Donald Trump and his henchmen have a consistent habit of loudly threatening to do truly awful things that are literally impossible, so we’ll be so busy pushing back against these impossible doomsday things, we don’t notice them quietly getting away with some other more low-key awful thing.
Each time this happens, Palmer Report tries to point out that the thing Trump is threatening to do is indeed not possible. It’s not just about calming people down; it’s about making sure everyone keeps their eye on the ball so Trump can’t use the distraction to sneak a fast one past us. It’s certainly happening again right now.
Yesterday evening Donald Trump held a press conference and asserted that at the end of the current fifteen day period (no one is quite sure when it started), he might open the country up for business again and send everyone back to work. Then last night Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a loyal Trump stooge, went on Fox News and took things further by suggesting that it’s just fine for the elderly and vulnerable to be exposed to coronavirus and die, if that’s what it takes to get the economy up and running again.
Understandably, there’s been quite fierce pushback against what Trump and Patrick have said. But it’s important to understand that Trump can’t actually do this. He can’t open the country back up, because he’s not the one who shut it down. Trump can’t force Governors to lift the lockdowns. He can’t force store chains to reopen their doors. He can’t force the sports leagues to resume playing games. That’s just not a thing, any more than Trump can force it to rain tomorrow.
Here’s what Donald Trump really is doing with all this. He’s gearing up to announce soon that we’re magically in the clear, and demand that everything should reopen. And when literally nothing happens as a result of his demand, he’ll blame everyone else for the fact that nothing happened. He’ll try to scapegoat Democratic Governors, sports leagues, and store chains for the ongoing economic troubles.
So if you’re gearing up to fight back against this scenario in which Donald Trump waves a magic wand and the country reopens for business and everyone catches the coronavirus en masse, you’re focused on an imaginary scenario. Should Trump and Dan Patrick be condemned for promoting such scenarios? Of course. But let’s be real here. The scenario you’re fighting against is the one where Trump falsely claims the coronavirus has been cured, and then tries to blame the Democrats for not reopening the country. Trump is politically crippled, and powerless to do almost anything at this point – but he’s still skilled at using disinformation as a weapon.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report