!”

The closest the president came to addressing the original question was to assert that testing isn’t really his problem: “We’re the federal government! We’re not supposed to stand on street corners testing!”

He then lectured Fox News’s Kristin Fisher for being so negative. “You should say, ‘Congratulations! Great job!’ Instead of being so horrid in the way you ask the question!”

Such scoldings are a staple of the briefings, with Mr. Trump denouncing inquiries he dislikes as “gotcha,” “nasty,” “threatening” or “snarky.” He tells reporters they should be “ashamed” for not taking a more positive approach — as if they were on hand to flatter.

Public officials critical of the administration are mocked as ungrateful whiners with “insatiable appetites.” At one briefing, Mr. Trump said he’d told the vice president not to call Washington State’s Jay Inslee or “the woman in Michigan,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” he said. He has made sneering reference to one Republican-in-name-only malcontent (presumably Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan); called Senator Chuck Schumer of New York “a disgrace”; and accused Illinois’s governor, J.B. Pritzker, of “always complaining.” He has also repeatedly claimed that New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo “had a chance to get 16,000 ventilators a few years ago, and they turned it down.” (No.)

Critics of the president may be appalled to witness such behavior. But those inclined to trust him — and to view the media as illegitimate — may well wind up believing his spin.

Mr. Trump basically acknowledged as much on Monday. The public is “starting to find out” what an amazing job we’re doing, he bragged. “One of the reasons I do these news conferences, because, if I didn’t, they would believe Fake News. And we can’t let them believe Fake News.”

The president has a captive audience, and he has no intention of missing an opportunity to preen. On March 29, he boasted on Twitter about the terrific TV ratings his briefings were enjoying.

If the cameras were taken away, perhaps Mr. Trump would worry less about putting on a show. Better still, perhaps he would leave the briefings to the officials who have useful information to impart. The daily briefings should be covered — consistently, aggressively and accurately. But coverage is not the same as running a live, raw feed of Mr. Trump disgorging whatever he feels in the moment. The events could continue to air on a public service channel, such as C-SPAN, to alleviate concerns about censorship or transparency.

In using his platform to mislead the public, the president is not serving any interest but his own. In facilitating this farce, neither is the media

Opinion | Frank Bruni: Has Anyone Found Trump’s Soul? Anyone?

April 6, 2020

Ignoring Expert Opinion, Trump Again Promotes Use of Hydroxychloroquine

April 5, 2020

Opinion | Jennifer Senior: This Is What Happens When a Narcissist Runs a Crisis

April 8, 2020

© 2020 The New York Times Company

>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>> >>>

Coming dictatorship?


Oversight erased, Supreme Court hijacked: Trump turns the presidency into a dictatorship

Trump has stripped away the levers of independent oversight until there's nothing left. Our democracy is in the midst of a three-alarm fire.

When former Vice President Joe Biden entered the Democratic presidential race a year ago, he introduced the now familiar theme that the “soul of this nation” was at stake in the 2020 election. Judging by what we’ve seen from President Donald Trump over the past few days, Biden is right.

It began Friday night, when Trump informed Congress that he was firing MIchael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community’s inspector general. This was nothing more than a vile act of political retribution that had been months in the making. Atkinson fulfilled his legal responsibilities by informing Congress about a whistleblower complaint that exposed Trump’s impeachable crimes. What everyone else recognizes as following the letter of the law, the president views as cause for termination.

On Monday, Trump turned his attention to the inspector general who oversees the Department of Health and Human Services, who had just released a report revealing the extent to which hospitals were struggling to meet the health care demands associated with treating COVID-19 patients. The thorough review included interviews from 323 hospitals across 46 states and stood in stark contrast with the rhetoric coming from the president. Naturally, Trump labeled the report a “Fake Dossier” and suggested “politics” influenced it.

Irony is alive, oversight is dead

On Tuesday, the president removed Pentagon Inspector General Glenn Fine. He had just been designated to oversee the newly created Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a watchdog panel authorized by Congress to conduct oversight of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. The same day, Trump said he had seven IGs in his sights —  prompting Sen. Chris Murphy to announce he would draft a bill to “give all Inspectors General protected 7 year terms.”

