One of the biggest idiocies of the Trump era has been the penchant for those who oppose him to pretend that perfectly normal, presidential maneuvers and actions are somehow deeply scandalous. We’ve seen this play out over and over throughout his presidency, from him firing people who constitutionally are accountable to him, to the nonsense that we saw during impeachment. Over and over, anti-Trump forces attempt to change the standards and box the President in from doing things every other president has always done.
This latest “scandal” involving a recording by Bob Woodward is yet another example, and I’d posit it’s the dumbest one yet. If you haven’t seen it, the allegation goes that Trump scandalously lied to the American people about the severity of the coronavirus. Let’s talk about that.
One, Trump had nothing to gain politically by downplaying the virus if he knew it was worse than it was. In fact, he had everything to lose when it inevitably got worse, and again, the claim here is that he knew all along. What that does is give us insight into his thinking at the time and why he chose to not start yelling from the rooftops that everyone was going to die. It should also be noted that state and local officials, along with many national Democrats, were downplaying the virus well into early March.
But here’s the thing. We don’t have to guess at Trump’s motivation. He told us in the recording. He says pointedly that the only reason he was more contrite early on is because he did not want to start a panic, and he didn’t just say it on the recording, he said it publicly many times prior.
Anti-Trump partisans/media pretending we didn't cover all this months ago. Trump's Jan. actions were: shut down border, declare emergency, create task force (all while going through ridiculous impeachment, notably). His rhetoric was to downplay to avoid panic. See quote here: https://t.co/Tt1fLdasI0
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) September 9, 2020
There is nothing bad about a president managing information in order to protect the country. That has been something that has happened in every administration going back to the beginning of this country. A president is never under any obligation to tell the American people that doom is upon them, most of all because doom is rarely the most probable outcome. At the time, information about the virus was scarce. Trump may have had reports that things could get bad, but it would have been incredibly irresponsible to run with those reports publicly at the time. Nothing could have made things worse than starting a panic among the populace. We were already running low on PPE, sanitation products, and grocery stores were feeling the squeeze.
That Trump downplayed the virus wasn’t just necessary at the time, but it was what you’d expect any president to do. We’ve often found out years later that presidents didn’t tell everyone about the dangers currently being faced in a situation because it would have been counter-productive. That’s all that happened here and Trump has publicly said that’s the reason behind everything. Recall that we were assured by the Obama administration and their media allies that keeping facts about Benghazi hidden was proper. But now it’s impeachable for Trump to not start a panic about a virus?
In short, give me a freaking break. This latest scandal is a joke and not a scandal at all. The media are going to keep rolling out this type of garbage in coordination with the Biden campaign until election day. Trump should keep taking his message to the people, because outside of the beltway, no one gives two craps about Bob Woodward’s new book.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)