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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‘Ambush’: Fox News Panics After Trump Faces Voters’ Questions at ABC News Town Hall
President Donald Trump faced tough questions from voters at a Philadelphia town hall meeting moderated by ABC News.
Trump was ridiculed for agreeing to the town hall, which did not go well for him.
The president faced a grilling from one of his 2016 voters, who said Trump threw people with health risks under the bus with his COVID-19 response.
ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos shut down Trump’s attempts to mislead voters about health care with his make-believe plan.
Trump blew off concerns about racial injustice from a Black voter.
When discussing coronavirus herd immunity, he referred to it as “herd mentality.”
And Trump said he had no regrets about his coronavirus response, which has resulted in over 195,000 deaths.
After the town hall went disastrously for Trump, Fox News personality Laura Ingraham attacked ABC News, labeling the town hall an ambush.
Fox News is calling the ABC Town Hall an “ambush” pic.twitter.com/dGMtCkxct8
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) September 16, 2020
George Conway Burns to the Ground Trump Supporters Who Are Suckered by His Lies
On Monday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative attorney and Lincoln Project co-founder George Conway excoriated Trump supporters, by writing a parody of what one might say in defense of the president.
“I believe Joe Biden is ‘Sleepy’ and ‘weak.’ I believe Biden could ‘hurt God’ and the Bible,” wrote Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and a vocal critic of the president from the right for years. “I believe that if Biden is elected, there will be ‘no religion, no anything,’ and he would confiscate all guns, ‘immediately and without notice.’ He would ‘abolish’ ‘our great,’ ‘beautiful suburbs,’ not to mention ‘the American way of life.’ There would be ‘no windows, no nothing’ in buildings.”
By contrast, Conway wrote, when it comes to Trump, “I believe it’s normal for the president to say ‘Yo Semites’ and ‘Yo Seminites,’ ‘Thigh Land,’ ‘Minne-a-napolis,’ ‘toe-tally-taria-tism,’ ‘Thomas Jeffers’ and ‘Ulyss-eus S. Grant.’ I believe it’s Biden who’s cognitively impaired. I believe the president ‘aced’ a ‘very hard’ impairment test, and that his ‘very surprised’ doctors found this ‘unbelievable.’ I believe it was ‘amazing’ he remembered five words, such as ‘person, woman, man, camera, TV’ — in correct order. I believe he took the SAT himself.”
Conway also went after the president’s racism and incompetence fighting coronavirus.
“I believe that the president has done a tremendous job fighting the virus — and that he shouldn’t ‘take responsibility at all’ — even though about 160,000 Americans have died. I believe the virus ‘is what it is,’” wrote Conway. “I believe it isn’t racist to call the coronavirus ‘kung flu’ or ‘the China Virus.’ It isn’t racially divisive to say Black Lives Matter is a ‘symbol of hate,’ to celebrate Confederate generals as part of our ‘Great American Heritage,’ or to share video of someone shouting ‘white power,’ which, like displaying the Confederate flag, is ‘freedom of speech.’”
And above all, Conway wrote, “I believe the president won the popular vote in 2016 ‘if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.’ I believe he shouldn’t accept the election results if he loses in November.”
You can read more here.
There Was No ‘Unmasking’ Because Flynn’s Name Wasn’t Masked: Former Senior Gov’t. Officials
Another right wing conspiracy theory down the drain.
For days if not weeks the right has insisted various Obama administration officials had targeted former Lt. General Mike Flynn, trying to “unmask” his name from transcripts on intercepted calls with Russian officials.
That was a ludicrous assertion, since “masked” names are masked and no one knows who they are until they are unmasked.
But now, as The Washington Post reports, Flynn’s name actually wasn’t even masked.
“A Republican effort to determine who may have leaked the name of Michael Flynn in connection to his 2016 contact with the Russian ambassador has centered on the question of which Obama administration officials requested his identity be ‘unmasked’ in intelligence documents,” The Post reports.
“But in the FBI report about the communications between the two men, Flynn’s name was never redacted, former U.S. officials said.”
“When the FBI circulated [the report], they included Flynn’s name from the beginning” because it was essential to understanding its significance, said a former senior U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive intelligence. “There were therefore no requests for the unmasking of that information.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
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