The irony here is that Republicans once cautioned about this exact thing before Trump infected them and they abandoned every principle they once proclaimed to stand for. There was a time when oversight over massive government spending was the centerpiece of the Republican oversight agenda. My former boss and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa actually declared that “This money, at the American people’s expense, going through the hands of political leaders, in in fact corrupting the process.” He literally called the Obama administration “the most corrupt government in history.” Where are those Republicans now?

President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 8, 2020 .

In the course of three days, Trump fired an IG for telling the truth, attacked another for exposing the totality of a health care pandemic, and removed another in a brazen effort to avoid being held accountable for how trillions of taxpayer dollars will be allocated. The sum of these actions is nothing short of blatant corruption in plain sight. Free from the limitations of accountability, there is nothing stopping the president from turning the so-called “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act) into a $2 trillion personal slush fund.

Coronavirus hypocrisy: From masks to mail voting, Trump's special and we're not.

Trump feels empowered to obliterate the guardrails of checks and balances. Bit by bit, he has stripped away the levers of oversight until there's nothing left. It started by ignoring congressional subpoenas for his financial records. It continued as Trump refused to cooperate with the House impeachment investigation, stonewalling Congress’ attempts to hear witness testimony and conduct depositions with administration officials close to the president. And now he is leading a purge of the final remaining frontier of oversight — the inspectors general.

Supreme Court's dangerous path

For anyone hoping the Supreme Court will assert its role as the third branch of government, it has delayed hearing cases, including three lawsuits involving Trump’s tax returns and financial dealings. And yet, somehow, the Supreme Court managed to reverse a federal judge's order to extend absentee voting by a week in Wisconsin's primary on Tuesday. The result was that voters had to choose between their health and their civic duty.

The court’s refusal to move forward with cases that impact the president, coupled with its willingness to interfere with the Wisconsin election, foreshadows a very dangerous path as we look ahead to the November elections. In essence, the court’s conservative majority is just another political instrument for Trump to wield.

End of oversight: Trump's unfettered attacks on accountability are a life-and-death crisis for democracy

It may be hard to see the forest through the trees in this time of social distancing, but make no mistake about it, our democracy is in the midst of a three-alarm fire. The highest court in the land has effectively been hijacked — serving only the interests of Donald Trump. Congress is no longer a co-equal branch of government, a result of Trump’s toxic brand of obstruction.

By taking a wrecking ball to independent oversight, Trump has made the presidency into a dictatorship. At this point, the only recourse we will have left to save our democracy, repair the institutions of government, and restore accountability to the American people, is to vote in November to save “the soul of this nation.” That is, assuming Trump, the Republicans and the Supreme Court let us.

© Copyright Gannett 2020
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Re: Trump enters the stage - It's a shame & disgrace upon th

Postby Meno_ » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:12 am


Farmers Dump Milk, Break Eggs as Coronavirus Restaurant Closings Destroy Demand

Producers are throttling back as the virus erases sales to restaurants, hotels and cafeterias; ‘It was heart-wrenching’

Producers now have more milk than can be used. Dave Wolfskill of Mar-Anne Farms in Pennsylvania watched 5,500 gallons of milk go down the drain.PHOTO: BILL UHRICH/MEDIANEWS GROUP/GETTY IMAGES


April 9, 2020 9:42 am ET

It was still dark outside at four o’clock on a recent morning when a tanker truck poured 6,000 gallons of milk into a manure pit on Nancy Mueller’s Wisconsin dairy farm.

The milk, collected from Mueller Dairy Farm’s 1,000 cows, should have been hauled to dairy processors across the state for bottling or to be turned into cheese. But the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting all that, closing restaurants and schools that buy the nation’s dairy products—and forcing hard choices for farmers like Mrs. Mueller.


©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
All Rights Reserve

The Wall Street Journal

{No, it's not merely a shame, it is a sin!}
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Cuomo for President?

Postby Meno_ » Fri Apr 10, 2020 4:06 pm

Democrats want to drop Joe Biden for Andrew Cuomo, poll finds
By Steven Nelson

April 10, 2020 | 6:00am

A majority of Democrats want to nominate New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for president instead of Joe Biden, according to poll results shared exclusively with The Post.

The national poll found 56 percent of Democrats prefer Cuomo, with 44 percent wanting to stick with presumptive nominee Biden — a 12-point margin well outside the 4.8 percent margin of error for the Democratic sample.

