President Donald Trump addressed the nation in a rare Oval Office speech, in an attempt that immediately failed to calm the American people and the markets. Trump not only did not assuage fears, he expanded them by not sharing the full truth of the coronavirus pandemic, by framing the virus as a “foreign” attack, and by telegraphing falsehoods further damaging his and his administration’s credibility.
Here’s what happened.
The President chose to spend Wednesday with the top executives of the nation’s biggest banks on Wednesday. They “played to the president’s ego – told him the fundamentals of the economy are strong and that he made it that way – but that the psychology of the public needs to change,” according to The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman.
That was part of what helped move the president toward giving a public address. Those executives share his view – held by others at the White House – that the media is overstating the severity of the virus.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 11, 2020
That’s why Trump delivered his disastrous prime time Oval Office speech Wednesday night, which did anything but what he had hoped to accomplish.
The markets were actually poised to open Thursday morning up hundreds of points, a small improvement over weeks of near-daily triple and quadruple point drops.
And as Trump began speaking to the American people, the markets heard what he was saying – and not saying – and futures tanked.
DOW futures dropped over 1000 points within minutes of Trump finishing his short speech.
And just minutes into Thursday’s open, the DOW dropped so far it triggered an automatic “circuit breaker,” pausing trading for 15 minutes. As of this writing the DOW is down over 1800 points, on top of Wednesday’s 1400 point drop.
What President Trump was saying – and not saying – was the result of his decision to turn to the two people he often turns to in a crisis: His 39-year old son-in-law who he made Senior Advisor to the President, Jared Kushner, and his 34-year old senior advisor for policy, the white nationalist Stephen Miller.
Calling it “vintage Trump,” The New York Times reports the President “blamed European and Chinese people for bringing the outbreak to the United States, describing it ominously as a ‘foreign virus,’ language that reflected the isolationist views of his chief speechwriter, Stephen Miller, who alongside Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, helped draft the address.”
Trump also “repeated another theme — that he viewed the virus as something that was inflicted upon him from a foreign country. He wanted to discuss ‘our nation’s unprecedented response to the coronavirus outbreak that started in China and is now spreading throughout the world,’ he said.”
It’s no wonder, given the people Trump turned to to write his speech, that it was riddled with errors – important error that have injected fear – more fear – into the hearts of Americans.
For example, Trump said his ban on all travel into the U.S. from Europe, with an exemption to the U.K., where he owns several golf resorts, applied to almost all.
“To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” Trump told the American people Wednesday night. “There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. ”
That panicked countless Americans overseas, as this New York Times investigative reporter explains:
Bedlam at U.S.-bound airlines at CDG in Paris early this a.m., as Americans pay as much as $20,000 for last-minute flights. pic.twitter.com/kkbOAEFn4Y
— Mike McIntire (@mmcintire) March 12, 2020
2/ I know because I’m one of them. Was awakened at 2:15 am Paris time by a concerned relative in America saying “Trump just banned all travel from Europe!” Turning on TV, I saw that indeed appeared to be so.
— Mike McIntire (@mmcintire) March 12, 2020
Those weren’t the only falsehoods Trump told America in his prime time address.
Pres Trump tonight:
– Wrongly told the world trade with Europe was suspended
-apparently wrongly said health insurers are waiving out of pocket for treatment
-exempted UK from travel ban (UK has 460 cases to date) unclear why
-detailed no new domestic public health measures
— Todd Zwillich (@toddzwillich) March 12, 2020
Here’s another example:
Let this sink in.
During a worldwide pandemic creating ongoing economic shock Trump ACCIDENTALLY ANNOUNCED A BAN OF CARGO SHIPMENTS FROM EUROPE
This is an absolute circus.https://t.co/syU1XhJHYf
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 12, 2020
Trump’s claim tonight that health insurers “have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments” seems to be news to them.
“For testing. Not for treatment.” a spokesperson for the major insurance lobby AHIP says.
— Sarah Owermohle (@owermohle) March 12, 2020
And this: A Fox News reporter posted this tweet, which Trump retweeted.
It’s false, as several have pointed out:
The SBA doesn’t make loans, though. pic.twitter.com/WzGvQzKooS
— Rob Nelson (@rnelson0) March 12, 2020
Meanwhile, back to Jared.
“According to Politico, President Trump is delaying his decision on whether or not to declare a national emergency to combat the spread of coronavirus on the expert public-health opinion of fellow real-estate developer and fortunate son Jared Kushner,” New York Magazine’s Matt Stieb writes. “Trump is holding off on a national emergency decision until Kushner ‘finishes his research and comes to a conclusion himself.'”
As the government continues to botch testing and fail to flatten the outbreak curve, one imagines Kushner’s preparation this time around: working from home in Kalorama, watching Contagion, and Googling “Ken Burns Spanish Flu.”
Image via Wikimedia
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GOP Lawmakers Spreading False ‘Furries’ Claim School Kids Are Pretending to Be Animals and Demanding Litter Boxes (Again)
Last month it was a Nebraska Republican state lawmaker who promoted the lie that children in schools are pretending to be animals – “furries” – demanding litterboxes, and defecating on the classroom floor if not given them. Rep. Bruce Bostelman was insistent that schoolchildren were meowing, barking, and believing themselves to be domesticated pets. His biggest problem with the whole issue: “How is this sanitary?”
Fast forward exactly one month and three of Minnesota’s state Republican lawmakers are the latest to push this lie – a lie that originated in anti-transgender hate.
“There is something going on in our schools according to this, something called ‘furry.’ And I think it’s spelled F-U-R-R-Y. I looked it up on Google,” Rep. Steve Drazkowski, apparently not very good at researching, said on the Minnesota House floor.
