But one sentence in particular is particularly overwhelming for this president. It’s here:
“Proceeding as he did following his removal from office in the House and in the midst of his Senate trial, Mr. Trump’s response was colored by his suspicion and disdain for what he considered to be the ‘”Deep State” – the very people of his government, whose expertise and long experience could have guided him more quickly to measures that could slow the virus down and save lives. ”
Thus, according to the Times, the President of the United States was hesitant to listen to expert advice on infectious diseases and pandemics because of his suspicion that much of the federal bureaucracy was tantamount to a “deep state” working against him. This is something difficult – especially when you look at the 22,000+ lives lost in the United States and the more than half a million people who have been infected with the virus.
The idea of some sort of large-scale bureaucratic effort to bring down Trump was born from conservative discussion forums on sites like Reddit – influenced by the conspiracy theories launched by the QAnon movement on 4Chan and 8Chan – at the beginning of Trump’s term. The types of conservative media – led by people like Sean Hannity of Fox – carried the idea into the mainstream of conservative thought.
“I am fighting against false (corrupt) news, the deep state, the Democrats and the few name-only Republicans (RINOS, who do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation), with the help of really big Republicans and other. We win big (150th federal judge this week)! ”
What exactly was Trump’s evidence of a broad and deep conspiracy within the federal bureaucracy trying to destroy him? He seemed to see everything that had happened (or not) as evidence – from the investigation into the use of Hillary Clinton’s email to the investigation by the Department of Justice into Russian interference in the elections. 2016 – of this great conspiracy.
The problem for Trump is that the independent investigators concluded that there was simply not much in these cases.
Yes, former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were sending texts before the 2016 election that clearly expressed their disgust for Trump. But, according to a report by the Inspector General of the Ministry of Justice, neither Page nor Strzok had any impact on the investigation into Russian interference in the elections, nor any evidence of political bias in the measures they took as part of the investigation.
And yes, Hillary Clinton should not have used a private email address and server to conduct official business when she was secretary of state. But a State Department review of Clinton’s actions in October 2019 concluded that “there was no convincing evidence of deliberate systemic mismanagement of classified information.”
Then there was the case of Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI, who had to face an almost two-year investigation by the Department of Justice to find out if he had lied to investigators about from conversations he had had with journalists. (McCabe is now a CNN contributor.)
In tweets and public statements, Trump has repeatedly accused McCabe of being in the middle of a “deep state” plot against him. The day McCabe was fired, Trump tweeted this:
“Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard-working men and women of the FBI – A great day for democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe an altar boy. He knew all about the lies and corruption that plagued the highest levels of the FBI! ”
But on February 14, the Justice Department announced that it would not pursue the charges against McCabe, completely dropping the case.
The truth is then that there is no real evidence of the existence of a “deep state”, at least according to the justice and state services of the Trump administration.
Yet the President of the United States is so convinced that there are many government officials to convince him that he was reluctant to listen to longtime government experts who told him that the coronavirus was not only something that could be ignored or tweeted one way. That this virus was not just the flu – and had the potential to cause catastrophic damage to our American way of life.
This kind of self-created blind spot is not something you can have as president. Because when you do, it has real implications for people’s lives.