The Nevada event – its second statewide gathering in as many days – not only put the health of those present, thousands of whom were crammed into a manufacturing plant in defiance of the ban by the ‘State to bring together 50 local people. or more. It also has the potential to turn into a super spread event that could sow outbreaks of Covid-19 in the community at large. Trump had not held an indoor rally for nearly three months, since the last one, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after which the city saw an increase in the number of cases and several campaign staff as well as officers from the Secret Service have tested positive for the virus.
The jarring scenes of the indoor event collided with footage of the first weekend of NFL games that took place in cavernous and empty stadiums, reflecting just how much the president, who could be supposed to show the example, is responsible for the most dangerous violations of his own government’s recommendations on coronaviruses.
Brian Stelter of CNN reported that major television networks, including CNN, have decided not to send their crews and correspondents to the rally for their own safety. It is not uncommon for media companies to take measures to protect their employees in war zones abroad, but such precautions are extremely rare on national soil.
Accelerate efforts to reshape reality
As the elections quickly approach, the administration’s broader attempt to reshape reality to benefit and welcome an unbridled president is gaining momentum, including among government officials who appear to be trying to prevent the whole story. of the coronavirus emergency to get out. Trump’s decision not to share what he knew about the disease’s deadly potential in February – detailed in Bob Woodward’s new book – may have cost tens of thousands of lives. The economic effects of the pandemic are devastating. Yet, as his relentless demands to open states – based on political motives rather than scientific rigor – show, the president still does not take the human toll of Covid-19 with devastating seriousness.
A similar effort to create a reality Trump would prefer is underway, as he repeatedly lies about what he says was a Democratic attempt to rig the vote in November. In fact, his own political representatives in the Department of Homeland Security are accused of trying to cover up the full extent of Russian electoral interference intended to support his end campaign. CNN reported last week that the same whistleblower who raised the complaint also warned that officials also changed intelligence assessments to downplay the threat posed by white supremacists and align them with the president’s false comments on Antifa. and leftist and anarchist groups.
New signs of politically motivated investigations at the Justice Department meanwhile add to Attorney General William Barr’s reputation as Trump’s personal executor and concerns that an investigation he ordered into the origins of the investigation into Russia is being prepared to offer Trump an electoral pre-surprise.
Across Washington, it seems to be a similar story as truths and facts are reshaped to support a president who admitted last week that his worldview and perception of reality is filtered hour after hour from opinion broadcasts. from Fox News, whose advice he seems to appreciate. some of the highly qualified experts from his own government.
In a new example of the president choosing conspiratorial or fantastical positions that align with his political goals, rather than those rooted in fact and science, he complained over the weekend that the California wildfires were the result of poor forest management. This is in keeping with his previously expressed belief that state governments must “rake” and “clean” forest soils to remove kindling from forest fires. Many scientists have said that drought and longer fire seasons are a direct result of climate change and have produced peer-reviewed studies to support their conclusions. But such a conclusion does not suit the president’s desire to promote fossil fuels and would force him to challenge conservative orthodoxy.
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“Talk to a firefighter if you think climate change isn’t real,” Los Angeles Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday on “State of the Union”. “This administration appears to be the last remnant of the Flat Earth Society of this generation. ”
One of Trump’s top economic advisers, Peter Navarro, has warned in several academic papers that climate change is one of the most serious potential environmental challenges of the time. But in an interview with Tapper, in which he repeatedly refused to answer questions about Woodward’s new book, Navarro appears to have changed his mind to accommodate Trump’s.
“For many, many years, especially because of budget cuts, we didn’t feel like managing our forests. It’s actually a real problem, ”Navarro said.
An almighty president
The triumph of Trump’s political ideology over fact and truth underscores how he has systematically removed restrictive figures and forces from his administration. In many cases, the government is now operating much like a massive version of the Trump organization, all working to meet the wishes of the almighty boss. While Trump had now dishonored legal fixer Michael Cohen in his professional life to impose his will, he now has loyalists working to overthrow what they see as the “Deep State” opposition in the bureaucracy to a demanding president. total loyalty.
It is not clear whether the president’s takeover will be anything like a deciding factor in the election, despite warnings from former President Barack Obama at the Democratic convention that the very future of American democracy and the integrity of the republic is at the ballot box.
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Trump’s efforts to stifle good governance grab the headlines in Washington, but do not resonate as much elsewhere in a staggering country amid a pandemic and subsequent economic catastrophe that has destroyed the rhythms of normal life. Political maneuvering at the top of a government agency can often be seen as obscure. A lesson to be learned from countries like Eastern Europe, where democracy has been called into question, is that the damage to good governance only becomes evident in retrospect, after months and years of erosion.
Yet Trump, a president who has been indicted for attempting to use government power to coerce a foreign nation, Ukraine, into meddling in a U.S. election, appears to be sending a warning about how he would behave in a second term freed from any future responsibility of voters. Government agencies and departments often reflect the priorities and interests of a president. But recent attempts by Trump’s aides to reshape the facts, the truth, and the data are highly unusual.
Trump helps split from reality in Woodward defense
Woodward’s disturbing revelations of Trump’s neglect amid a pandemic that has killed more than 194,000 Americans have been compounded by further suggestions of misrepresentation by senior Trump officials.
A federal health official told CNN on Saturday that Trump’s communications team at the US Department of Health and Human Services pushed to change the language of the weekly science reports released by the CDC.
Former Trump campaign aide has become HHS spokesperson Michael Caputo and his team have demanded to see the CDC reports before they are released, a senior administration official said. The story was first reported by Politico.
The source said some federal health officials at the CDC believe the interference is an effort to change communications from CDC scientists so as not to contradict the president, who maintains that the pandemic is almost over and that he is time to completely reopen the country.
Caputo defended the behavior and praised Dr. Paul Alexander, who allegedly added political content to CDC reports tracking the emergency.
“Dr Alexander advises me on pandemic policy and he has been encouraged to share his views with other scientists,” Caputo said in a statement. “Like all scientists, his advice is heard and taken or rejected by his peers. ”
The news is likely to spark greater concern over how the administration has often prioritized the president’s political goals – on issues such as masks and economic and educational openings – in a way that has ignored repeatedly science and facts.
The administration’s credibility on these issues and the need to separate politics and epidemiology will be extremely important in convincing Americans to take a vaccine to end the pandemic when it is finally widely available.
Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel on Sunday rebuffed the idea that Trump had handled the pandemic based on his political demands rather than the massive public health emergency that it is.
“I don’t agree that the president has made political calculations in a global pandemic,” McDaniel, one of Trump’s allies sent to Sunday talk shows in an attempt to push back on Woodward’s revelations.
But when “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on NBC asked her why the United States has 25% of Covid-19 deaths globally, she repeated a misleading claim that has come to characterize disinformation and the illogical answers often used by Trump’s aides. throughout the pandemic. “Well, we’ve got more testing,” McDaniel said.