“It’s described to me that we have kids in our schools who believe that they are animals,” continued Drazkowski, using the very malleable “described to me” phrase.
“And they are identifying I’m told as animals. Identifying as animals., They think they’re a cat. A cat. They put tails on and they demand that they have a litterbox at school,” he added. All of which is false.
“Has anybody else heard that?” Drazkowski asked on the House floor. “Have you heard about this ‘furry’ thing?”
“It’s in the dictionary on Google, Madam Speaker,” he claimed, again, not being very good with research.
Not to be outdone, Republican Rep. Eric Lucero said on the House floor, “When I heard about this, I heard they were actually cutting holes in the uniforms for tails, and in some cases, the students were putting on fake tails. And in some cases one of the parents was responding to what was happening in the school where a child that believed themselves to be a cat – didn’t have a physical tail, ut had an imaginary tail. And they were sitting at – I think it was a lunch, ah, a table in the lunchroom, and this imaginary tail was there. A student came up, and sat down and the child that believed themself to be a cat, screamed, ‘You just sat on my tail!’ that was imaginary. Didn’t exist.”
And yet, another.
“In my district, I won’t even name the school, in my district I had a pastor come to me and he said he is being told that in one school district – and I’m not saying this is the case, we don’t know, it’s unconfirmed – but he is being told by multiple people that there’s a litter box in one of the locker room, or bathroom, that’s my understanding,” GOP Rep. Tim Miller claimed, again on the House floor.
These are grown adults, elected officials, standing in the Minnesota people’s house and spreading ridiculous falsehoods.
“There’s something going on in our schools called ‘furry.’ I think it’s spelled F-U-R-R-Y… I looked it up on Google.”
3 Minnesota GOP State Reps. spread false rumors of litter boxes in bathrooms, uniforms that accommodate tails and kids identifying as cats during floor debate. pic.twitter.com/Yhrk6ynlTp
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) April 28, 2022
‘Fox & Friends’ Fake Freak Out: Co-Hosts Complain ‘Grinch’ Fauci Is ‘About to Cancel Christmas’
“Fox & Friends” co-hosts kicked off the week by attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, complaining the famous head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is going to “cancel Christmas” while comparing him to the “Grinch.”
When asked Sunday by CBS if Americans could safely gather for the holidays, Fauci had merely replied, “it’s just too soon to tell,” which the GOP’s propaganda arm quickly posted to social media.
The three “Fox & Friends” co-hosts Monday morning claimed that Fauci, who also serves as the Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden, is going to “cancel Christmas.”
“Nobody wants to work in a Cabbage Patch factory,” co-host Steve Doocy claimed, lamenting apparent parts and product shortages worldwide.
“So no wonder Dr. Fauci is about to cancel Christmas,” Brian Kilmeade chimed in, sarcastically bellyaching, “We’re not gonna have any presents anyway, so it’s gonna really work out well.”
“Forget about Dr. Seuss with ‘The Grinch,’ Doocy quipped, comparing the anti-Christmas children’s character to “Dr. Fauci.”
Kilmeade added, “Dr. Seuss – not a real doctor, but he does he does seem smart,” as Ainsley Earhardt tossed in, “and he was canceled,” which is also false.
— David Badash (@davidbadash) October 4, 2021
‘Nine Kinds of Nonsense’: Florida Blasted for ‘Incredibly Depressing and Stupid’ New Policy of Lying to Kids
Florida’s government is taking heat for a new policy that reveals the ignorance of those in charge of the Sunshine State.
“Florida has become the latest state to ban critical race theory,continuing the growing charge by Republican lawmakers against schools teaching about systemic racism,” CNN reported. “After hours of debate and public comment Thursday, the Florida State Board of Education unanimously approved the amendment banning critical race theory. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appointed much of the board, spoke ahead of the meeting, saying critical race theory would teach children ‘the country is rotten and that our institutions are illegitimate.'”
Keith Schnakenberg, an assistant professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis, posted one key part of the new rule.
The rule says teachers “may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.”
Well-known historian Kevin Kruse blasted the language.
“Teachers ‘may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence’ is nine kinds of nonsense, starting with the fact that the Declaration, uh, didn’t create a new nation,” Kruse reminded.
The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. America was not created until the Constitution was ratified by nine of the original thirteen states on June 21, 1788.
“Let’s ignore that howler from these legislators who *really* know their facts. We’re forbidden from defining American history as anything other than the *creation* of the new nation?” Kruse asked. “You’re not allowed to teach anything besides the founding? There’s a lot more, you know!”
“But let’s back up a sec,” he continued. “You’re not allowed to suppress or distort the atrocities of the Holocaust, but if there’s something akin to that in American history — HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING, OF COURSE — you *have* to suppress and distort that? Because of reasons?”
“This is all so incredibly depressing and stupid, largely because the people trying to dictate and control the teaching of America history apparently never took a single damn class in the subject themselves,” he noted.
Let's ignore that howler from these legislators who *really* know their facts.
We're forbidden from defining American history as anything other than the *creation* of the new nation?
You're not allowed to teach anything besides the founding? There's a lot more, you know!
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) June 12, 2021
Read that whole thread.
This is all so incredibly depressing and stupid, largely because the people trying to dictate and control the teaching of America history apparently never took a single damn class in the subject themselves.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) June 12, 2021
Instruction must be factual and also false
— Keith Schnakenberg (@keithschnak) June 12, 2021
Iowa’s bill. Largely similar to Idaho except also prohibits teaching that the USA or the state of Iowa are systemically racist pic.twitter.com/QGE1Vn4rzm
— Keith Schnakenberg (@keithschnak) June 12, 2021
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
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