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There’s no doubt Trump views COVID testing not as a solution but as a political problem

Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

Trump’s repeated insistence that “[w]ith smaller testing we would show fewer cases!” is like a psychological test for dissociative disorder, identifying one’s willingness to believe that problems can be solved by declining to acknowledge their existence.

I get the perverse appeal of willful ignorance, because it is literally true that we would “show” fewer cases if we stopped trying to find them. But not only would cases exist notwithstanding statistical measures of them, given the contagious nature of this virus less testing would amount to more cases because fewer asymptomatic (or pre-symptomatic) carriers would know to quarantine themselves.

The White House spent much of yesterday nervously telling everyone that Trump’s stated push to “slow down” testing was a “joke,” a term the White House designates every grossly negligent Trump assertion after it polls badly, but there’s no doubt that Trump views testing not as a solution but as a political problem. He’s the king who kills the messenger bringing bad news — to date about 120,000 messengers.


Trump’s point about testing isn’t some sophisticated counter-intuitive take on the nature of statistics of the sort that Malcolm Gladwell might try to spin, he just wants everyone to stop believing that the virus exists, preferably before November. But with red states following his lead and abdicating responsibility themselves, cases will rise, not fall, whether we count them or not.

Mike Pence recently triumphantly announced that we’re “winning the fight against the invisible enemy,” which is obviously the opposite of accurate, but Pence is only halfway to where Trump is ready to go, which is to gaslight us into thinking that we’ve imagined the whole thing.

That we’re living in two wholly distinct countries has never been so evident, but that factionalization predates Trump, and I sometimes think that much of this would have gone badly under any President because American is “too broken” as Michelle Goldberg today put it.

But surely the CDC wouldn’t have been as decimated, marginalized, and disregarded as it has. Surely no other president would advance a “masks are for pussies” policy agenda. Surely we’d at least try to eliminate the virus by whatever means we had at our disposal, knowing that we’d either pay now or pay later.

Trump just now tweeted “We did a great job on CoronaVirus…” — past tense. See? It’s over:

We did a great job on CoronaVirus, including the very early ban on China, Ventilator production, and Testing, which is by far the most, and best, in the World. We saved millions of U.S. lives.! Yet the Fake News refuses to acknowledge this in a positive way. But they do give….

….Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is with us in all ways, a very high 72% Approval Rating. So, if he is in charge along with V.P. etc., and with us doing all of these really good things, why doesn’t the Lamestream Media treat us as they should? Answer: Because they are Fake News!

See how he’s sleazily using and leveraging Fauci as cover? Fauci pointedly disagrees with Trump on a number of substantive fronts, and Trump clearly doesn’t listen to Fauci. But Trump just lumped them all together “in all ways.”

Fauci would better serve the mission of his role by leaving it so as not to continue providing Trump political cover.

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