Donald Trump is going to need to figure out his coronavirus response if he wants to have a chance of defeating former Vice President Joe Biden in November. But figuring out his coronavirus response has two parts, and Team Trump only seems interested in the less important one.
When it comes to the pandemic, there’s the actual response—how does the government act to keep the disease from spreading and to provide economic relief? Trump isn’t interested in that and his advisers don’t seem to be pushing it. Instead, they’re all about the political response. Trump’s advisers, The Washington Post reports, “are seeking ways to reframe his response to the coronavirus—even as the president himself largely seeks to avoid the topic because he views it as a political loser.” They’re not looking to change anything about the COVID-19 response that has left the U.S. as the global epicenter of the virus. Just looking to reframe the response. And Trump isn’t even interested in doing that. The thing dominating life in the U.S. right now isn’t a political winner, so he just doesn’t want to talk about it.
“White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day, according to three people familiar with the White House’s thinking, who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations.” Grow numb. To life being defined by a serious sickness. Team Trump expects us to “live with the virus being a threat,” as a senior administration official told the Post.
“Live with the virus being a threat.” That’s not a slip of the tongue. “They’re of the belief that people will get over it or if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day,” according to “a former administration official in touch with the campaign.”
This is surrender. It is negligence as policy. No, it is failure as policy. And it is a wish that we surrender for the sake of Trump’s political future.
Part of the plan is denial. Pretending that the thing that is happening is not happening.
Part of the plan is to scam us into believing a vaccine will arrive in time to make just enough people want to vote for Trump in November. At this point, Trump is so blatantly hanging his hopes on a vaccine that if one did get FDA approval before November 3, we’d have to be very seriously worried about how the approval process had been compromised by politics and how that affected the safety of the vaccine.
By contrast, Biden has a plan for a science-based response that protects workers.