Donald Trump, a man who instead of a brain has a Newton’s cradle made with pickled pearl onions rattling about his skull, is reportedly seeking to block COVID-19 testing funds amid a national surge of cases. What could possibly go wrong?
At first blush, this seems incredibly stupid, and upon further examination, you’d actually find that it’s even more stupid than that. The New York Times reports that “[t]he Trump administration has objected to the inclusion of billions of dollars for coronavirus testing and tracing across the country in an opening draft proposal from Senate Republicans for the next coronavirus relief package…” Specifically, Trump wants to eliminate billions going to states for testing and contact tracing, billions going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, billions going to the National Institutes of Health, and billions going to the Pentagon and State Department all aimed at curbing the pandemic and saving lives.
But why? To be honest, I don’t have a good handle on why. As we’ve stated before, many Republicans are irritated to infuriated with Trump right now because of a panoply of other stupid shit he’s done. The only thing that I can think of is that Trump is hell-bent on curbing testing to make the number of confirmed cases seem artificially small. He’s said it himself: “Think of this, if we didn’t do testing, instead of testing over 40 million people, if we did half the testing we would have half the cases.” Would that really fool everybody? I strongly doubt it.
On the other hand, or perhaps additionally, Trump appears to be trying to shoehorn some spending in the bill unrelated to the pandemic that in some way benefits him or his allies. The Washington Post reports that while the White House is pushing to cut billions from the next relief bill, “administration officials are trying to use the spending package to fund priorities that appear not directly related to the coronavirus — including a new FBI building, which has been a longtime priority for Trump, according to people involved.”
Any way you cut it, Trump is looking to boost himself and/or his allies at the cost of American lives. There’s no need to mince words about it. How this evil move plays out remains to be seen, but given the pushback Trump has seen in recent months from those within his party, I’d be surprised if the White House didn’t have to roll back the evil a bit.