“I have never been so mad about a phone call in my life.” That’s generally something you’d expect Donald Trump to rant on Twitter whenever he feels he’s being treated unfairly, but those words instead came from Sen. Angus King of Maine, an Independent who’s generally known for being mild-mannered, after hanging up from a conference call with Trump and fellow Senate Democrats that he caucuses with.
While Trump is desperate to reopen the economy as soon as possible, and hoping he can drum up support for his position even if it means armed insurrection, it turns out that he doesn’t know what such a plan would look like. To open early, would require the Trump administration to step up their testing practices significantly, something he’s not likely to do because his supporters don’t seem to have much trust in how it works, and because Trump doesn’t seem to understand that he has to play something of a role in it.
At the moment, states barely have enough supplies and re-opening the economy and stopping social distancing would mean to also test people who don’t feel sick – in order to see who’s previously been infected. Donald Trump seems to at least be aware some of the time that people aren’t actually happy with him and his lack of leadership, and covering that up is getting more and more difficult for him by the day.
Caving on this would mean he was not only giving leverage to people that his supporters hate, but revealing how much worse the number of cases actually is – two things he can’t do even if they’re better for the country in the long run. Rather than take the opportunity to get it right, he was hoping to sow further disunity among Democrats, one of the few lifelines he has at this point – but this call is likely to do the opposite.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making