According to Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, Donald Trump's attempts to re-open the economy in an attempt to salvage his re-election hopes took a major hit with the Friday announcement that the COVID-19 virus has now invaded the White House and infected several staffers.
Under the headline, "Trump's latest effort to gaslight America is falling apart, " Sargent suggested news of the coronavirus infecting upper-level aides is "devastating " to the president's happy talk that the pandemic is being brought under control and the country can get back to business as usual.
"How will Trump persuade the country we are returning to a normalcy that makes it safe to resume economic activities when his own advisers are panicked about its invasion of their own spaces, even as they can protect themselves in a way we cannot?" Sargent wrote. "The problem isn’t just that this story is revealing that Trump and his advisers benefit from testing and tracing that the rest of us mostly do not enjoy, though that’s damning enough. It’s also that this shatters the larger illusion Trump is trying to weave with his magical reality-bending powers — that the coronavirus has been so tamed by his stupendous leadership that it’s now safe to reopen the country, setting the stage for an equally spectacular Trump-marshaled comeback."
With an eye on the November elections, Trump and the Republican Party are banking on decreasing COVID-19 infections as soon as possible allowing the economy to make a quantum leap to normalcy that will help their election prospects.
As it stands now, according to a Sunday report in the Washington Post, GOP lawmakers, as well as consultants, are dreading the November election over fears they may lose both the White House and control of the Senate.
However, as the Washington Post columnist points out, senior Republicans are conceding that the time to re-open America is not at hand despite the president's insistence.
'Indeed, even Republicans such as Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) concede we can’t reopen the country safely without testing dramatically scaled up from what we have now. Trump’s own officials have urged him in vain to lead by launching an ambitious national testing effort to facilitate this reopening," Sargent wrote, adding that the president appeared to be trying to distract voters from the bad news by going on a Twitter frenzy over the weekend.
"Over the weekend, Trump unleashed a frantic barrage of messaging that everything is going spectacularly well. Trump claimed it’s “great to see our Country starting to open again” (while corruptly promoting one of his golf courses) and hailed his own “great” handling of the pandemic (nearly 80,000 are dead)," he wrote. "Meanwhile, Trump is using the White House’s image-making power to push a message of normalcy."
"We all know this push is mostly about helping Trump get reelected. But it’s even more despicable when you consider that they are trying to shame Americans into doing this without the protective gear that Trump and his top aides enjoy," he explained before warning, "The next step in this epic gaslighting campaign, Axios reports, will be for Trump to begin questioning the death totals, something he’s already done privately. Indeed, as Jonathan Chait notes, some Fox News segments are already pushing this line, so it’s only a matter of time until Trump goes “full death denier.”
"It will also make the larger illusion he continues trying to weave a lot harder to sustain. Indeed, that illusion is quite literally collapsing all around him," he concluded.
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