With covid-19 claiming 138,000 lives in the United States so far, the Trump administration is engaged in a giant coverup -- a coverup of reality.
Donald Trump's effort to diminish the life-threatening dangers of this deadly, highly contagious virus apparently is intended to somehow bolster his waning reelection chances and is a cruel, cynical response to this national catastrophe. Somehow, he wants to pretend everything is fine, that kids and teachers can go back to school with no problems and facing no danger, that churches should be filled, and that life should just go back to normal.
Then, in his twisted, unrealistic mind, the economy would rebound, people would be back to work, shoppers would shop, travelers would travel, vacationers would vacation, baseball players would play baseball, voters would happily vote for him, and all would be right with the world.
Keeping Info from the CDC
To help make this fantasy a reality, Trump apparently is trying to hide information about the virus from the American people, including the very scientists and decision-makers who need it.
Just the other day it was reported that his administration is asking governors to consider sending the National Guard, who Trump seems to view as his own personal gendarmerie, to hospitals to collect data about coronavirus patients, supplies and capacity.
That was part of the administration's new plan to have health-care institutions report information daily about covid-19 to a federal contractor or to their state, instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s hospital network, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). That information from the CDC has been used by health officials and policymakers to identify trends within communities, according to officials.
Why is the administration trying to cut out the CDC, the very agency most responsible for providing the scientific information needed for intelligent decision-making? Could it be that Trump simply doesn't believe in science, trusts his famous gut, and doesn't want all of that bad news out there for the news media to report, digest, and comment upon?
Could it be that he's fed up with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the now famous director of CDC's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whose approval ratings are more than double Trump's?
And to try to use the National Guard to collect medical data to fight the coronavirus? Really?
Four previous directors of the CDC published an article in The Washington Post Tuesday in which they starkly wrote:
"As America begins the formidable task of getting our kids back to school and all of us back to work safely amid a pandemic that is only getting worse, public health experts face two opponents: covid-19, but also political leaders and others attempting to undermine the CDC. As the debate last week around reopening schools more safely showed, these repeated efforts to subvert sound public health guidelines introduce chaos and uncertainty while unnecessarily putting lives at risk."
Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, boldly took the Trump administration, and Trump himself, to task in an op-ed article published by The Washington Post. He blasted Trump for ignoring the growing pandemic and doing nothing to help the states obtain test kits and other needed equipment.
In fact, Hogan, whose wife is from South Korea, managed to purchase 500,000 test kits from South Korea's LabGenomics, and had them flown to Maryland, where they were hidden from the federal government, and put to use in that state.
Hogan, who is chairman of the Republican Governors Conference, wrote:
"This should not have been necessary. I’d watched as the president downplayed the outbreak’s severity and as the White House failed to issue public warnings, draw up a 50-state strategy, or dispatch medical gear or lifesaving ventilators from the national stockpile to American hospitals. Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death. So every governor went their own way, which is how the United States ended up with such a patchwork response. I did the best I could for Maryland."
Find Something New
So now, with 18 million Americans out of work because of the pandemic and the resulting business closures, another tone deaf response that apparently ignores reality has emanated from the Trump White House.
It's an ad campaign called "Find Something New", launched by Ivanka Trump, the president's oldest daughter and presidential advisor.
"This initiative is about challenging the idea the traditional 2 and 4 yr college is the only option to acquire the skills needed to secure a job," she wrote on Twitter. "This work has never been more urgent."
The campaign's website lists a number of jobs in which growth is projected, and for the unemployed to consider. Ironically, some of those jobs, like contact tracer and wind turbine technician, are in fields that her father has derided. Why would you need contact tracers if the pandemic is going to magically disappear? And those wind turbines kill birds and cause cancer, right?
Hey, I have a suggestion.
It's time for Donald Trump to "find something new." We can make that happen on November 3.