Hispanic voters, young people, women and self-identified liberals are most likely to favor dumping the former vice president for Cuomo.

The poll, conducted April 3-6, was commissioned by the conservative pro-market Club for Growth, which generally supports Republican candidates.

Cuomo denied last month that he wanted to run for president, but some Democrats still are clamoring for an alternative to Biden, who faded from public view during the coronavirus outbreak, which elevated Cuomo in daily press conferences.

Club for Growth vice president of communications Joe Kildea told The Post that the results highlight Biden’s weakness as a candidate.

“With every major news event, Democrats realize more and more how bad of a candidate Joe Biden is, and Democrats now preferring Cuomo is just another example,” Kildea said.

The poll was conducted online among a representative sample of 1,000 people by WPAi, one of the top three polling firms used by Republicans.

Bryon Allen, chief research officer of WPAi, told The Post the firm uses commercial respondent panels matched to voter files. Poll sampling was done to be representative of different races, geographic locations, genders, educational levels and ages, he said.

Respondents were asked: “Based on what you know today, do you agree or disagree that Democrats should nominate Governor Andrew Cuomo for president instead of Joe Biden?”

There were 361 Democratic respondents, 349 Republican respondents and 262 independents.

Cuomo vs. Cuomo: Gov grilled by bro on possibility of White House run
Among people of any party — including independents — who voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, the percentage favoring Cuomo increased to 57 percent.

Of those who voted for President Trump in 2016, 53 percent wanted Democrats to keep Biden.

Cuomo was also backed by core Democratic constituencies. Among black voters — who helped Biden defeat Democratic primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders — 55 percent favored Cuomo, with just 45 percent wanting to keep Biden.

Among voters age 25 to 34 of any party, preference for Cuomo hit 67 percent. Fifty-seven percent of all women and 58 percent of Hispanic voters preferred Cuomo.

Among whites and people with college and graduate school degrees, there was a near-even split in preference.

The results build on the findings of a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted April 2-5, which found 46 percent of Democratic voters preferred Biden and 45 percent wanted Cuomo.

Poll results shared with The Post also rated approval or disapproval of how Biden and Cuomo are handling the coronavirus outbreak. For Cuomo, 54 percent of all respondents approved and 20 percent disapproved of his job. For Biden, 32 percent approved, 35 percent disapproved and 34 percent were unsure.

© 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights


Barr rebounds-retaliation:

Fox News


Published April 10, 2020

Last Update 8 hrs ago

AG William Barr on the Russia investigation: 'There's something far more troubling here'

By Victor Garcia | Fox New

The Russia investigation into President Trump's 2016 campaign was "one of the greatest travesties in American history," Attorney General William Barr said Thursday during an appearance on "The Ingraham Angle."

Barr said he has seen troubling signs from U.S. Attorney John Durham's ongoing probe into the origins of the two-year probe, which resulted in no allegations of wrongdoing against the president.

"My own view is that the evidence shows that we're not dealing with just the mistakes or sloppiness," Barr told host Laura Ingraham. "There was something far more troubling here. We're going to get to the bottom of it. And if people broke the law and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted."


Trump "has every right to be frustrated" by the investigation, Barr added.

"What happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history -- without any basis," Barr said. "They started this investigation of his campaign. And even more concerning, actually, is what happened after the campaign. A whole pattern of events while he was president ... to sabotage the presidency ... or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency."

Barr appointed Durham to review the events leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the origins of the Russia probe, through Trump’s Jan. 20, 2017, inauguration.

During Thursday's show Barr also addressed what he described as abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), saying he believed "safeguards" would "enable us to go forward with this important tool."

" I think it's very sad and the people who abused FISA have a lot to answer for," he said, "because this was an important tool to protect the American people.

"They abused it. They undercut public confidence in FISA but also the FBI is an institution and we have to rebuild that."

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz last year said the FBI made repeated errors and misrepresentations before the FISA Court in an effort to obtain the warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The court later found those warrants “lacked probable cause.”

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Re: Trump enters the stage - A star is born or die?

