June 6, 2020

Where Did the Daily White House Coronavirus Briefing Go?

Where Did the Daily White House Coronavirus Briefing Go?

Watching Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York deliver his daily fact-, science-, people-driven coronavirus briefing today, I was thinking: Where did the daily White House coronavirus task force briefing go? 

Has the pandemic ended? Not by a long shot. About 10,000 of the 110,000 U.S. deaths occurred in the past ten days. In some states, infections are still on the rise. A vaccine is far off. The powerful nationwide protests in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd are inspiring but, without consistent precautions, could potentially increase the risks of spread. So could the grotesquely indifferent swimming pool parties and other reckless gatherings we’ve seen. As more and more of the nation opens, the need for extensive guidance from government remains serious. 

The task force briefings ended for the same reason they were awful: President Trump is ignorant, incompetent, narcissistic, corrupt, and, above all, malevolent. He thought he could use the briefings to convince the stock market not to keep plummeting, the economy not to collapse, and his poll numbers not to nosedive, so he monopolized the podium as aides huddled too close at his side. He repeatedly understated the threat of the virus, mocked social distancing measures, overpromised the speed of a recovery, and praised his management of the crisis as “an incredible job.” Trump also bullied task force members, including medical doctors on his team, into making their own assessments more optimistic-sounding than warranted.

If Trump was uncomfortable with telling the truth at these sessions, he could have made token appearances from time to time, and left it to professionals from his team to conduct serious daily briefings. The event could have been moved to another federal building.

Instead, when Trump realized that the task force briefings, marked by serious questions from reporters that he answered with insults and more lies, were leading to more humiliation and frustration for him — especially after his moronic comments about injecting bleach and shining powerful lights inside the bodies of COVID-19 patients —  the White House simply stopped having the briefings.  What had been touted as a vital channel for informing the public about the worst public health crisis in decades simply disappeared.

On top of the racism, misogyny, corruption, and anti-democratic vileness of this president, how glaring is his incompetence and unsteadiness, and his focus on himself and his re-election over the interests of the American people?

I’m gonna say, pretty glaring.