President Donald Trump's aides say he's "impervious to reason" as they try to steer him through the coronavirus crisis.
It took weeks to make Trump understand the gravity of the situation, but administration officials said the president remains difficult to reach with science-based evidence, reported the Financial Times.
"[It's like] bringing fruits to the volcano," said one administration official. “You’re trying to appease a great force that’s impervious to reason."
Trump purposefully avoided proactive steps for dealing with the pandemic, according to Financial Times, because he had been persuaded by son-in-law Jared Kushner that those actions might hurt the economy.
“Jared [Kushner] had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it,” said one Trump confidant who speaks frequently with the president. “That advice worked far more powerfully on him than what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always exaggerate.”
Trump was also persuaded by Fox News personalities to promote hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment, despite conflicting scientific evidence, and pushed out vaccine scientist Rick Bright for blocking efforts to promote the unproven drug.
“People turn into wusses around Trump," said one former senior Trump official. "If you stand up to him, you’ll never get back in. What you see in public is what you get in private. He is exactly the same.”