Postby Meno_ » Sat Apr 11, 2020 1:06 am

You only love twice: 007

Trump tweets about ratings for his coronavirus press briefings for the 3rd day in a row as US death toll surpasses 18,000 and unemployment nears 17 million

Apr 10, 2020, 4:23 PM


President Donald Trump reads from prepared remarks at the start of the daily coronavirus task force briefing as Vice President Mike Pence listens at the White House in Washington, DC, April 9, 2020. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President Donald Trump has repeatedly bragged about high TV ratings for his daily coronavirus press briefings.

Trump has tweeted about ratings three days in a row this week, suggesting they're proof that critics of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic are wrong.

As Trump focuses on ratings, the US surpassed 18,000 deaths from coronavirus as of Friday afternoon.

Almost 17 million Americans have also filed for unemployment in recent weeks as a consequence of the pandemic.

President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter three days in a row this week to boast about TV ratings for the daily coronavirus press briefings.

Meanwhile, nearly 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past few weeks, and the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the US surpassed 18,000 as of Friday afternoon.

The president has been broadly criticized over his handling of coronavirus. A CNN poll released earlier this week found a majority of Americans (55%) feel the government has done a poor job responding to the crisis, and 52% said they disapprove of the job Trump has done in handling the pandemic.

But Trump seemingly feels that the strong ratings for the press conferences, which have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, are proof that his critics are wrong — even as top Republicans express concern that the president's performances at the daily briefings are hurting him politically.

The president has also taken issue with major TV networks cutting away from the briefings or refusing to air them altogether, which is linked to Trump's tendency to spread false information.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted: "The Radical Left Democrats have gone absolutely crazy that I am doing daily Presidential News Conferences. They actually want me to STOP! They used to complain that I am not doing enough of them, now they complain that I 'shouldn't be allowed to do them.' They tried to shame the Fake News Media into not covering them, but that effort failed because the ratings are through the roof according to, of all sources, the Failing New York Times, 'Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale' type numbers (& sadly, they get it $FREE). Trump Derangement Syndrome!"

He followed up on this with another tweet on Thursday, going after the conservative-leaning Wall Street Journal after the paper's editorial board excoriated Trump over his behavior at the daily briefings in an editorial.

The president tweeted: "The Wall Street Journal always 'forgets' to mention that the ratings for the White House Press Briefings are 'through the roof' (Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale, according to @nytimes) & is only way for me to escape the Fake News & get my views across. WSJ is Fake News!"

Though Trump slammed the Journal over the editorial rebuking his press briefings, the president was praising the paper on Twitter as recently as late January.

And on Friday Trump tweeted: "Because the T.V. Ratings for the White House News Conference's are the highest, the Opposition Party (Lamestream Media), the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats &, of course, the few remaining RINO'S, are doing everything in their power to disparage & end them. The People's Voice!"

By "RINOS" Trump was referring to people who are "Republican in Name Only." But some of Trump's closest GOP allies in Congress, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, have even been critical of how he's approached the briefings. Graham this week told The New York Times that Trump "sometimes drowns out his own message."

Trump has essentially used the daily press conferences as a substitute for campaign rallies, which can't safely take place because of the coronavirus. At nearly every briefing, Trump has berated reporters for asking questions regarding the ongoing shortages in testing for coronavirus, as well as nationwide concerns over the lack of vital medical supplies. The president has also gone after governors who've criticized or questioned his handling of the crisis.

Republicans, among others, have urged Trump to take a step back and let experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci lead the daily briefings. Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, of West Virginia, for example, told The Times the president should "let the health professionals guide where we're going to go," saying that the briefings have gone "off the rails a little bit."

But the ratings-obsessed president appears unlikely to follow this advice.


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Re: Trump enters the stage - political schizophrenia

Postby Meno_ » Sat Apr 11, 2020 10:21 pm

pleading with him to reopen the country as soon as possible, while medical experts beg for more time to curb the coronavirus.

Tens of thousands more people could die. Millions more could lose their jobs. And his handling of the crisis appears to be hurting his political support in the run-up to November’s election. Yet the decision on when and how to reopen is not entirely his. The stay-at-home edicts keeping most Americans indoors were issued by governors state by state

From New York Times .

{ The same type of failure of a neo-Kantian conflict may have larger implications here, that became the seat knoll of the previous national socialism, and the next follow up: the material dialectic}

&&&&&&& sooo. &&&&&&& sooo?

Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which he once dismissed as a hoax, has been fiercely criticised at home as woefully inadequate to the point of irresponsibility.

Yet also thanks largely to Trump, a parallel disaster is unfolding across the world: the ruination of America’s reputation as a safe, trustworthy, competent international leader and partner.

Call it the Trump double-whammy. Diplomatically speaking, the US is on life support.

“The Trump administration’s self-centred, haphazard, and tone-deaf response [to Covid-19] will end up costing Americans trillions of dollars and thousands of otherwise preventable deaths,” wrote Stephen Walt, professor of international relations at Harvard.

“But that’s not the only damage the United States will suffer. Far from ‘making America great again’, this epic policy failure will further tarnish [its] reputation as a country that knows how to do things effectively.”

This adverse shift could be permanent, Walt warned. Since taking office in 2017, Trump has insulted America’s friends, undermined multilateral alliances and chosen confrontation over cooperation. Sanctions, embargoes and boycotts aimed at China, Iran and Europe have been globally divisive.

Angela Merkel and Donald Trump at a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in March 2017. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

For the most part, oft-maligned foreign leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel have listened politely, turning the other cheek in the interests of preserving the broader relationship.

But Trump’s ineptitude and dishonesty in handling the pandemic, which has left foreign observers as well as Americans gasping in disbelief, is proving a bridge too far.

Erratic behaviour, tolerated in the past, is now seen as downright dangerous. It’s long been plain, at least to many in Europe, that Trump could not be trusted. Now he is seen as a threat. It is not just about failed leadership. It’s about openly hostile, reckless actions.

The furious reaction in Germany after 200,000 protective masks destined for Berlin mysteriously went missing in Thailand and were allegedly redirected to the US is a case in point. There is no solid proof Trump approved the heist. But it’s the sort of thing he would do – or so people believe.

“We consider this to be an act of modern piracy. This is no way to treat transatlantic partners. Even in times of global crisis, we shouldn’t resort to the tactics of the wild west,” said Andreas Geisel, a leading Berlin politician. Significantly, Merkel has refused to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.

Europeans were already outraged by Trump’s reported efforts to acquire monopoly rights to a coronavirus vaccine under development in Germany. This latest example of nationalistic self-interest compounded anger across the EU over Trump’s travel ban, imposed last month without consultation or scientific justification.

US reputational damage is not confined to Europe. There was dismay among the G7 countries that a joint statement on tackling the pandemic could not be agreed because Trump insisted on calling it the “Wuhan virus” – his crude way of pinning sole blame on China.

Melania Trump kisses Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, at the G7 summit in Biarritz last August. Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters

International action has also been hampered at the UN security council by US objections over terminology.

Trump has ignored impassioned calls to create a Covid-19 global taskforce or coalition. He appears oblivious to the catastrophe bearing down on millions of people in the developing world.

“Trump’s battle against multilateralism has made it so that even formats like the G7 are no longer working,” commented Christoph Schult in Der Spiegel. “It appears the coronavirus is destroying the last vestiges of a world order.”

Trump’s surreal televised Covid-19 briefings are further undermining respect for US leadership. Trump regularly propagates false or misleading information, bets on hunches, argues with reporters and contradicts scientific and medical experts.

While publicly rejecting foreign help, Trump has privately asked European and Asian allies for aid – even those, such as South Korea, that he previously berated. And he continues to smear the World Health Organization in a transparent quest for scapegoats.

Politicising Covid-19 like playing with fire, WHO director general says after Trump attack – video

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So bad !!!

Zzzzz. Zzz zzz. Zzz zzz. Zzz zzz

Blame game again predictable viral political gestures going nowhere fast:

Trump retweets post calling for firing of Dr. Anthony Fauc

President Trump on Sunday night retweeted a post that called for the ousting of Dr. Anthony Fauci after the infectious disease specialist appeared on CNN.

The tweet from DeAnna Lorraine, a former GOP candidate for Congress, included the hashtag #FireFauci and referred to Fauci’s concession that more lives could have been saved if the US had acted sooner to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape,” Trump wrote, insisting his travel ban was the action needed to stem the virus. “I banned China long before people spoke up.”

Earlier on Sunday, Fauci appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and he acknowledged the country “could’ve saved lives” if we had started mitigation efforts earlier.

