For weeks, Trump’s “Reopen America” narrative has remained relatively unchanged; against all recommendations from WHO or the CDC, he has been pushing his Opening Up America Again Plan to jumpstart the United States economy amid the pandemic.
But Wednesday, Trump seemed to backpedal so fast, it’s a miracle his wig didn’t fly off. According to CNN, Trump’s denouncement of Georgia governor Brian Kemp, who has chosen to move forward with lifting country-wide social distancing measures, came only after Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and other members of his “task force” urged him to change his stance. Just Tuesday, Trump told reporters: “He’s a very capable man. He knows what he’s doing. He’s done a very good job as governor.” By Wednesday, this sentiment had changed, with Trump claiming he told Gov. Kemp he “[disagreed] strongly with his decision to open certain facilities.” On Thursday afternoon, Kemp reiterated his plan to “reopen” Georgia in a series of tweets:
Despite the flip-flopping, White House press secretary and newly anointed Capitol Hill Blonde Kayleigh McEnany denounced reports the president had his mind changed: “No one ‘changed’ President Trump’s view. I was with him all throughout the day. His mind was made up.” Sure, Kayleigh! She better check with her boss one more time, in case his mind has wandered some more. [CNN]
Good news: 4.4 million more Americans have filed for unemployment. (This is not good news, but I felt this needed to be balanced with a note of encouragement.) The Washington Post reports that, from March 15 to April 18, an estimated 26.5 million people have been laid off or furloughed, though that number only takes into account people who have filed for unemployment—the actual total might be higher.
According to the Post, the national unemployment rate is close to 20 percent, a figure which hasn’t been reached since the Great Depression, and “[erases] all jobs created since the 2008 financial crisis.” Cool, totally cool. In L.A. County, recent reports put the county-wide unemployment rate at 30 percent; labor economist Julia Pollak claims the numbers are “staggering but not growing, a small mercy.” Sure, the number might be slowing down somewhat, but is it a small mercy? Is it really? [Washington Post]
Nothing weird to see here!
Elizabeth Warren’s brother has died from coronavirus:
Maxine Waters dedicated the latest stimulus bill to her sister, who is currently battling coronavirus:
How does your state representative compare to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
Mitch McConnell still sucks, and the other Cuomo is beefing with him now. [Washington Post]
- From ProPublica: “The Dutch company that received millions of taxpayer dollars to develop an affordable ventilator for pandemics, but never delivered them, has struck a much more lucrative deal with the federal government to make 43,000 ventilators at four times the price. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that it plans to pay Royal Philips N.V. $646.7 million for the new ventilators.” [ProPublica]
- It would appear yet another billionaire has taken control of Trump’s ear. [NBC News]
- The coronavirus death toll, unsurprisingly, does not bode well for Trump’s base. [Politico]