On Monday, Trump declared he had absolute power. Absolute. On Tuesday he announced he would shut down Congress. And by Wednesday Trump informed governors that states which failed to open up according to his “powerful” reopening plan would face punishment.
Then, on Thursday, Trump produced his plan. Which is honestly aspirational. In that it aspires to be a plan. Because what Trump put out instead was a series of “nice to haves” that show the nation rolling back social distancing guidelines and getting back to business. Only it lacks the part where it explains how that happens. The … plan part.
Each of the three phases of Trump’s grand reopening seem fairly reasonable when looked at on the basis of the very bare, very brief information provided. The phases call for a gradual reopening of businesses, moving step-by-step from calling some employees back while maintaining social distancing in the work place. By the end of phrase three in the unspecified timeline, movie theaters are reopened, restaurants are doing business as normal, and everyone except those most “vulnerable” to the coronavirus are pretty much living in before-world.
Which sounds enticing. Except that those phases included none of the “how” things are done. It also ignores that the “vulnerable” in the list provided with the documents includes the obese, which is 39% of the adult population of the U.S. It also includes those over 65, which is 16% of the population. So life goes back to almost normal for the thin and young.
But to power this not-a-plan, what’s required is a massive program of nationwide testing, case tracking, isolation, quarantine, and outcome management, and when it came to that what Trump provided was … nothing. Instead, as The Washington Post reports, making any of that happen is up to governors. Despite a Wall Street pleasing show of shaking hands with corporate CEOs who promised to plant testing facilities outside their stores, it turns out that Trump has no interest, or ability, to run a nationwide testing program.
So, just as with the nation’s social distancing guidelines, what is going to result is a hodgepodge of local and state testing operations managed by disconnected agencies, with varying degrees of accuracy, differing means of data recording and reporting, and no clear guidelines on how any of the results relate to moving through the poorly defined phases of the reopening.
Unsurprisingly, what Trump actually provided was more of a campaign platform than a plan for the nation. Going forward, Trump can always talk about how “my plan calls for...” (insert something great here) while those pitiful governors are just not getting it done. So vote out those governors and replace them with someone who will deliver Trump’s plan! And just because Trump backed off his threats to punish states that weren’t following his cues on Thursday, doesn’t mean the threats won’t be back on Friday.
Finally, to back all this up, Trump provided misleading statistics to make things look rosier than they really are. Which led to the spectacle of Trump and Pence talking about how things were going great following the two worst days of American deaths … so far.