“You know, Jake, as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint,” Fauci told host Jake Tapper.

“We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it’s not. But we — it is what it is. We are where we are right now.”

Lorraine’s tweet was critical of Fauci’s cable news appearance and used the hashtag #FireFauci to encourage Trump’s fanbase to add the medical expert to the president’s list of perceived enemies.

“Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives,” wrote Lorraine.

“Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US public at large,” she continued. “Time to #FireFauci.”

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Re: Trump enters the stage - International standing

Postby Meno_ » Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:00 am

Economy & Politics

Opinion: Trump is odd man out as approval ratings soar for world leaders’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic

Published: Apr 14, 2020 1:58 pm ET

Heads of state are getting strong support by their citizens. Trump, on the other hand, is being panned for his lack of leadership

President Trump

History reveals patterns. During a crisis, Americans typically rally around the flag — and their president. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, George H.W. Bush’s approval soared 30 percentage points in six weeks to 89%. His son’s rocketed 40 points — in 10 days to 90% — following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Numbers like these — clearly bipartisan and nearly unanimous — tell us that while Americans are always hungry for leadership, that hunger is never so great as when it counts most: When lives are on the line, when there has been a shock to the system, when we are scared and need reassurance that all will be OK.

Yet such approval has eluded President Trump. Two poll of polls — Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight — show his overall approval at 45.2% and 44.3%, respectively, right about where they were before the you-know-what hit the fan earlier this year.

To the president and his supporters, such disagreeable data — data that don’t support their chosen narrative — can be dismissed as “fake news” or the product of the “corrupt media.”

And yet there is one poll that the president himself has always called fair and accurate, one poll that has always treated him well: Rasmussen. What does it show?

On Feb. 27, U.S. stock indexes SPX+3.06%  were just days off all-time highs, and the first coronavirus death in this country had yet to occur. Rasmussen’s daily “Trump Approval Index” showed the president’s total approval at 52% and total disapproval at 47%.

As of Monday (April 13), however, Trump’s approval has slid nine points to 43%, while his disapproval has jumped nine points to 56%. That’s an 18-point swing against the president in about six weeks.

Again, this is the one poll that Trump has always heaped praise on for being fair and accurate. He’s certainly entitled to now label it as “biased” and “fake,” as he does the others (he has yet to do so), yet even a president as delusional as this one should be able to understand that when 16 million people are thrown out of work, a savage bear market wipes out the gains of his entire presidency and a terrifying virus sweeps across the land, that citizens just might be a little peeved.

And yet, how to explain why the very same crisis — a pandemic, bear market and deep economic troubles — has resulted in sharply higher ratings for other world leaders?

Approvals rise abroad

In Italy, ravaged by coronavirus, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s approval has rallied from 46% to 71%, according to local polling.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has won raves for her quick and focused response to the pandemic, has seen her approval (which was high to begin with) jump 11 more points to 79%.

And French President Emmanuel Macron has seen a 15-point jump to 51%. Believe me, in France, where citizens grumble about as much as Americans do, that’s high.

Beyond those leaders, I suspect that the president is especially irritated that Andrew Cuomo is soaring. The New York governor — a Democrat who has been front-and-center for weeks now, micromanaging the pandemic that has hit Gotham harder than anywhere else — saw his approval jump 27 points to 71%, with 87% saying they approve of his handling of the crisis.

Why has a similar rise in the polls eluded Trump? You can’t blame the hyper-polarized electorate, given the huge jump George W. Bush, who like Trump, also won the presidency despite losing the popular vote in a deeply divided election.

Failure to take responsibility

Clearly, the reason lies almost exclusively with Trump himself. Unlike the above-mentioned leaders, the president has very publicly insisted that he’s not responsible for anything that has gone wrong, and has said the blame lies elsewhere. The governors, the media, Dr. Anthony Fauci — anyone other than the person he sees in the mirror every morning.

Read Rex Nutting: Trump is wrong about who’s in charge — the coronavirus is still calling the shots

This is not how responsible leaders act in perilous times. We all remember George W. Bush standing amid the rubble of Ground Zero with his bullhorn. We remember his father, as Operation Desert Storm began in 1991, speaking humbly about the responsibility of sending Americans into harms way. We remember John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt and others, speaking firmly and with conviction during the Cuban Missile Crisis, after Pearl Harbor and during the depths of the Great Depression. Trump has never shown the ability to walk in their shoes.

