Trump’s guidelines benefit him no matter what

Doug Muder, on his The Weekly Sift  blog, pointed out that President Trump’s Opening Up America Again guidelines are different from what he says they are.  His handling of the guidelines enables him to say he was right no matter what happens.  Here’s some of what Muder wrote—

Thursday, the White House released the long-awaited guidelines Opening Up America Again.  It was rolled out in a quintessentially Trumpian way, one that will allow him to claim credit for any successes and blame someone else for any failures.  

This sleight-of-hand is achieved by a simple trick: What the document says is very different from what Trump says about it.

He says it’s a plan by which parts of the country can start relaxing stay-at-home orders almost immediately — even before his previously stated goal of May 1.  

But if you read the document (and how many MAGA-hatters will bother?) it lists a set of criteria not much different from those put forward by public-health experts all over the world — or by Joe Biden a week ago: a downward trend in cases, a rebuilt stockpile of medical equipment, extensive testing even of those with no symptoms, and exhaustive contact-tracing of those who test positive.

Since no state is anywhere near achieving those criteria, none can use these guidelines to justify opening up anytime in the near future.

You might expect all this open-up/stay-closed confusion to hinder both the economy and the fight against the virus — and you’d be right — but jobs and lives are not the point. The primary goal is to allow Trump to claim vindication no matter what happens.

  • If a state reopens its economy soon and everything works fine, then Trump takes credit for all the jobs gained, because he told them to reopen.  Even better, he overruled both Democrats and scientists, who were wrong when he was right.  The stable genius wins again!
  • If a state relaxes its lockdown rules, sees a spike in infections and deaths, and has to lock down again, it’s not Trump’s fault that the governor misapplied what was clearly written down in the guidelines.  Blame that loser, even if he’s been a loyal Trumpist like Ron DeSantis or Greg Abbott.
  • If a state doesn’t reopen soon, then any economic or psychological distress caused by the continued lockdown is also the governor’s fault, and Trump is the champion of the suffering people trapped in their homes.  Liberate Michigan!

It’s a neat trick.

LINKS

Trump’s Guidelines Aren’t What He Says They Are by Doug Muder for The Weekly Sift.  Read the whole thing to get the highlights of the Opening Up America Again plan..

“It’ll all be over by Christmas” by Charles Stross for Charlie’s Diary.  A Scottish science fiction writer on the hard facts.

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