On Saturday, writing for The Daily Beast, columnist Molly Jong-Fast noted one of the key reasons why President Donald Trump’s administration is failing to spin the coronavirus disaster in his favor.
“For the first time ever, though, Team Trump is very confused about which lie to tell,” wrote Jong-Fast. “Historically, the Trump administration and Fox News have been meticulous messengers, able to turn almost everything into a way to ‘own the libs.’ But COVID-19 is providing Trump very few opportunities for lib ownership.”
She continued: “Previously, before we hit the crisis stage, we got weeks of obfuscation, and the president’s conviction that ‘it’s going away. We want it to go away with very, very few deaths.’ Now, Trumpists are trying to grapple with the possibility that the global pandemic may in fact be real. As COVID-19 has decimated Italy, killed thousands of Chinese nationals, and spread like a brush fire through at least 47 states, it’s becoming harder and harder for Trumpists to deny the truth.”
“But because they’re Trumpists, they are still trying desperately to stick to the party line. The problem is they’re not completely sure what that party line is,” continued Jong-Fast. “The Trumpists’ messaging has become completely inconsistent, vacillating between Laura Ingraham’s conviction that COVID-19 is a way for Democrats to ‘to smear the administration in a number of ways,’ and Newt Gingrich saying that it was ‘the Wuhan that poisoned the world. That’s what you get when you get Chinese trade.’ Trumpists seem completely conflicted between their love of racism and their passion for denial of obvious facts. How can Trumpists learn to message a pandemic they’ve been saying isn’t real for weeks?”
“As the conservative media finds itself stuck between embracing the pandemic as a way to blame China for something and saying Democrats are overreacting in the hopes of making Trump look bad, it’s important to remember that people actually believe these talking points, and a lot of the people who believe these talking points are in the age group for which COVID-19 is the most fatal (the death rate for people over the age of 60 is more than 4.5 percent, and it rises sharply with every decade),” added Jong-Fast.
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