Sadly, his thin-skinned, don’t-blame-me behavior cuts against the grain of the very image he tried to project as a private citizen and CEO:

That 2013 tweet — three years to the day before he was elected — was correct. Leaders accept responsibility. “The Buck Stops Here,” as the sign Harry Truman famously kept on his desk proclaimed.

With Trump, when the news is bad, it stops elsewhere, always elsewhere.


America should be ready for 18 months of shutdowns in ‘long, hard road’ ahead, warns the Fed’s Neel Kashkari

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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby phyllo » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:29 am

Trump halts World Health Organization funding.

President Trump, who has been under criticism for his handling of the response to the coronavirus and has seen his poll numbers drop, on Tuesday blamed the World Health Organization for what he called its failures in the crisis and said he planned to halt American funding of the organization. ... e=Homepage

The search for scapegoats begins in earnest.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - The rising dictator

Postby Meno_ » Thu Apr 16, 2020 3:40 pm

{ Another earnest unprecedented affront against democracy as we know it: who needs scapegoats if one attains near absolute power ?

Trump threatens to invoke constitutional power to adjourn Congress because of hold-up over nominees

President Donald Trump turned a coronavirus White House briefing into a defense of his response actions to the deadly pandemic and confronted media.


WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to invoke his constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress in order to confirm nominations to his administration he said are needed to deal with the coronavirus crisis. 

"The Senate should either fulfill its duty and vote on my nominees or it should formally adjourn so that I can make recess appointments," Trump said during a Rose Garden press conference. "If the House will not agree to that adjournment I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers." 

According to Article II, Section 3, a president may, "on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper."

The Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House would have to disagree on when to adjourn in order for Trump to intervene.

Trump's ire seems to be directed at the Senate, which has the power to confirm appointments.

The Senate, which is not due back in Washington until May 4, has been holding pro forma sessions, in which the upper chamber convenes briefly. Trump called on the Senate to stop holding these sessions or formally adjourn so he can make recess appointments, which he said are crucial to his administration's response to the spread of COVID-19.

He called the extended recess during the coronavirus pandemic "a dereliction of duty."

"The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony pro-forma sessions is a dereliction of duty that the American people cannot afford during this crisis," he continued. "It's a scam and everybody knows it, and it's been that way for a long time."

If the Senate is in recess, the president could then appoint some officials who would otherwise require Senate confirmation, which is why the upper chamber holds "pro forma" sessions in order to block the president from making recess appointments. 

The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that then-President Barack Obama's recess appointments made in 2012 were invalid because he made them while the Senate was holding pro-forma sessions.

Trump acknowledged such an action would get a legal challenge.

"If they don't approve it, we will go this route. And we'll probably be challenged in court and we'll see who wins," he said.

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke with the president to discuss Senate Democrats’ unprecedented obstruction of the president’s well-qualified nominees and shared his continued frustration with the process," a spokesman for the Kentucky Republican said. "The Leader pledged to find ways to confirm nominees considered mission-critical to the COVID-19 pandemic, but under Senate rules that will take consent from Leader Schumer.”

Jonathan Turley, a constitutional lawyer who argued against Trump's impeachment last year, said the power has never been used before "and should not be used now." 

"Senators of both parties should vote to support the congressional control over adjournment. Absent a 'disagreement' there is no presidential power to adjourn under Article II. A pandemic should not be an invitation for pandemonium," he tweeted.

Barb McQuade, a former federal prosecutor and University of Michigan law professor, questioned whether Trump really has the power to dismiss Congress.

“No and no. Trump has no authority over a separate and co-equal branch of government. It is odd that he keeps boasting of authority he lacks, while rejecting responsibility he has," she said.

During the press conference, the president railed against Democrats for holding up long-pending appointments, including the undersecretary of agriculture who is responsible for food security programs, two members of the Federal Reserve Board and the director of national intelligence. 

"Perhaps it’s never been done before, nobody’s even sure if it has," he said. "But we’re going to do it. We need these people here. We need people for this crisis, and we don’t want to play any more political games."

When asked about states' rights to decide when to reopen schools and businesses, Trump said, "The president of the United States calls the shots."


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