Trump cultists are 'catering to the political needs and demands of the leader' as coronavirus spreads: op-ed
President Donald Trump (screen grab)

Writing in the Washington Post this Monday, Greg Sargent mentioned the fact that President Trump is now walking back his hope to reopen the U.S. economy by Easter, instead extending social distancing guidelines to April 30 --  a testament to the fact that Trump's "magical reality-bending powers" can only go so far.

According to Sargent, the development suggests we need a "deep reset in the language we’re using to describe the extraordinary dereliction of leadership we’re seeing from Trump, and from those officials around the country who have followed his lead."

Media figures describe the discrepancy between the White House statements on coronavirus and the facts on the ground as being rooted in "tribalism" or "polarization," but Sargent say this kind of language is insufficient when it comes to describing Trump's daily "depravities and degradations."

"When one set of officials shapes its response to a public health emergency around facts, data, public health expertise and science, and another set — with many exceptions, to be sure — relentlessly downplays that emergency, largely because Trump has demanded this for nakedly self-interested political reasons, words like “tribalism” or “partisanship” risk obscuring more than they clarify," he writes.

When it comes to health officials taking the pandemic seriously and Trump supporters downplaying the threat, the gulf in realities on not simply due to "partisanship," Sargent contends.

"One side is prioritizing science and the imperative of erring on the side of caution to protect as many American lives as possible. The other is actively submerging both of those to a kind of cultish devotion to the perceived political needs and demands of the leader."

Read his full op-ed over at The Washington Post.