Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Fauci vs Kushner-in-Law


People who let what Trump says guide their behavior are all going to get sick. Some will die unnecessarily. My favorite line from the talking orangutan yesterday was "Our country wasn’t built to be shut down." I wonder if he came up with it all on his own or if the world's most celebrated epidemiologist, Jared Kushner-- whose father bought him an acceptance to Harvard-- helped him with it. Kushner is certainly helping him counter all that scientific stuff hates so much that he is being force-fed by medical professionals invading his tiny mind. "Trump," reported Jonathan Lemire for the Associated Press yesterday, "has never been known for his patience or long attention span. Now, as the coronavirus crisis threatens his presidency, and upends his campaign for reelection, Trump is rapidly losing patience with the medical professionals who have made the case day after day that the only way to prevent a catastrophic loss of life is to essentially shut down the country-- to minimize transmission and 'flatten the curve' so hospitals aren’t overwhelmed with critical patients. The president also has been furious that his efforts to halt the harrowing drop in the stock market have so far proven ineffective. He has been calling friends and economists at all hours and berated aides and reporters who try to persuade him to recognize the severity of the outbreak."

Vanity Fair reporter Gabe Sherman wrote that "Trump is grasping for a strategy before the crisis destroys his presidency... [and] appears ready to disregard the advice of his medical advisers like Dr. Anthony Fauci by reopening the economy far sooner than Fauci has said is safe."
According to sources, Trump is increasingly frustrated with Fauci and governors who advocated for shutting down large swathes of the economy to stop COVID-19’s out-of-control spread. According to four Republicans briefed on internal West Wing conversations, Trump is fuming privately that Fauci advised him that the only way to blunt the pandemic was to bring the economy to a halt. “Trump is furious,” a former West Wing official said. “He’s been calling business leaders asking if he should just reopen the economy,” a Republican briefed on the conversations told me. “He’s hearing that you have to get the economy going,” another former West Wing official said.

The pivot away from the strict social-distancing strategy is gaining traction in the business community. On Sunday, former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein-- who endorsed Hillary Clinton-- tweeted: “[C]rushing the economy, jobs and morale is also a health issue-and beyond. Within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work.” Tom Bossert, Trump's former Homeland Security adviser, told me the pivot is reflective of Americans' skepticism of government. "This has to do with peoples' relationship to government authority prior to this event."

Sources say that Trump is leaning toward telling at least some Americans to return to work after the 15-day social-distancing period ends on March 31. This puts Trump on a potential collision course with Fauci that many fear will end with Fauci being fired or quitting. “Fauci is the best medical expert we have. We can’t lose him,” a former White House official said. Signs of tension between Trump and Fauci have been emerging. Over the weekend, Fauci gave a series of candid interviews. “I’ve been telling the president things he doesn’t want to hear,” Fauci told Maureen Dowd. “I have publicly had to say something different with what he states. It’s a risky business.” Fauci told Science magazine: “When you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things one, two, three, four times, and then it happens. So, I’m going to keep pushing.”

Trump’s view that he can ignore Fauci’s opinion may be influenced by advice he’s getting from Jared Kushner, whose outside-the-box efforts have often rankled those in charge of managing the crisis. According to two sources, Kushner has told Trump about experimental treatments he’s heard about from executives in Silicon Valley. “Jared is bringing conspiracy theories to Trump about potential treatments,” a Republican briefed on the conversations told me. Another former West Wing official told me: “Trump is like an 11-year-old boy waiting for the fairy godmother to bring him a magic pill.”

Throughout the crisis, Kushner has counseled Trump that the crisis isn’t as bad as the media is portraying. Two sources said Vice President Mike Pence has complained to Trump about Kushner’s meddling in the work of the coronavirus task force. (Another former West Wing official disputed this, saying Pence wouldn’t openly challenge the Trump family. “Pence is politically smart,” the former official said.)

According to sources, Trump has been jealous that Cuomo’s press briefings have gotten such positive reviews. “He’s said Cuomo looks good,” a Republican briefed on internal conversations said. Trump’s solution has been to put on his own show. “Trump wants to play press secretary,” a former West Wing official said. The live briefings have essentially replaced his rallies and given him a platform to air grievances and attack the media. On Friday, he lit into NBC News reporter Peter Alexander when Alexander asked what Trump would say to Americans who are scared about the crisis. The confrontation energized Trump, according to a Republican who spoke to him afterward. “He was in the Oval Office feeling positive,” the source said. On Sunday, Trump was cavalier with a reporter who said Mitt Romney had gone into self-quarantine after spending time with Senator Rand Paul, who’d tested positive. “Romney’s in isolation? Gee, that’s too bad,” Trump said.

As Trump sends mixed messages, the stock market slide has only deepened. On Friday, he said he had invoked the Defense Production Act, but under pressure from his base not to nationalize the economy, he said Sunday that he wouldn’t compel companies to produce critical medical equipment. He’s now experimenting with a new approach to the crisis, but it’s unclear what legal authority he would have to supersede local shelter-in-place restrictions. Behind the bluster, he’s hamstrung. “He can’t make any big decisions,” a former West Wing official said. “He knows once you do, you can’t go back.”
In a tweet last night, Tom Inglesby, the director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, voiced his urgent concern that if Trump goes ahead with the Kushner plan to loosen social distancing instead of tightening it, the U.S. is going to wind up far worse off than anyone imagines. "Anyone advising the end of social distancing now, needs to fully understand what the country will look like if we do that. Covid would spread widely, rapidly, terribly, could kill potentially millions in the year ahead with huge social and economic impact across the country."

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At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anyone advising the end of social distancing now, needs to fully understand what the country will look like if we do that. Covid would spread widely, rapidly, terribly, could kill potentially millions in the year ahead with huge social and economic impact across the country."

and we'd still re-elect that POSOTUS.

To correct Ron White: The only way to fix stupid is to kill it... or let it die.

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, this is bad.

But where are the "Democrats"? Are they still trying to rewire Joe Biden into a viable candidate who will make no substantive changes to anything? If so, HOW IS THIS AN IMPROVEMENT OVER TRUMP???

Thom Hartmann is asking the right question but doesn't follow up on it. Yes, Thom, he will.

Why are the "Democrats" not touting loudly the quotes Jimmy Dore is putting on his show? Lawrence Kudlow and Rick Santelli are both recorded as promoting the idea that the "markets" are more important than human life:

Kudlow: "The human toll is greater than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that." (2011 Tohoku tsunami)

Santelli: "The quarantine is wreaking havoc on the global economy." (COVIDS-19)

TX Lt Gov Dan Patrick is volunteering the elderly to succumb to the virus to protect profits.

Kudlow being part of the Trump Admonistration (sic) opens the door to an incredible knockout punch for November. But Joe Mindless isn't the guy to deliver it. The "Democrats" clearly want to do their part as a Party to defend profits over people by losing again to Trump.

There has been talk of Andrew Cuomo replacing Biden, but this isn't the time to take him away from New York State, arguably the worst-hit region in the nation. At this time, no active governor should be considered as Biden's replacement as all of the states are in the process of being hammered by COVID-19.

But we can't have Bernie Sanders, can we Tom Perez? We can't have the corporate socialism be diverted to mere mortal human needs, can we? When are you going to resign, Tom Perez? Before or after your Party crashes and burns? Read up on the Whigs. You won't be surprised at what happens that way.

Yes, This is bad. And only a few real leaders are emerging during this crisis. The remainder are still awaiting orders from the boardroom.

In the meantime, prepare to go to work and die for wealth.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:02, well said


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