GOP’s ‘War on Science’ hurting government’s response to coronavirus: report
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix, photo by Gage Skidmore.

In an op-ed for New York Magazine's Intelligencer this Monday, Janathan Chait warns that the "threat of recidivism" hangs over Donald Trump's presidency in the wake of his late shift to a more serious tone in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

"At any moment, the wrong CEO or Fox News personality might get Trump’s ear and persuade him to toggle back to insouciance," Chait writes.

Trump's downplaying of the virus was compounded Republican governors in several states who echoed his dismissals. Explaining this, Chait cites a recent study that suggests the speed of state-level reaction depends on its governor’s partisan identity.

“States with Republican governors and Republican electorates delayed each social distancing measure by an average of 2.70 days a far larger effect than any other factor, including state income per capita, the percentage of neighboring states with mandates, or even confirmed cases in state," the study found.

According to Chait, there is more to the government's "laggard" response to coronavirus than Trump's shortcomings. "...Trump’s coronavirus response combines his idiosyncratic personality disorders with ingrained pathologies of the conservative movement."

"The skepticism has run up and down the food chain of right-wing discourse. The National Enquirer has hawked fake coronavirus cures," Chait writes. "The Federalist published a column by a retired dermatologist urging readers to hold coronavirus parties to contract the disease intentionally, because it worked on chicken pox."

Read his full op-ed over at Intelligencer.