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Trump paralyzed by fear of his own base: ‘He’s not strong enough’ to risk their ‘full support’

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President Donald Trump won the White House in part by promising to take bold actions.

But aides to the president have told the New York Times that he has repeatedly backed off new plans on issues ranging from gun background checks to bans on vaping because he fears angering his supporters.

“In discussions with his staff, Mr. Trump has made clear he wants to accomplish something big, but seems stymied as to what it might be, according to interviews with a half-dozen aides and advisers,” the Times reports. “In the meantime, he has remained on the sidelines as divisive issues are debated and is treading water even on possible staff changes he wants to make, for fear of how things ‘play.'”

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The most notorious example from this came earlier in the week when Attorney General Bill Barr went to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers on proposed new background checks for gun purchases. Once the Barr proposal leaked and the National Rifle Association condemned it, White House aides scrambled to tell people that the president hadn’t committed to anything yet.

Peter Ambler, the executive director of pro-gun regulation organization Giffords, tells the Times that the president appears weak with his vacillations on policy matters.

“He’s not strong enough to forge any sort of compromise that would get anything less than full support from his base,” he said. “He does not have that degree of political power or savvy, and that’s why he ends up in a perpetual ‘Infrastructure Week.'”


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Donald Trumps needs a coronavirus scapegoat — and right now it’s China

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"If we are at war, who is the enemy?" asks Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for The Washington Post in a smart piece that examines the question of who constitutes a target for a self-declared "wartime president."

While it is obvious that the enemy, in this case, is a tiny, sticky, invisible microbe that stubbornly gloms onto surfaces or leaps through the air to weaponize subway cars or shared gym equipment or a touch to the face.

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Some Trump supporters ‘delight’ in defying pandemic protocols to stick it to liberals: report

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A new report from The Atlantic's McKay Coppins reveals that some conservative Trump supporters are intentionally defying recommended social distancing protocols as a way to stick it to their political foes.

In his article, Coppins interviews Georgia resident Geoff Frost, who says that older conservatives who play at his local country club have made a habit of blowing off recommendations against shaking hands and sharing golf carts during the worst public health crisis the United States has faced in decades.

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Alternet 2020

Pandemic modelers warn that Trump’s lies may increase the spread of COVID-19

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Epidemiologists model how an infectious disease outbreak may spread within and between communities. The computer models are based on research into past epidemics, the virulence of a pathogen,the  severity of the illness it causes and various other factors. But these scientists assume that leaders will offer a coherent response to the crisis, and that people will modify their behavior appropriately. Trump, the conservative press and the Republican base are upending those assumptions.

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