MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace called out President Donald Trump for embracing a right-wing doctor trying to invent his own science to justify the comments of the White House and the Trump campaign.
In a New York Times expose, Dr. Scott W. Atlas was outed for making up his own science on masks, claiming that there is no proof that they can block the coronavirus. It's a point that has been disproven by visualizations of air. He also is the one behind the idea that children couldn't get COVID-19 or pass it on to parents, grandparents, teachers, administrators, and others. That was disproven by the 97,000 young people who have contracted the virus.
"I guess my question is, it seems like even Donald Trump knows that this guy is a wackadoo and just likes setting up the gladiator dynamic," Wallace said. "Because if he wanted to go with the full wackadoo, he has the right to get rid of Dr. Birx. He can fire -- I guess he can't fire Tony Fauci, but it would seem that what he's setting up is conflict and chaos and confusion. Because at some level, he thinks that in that fog, he benefits."
John Heilemann agreed, noting that both are characteristics of President Donald Trump.
"One is the one that you just pointed to: he has done this throughout his career," said Heilemann. "And there are bosses in the world that you probably at least know of some or if not have worked for some that think that this gladiatorial combat internally is somehow -- that survival of the fittest, Lord of the Flies quality -- is a quality they -- like their underlings compete for their praise. They like to see the backstabbing, all that Byzantine kind of courtship. He likes that. And he's done it in every aspect of his management of the White House throughout. He likes to have people kind of fighting with each other. And I think partly, it's -- he sees it as them fighting for his affection, which flatters them, and he thrives in chaos. It's not surprising that his White House should reflect the kind of chaos that he thrives in politically in the outside world."
He noted that Trump thrives on it, because "Trump is an idiot, but he's not an idiot," in the way that he knows it's crazy to hate Dr. Anthony Fauci for having a higher approval rating (67 percent), but it's like he can't stop himself.
"[Trump] knows what kind of cost it would exact on him politically," Heilemann continued. "He hears from enough people in his political inner circle who say, 'You know, your approval on coronavirus is devastatingly bad. It is the thing that if you lose is probably going to be the main number that is going to spell your defeat.'"
And if he fires Fauci, he'll fall even lower.