Yesterday Donald Trump announced that he was putting Mike Pence of all people in charge of the U.S. response to the coronavirus. Palmer Report pointed out that because this was a suicide mission one way or the other, it appeared Trump was looking to set up Pence as the scapegoat when it all goes wrong. But as it turns out, Pence is wasting no time screwing things up of his own accord.
As his first major move in response to the coronavirus, Mike Pence announced today that he’s adding Steven Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow to his response team, according to Marketwatch. Wait, what? Why in the name of all that is holy would the Secretary of the Treasury and a White House economic adviser be in charge of responding to a medical emergency? This would be a boneheaded move even if these two guys weren’t idiots.
Mnuchin is best known for illegally blocking Donald Trump’s tax returns from being turned over to investigators. Larry Kudlow is best known as a guy who can’t put a complete sentence together, and whose economic predictions turn out to be incorrect 100% of the time. Kudlow also went on television a few days ago and falsely claimed that the coronavirus had been “contained” in the United States, on the same day the CDC was confirming the opposite. So sure, let’s put this flaming clown jackle in charge of the virus response.
It’s not difficult to see what Mike Pence is trying to do here. He’s relying on economic advisers instead of medical experts because he cares a lot less about how many Americans might end up dying, and a lot more about whether the stock market will keep plunging. And by picking two of Donald Trump’s most cartoonish loyalists, Pence is kissing up to Trump in the hope that Trump won’t scapegoat him when it all inevitably goes wrong.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report