Trump is waging a ’war on reality' because it's his 'one real chance at reelection': columnist

Trump is waging a ’war on reality' because it's his 'one real chance at reelection': columnist
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks during a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Following Memorial Day Weekend on Tuesday, the United States was moving closer to a grim milestone: 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers in Baltimore. But President Donald Trump seemed oblivious, calling for states to reopen non-essential businesses sooner rather than later. Journalist Greg Sargent, in his Washington Post column, stresses that Trump’s salesman-like cheerleading is a key part of his game plan — and that he is pretending that “normalcy” is right around the corner.

“Coronavirus deaths in the United States are rapidly closing in on 100,000,” Sargent asserts. “The economic depression is stretching out ahead of us as far as the eye can see. Joe Biden is holding a steady lead in polls. So, President Trump has decided he has only one real chance at reelection: to bet mostly on his magical ability to create the illusion that we’re rapidly returning to normalcy, rather than taking the difficult concrete steps that would make that more likely to happen.”

Sargent goes on to cite some examples of Trump’s “war on reality” — such as “new rage-tweets” aimed at North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper over “whether a full” Republican National Convention “will be held under coronavirus conditions,” and a “new federal testing blueprint that largely casts responsibility on the states.”

“All these things, in one way or another, show that Trump’s war on reality has veered into a new place,” Sargent explains. “Trump is responding to our most dire public health and economic crises in modern times with a concerted, far-reaching effort to concoct the mirage that we’re racing past both.”

Another example of Trump’s “war on reality,” Sargent observes, is his claim that the U.S. currently has enough coronavirus testing — which, according to the Center for Global Development’s Jeremy Konyndyk, is a major distortion that “endangers people’s lives.”

Konyndyk told the Washington Post columnist that when it comes to having enough testing for COVID-19, “We’re not close. A big part of the reason we’re not close is that rather than trying to keep scaling up testing and personal protective equipment, the administration keeps claiming we already have enough.”

Trump, according to Sargent, is trying to “create the impression that the coronavirus is largely under control — even though it isn’t — without the government undertaking the full range of steps necessary to make that actually happen.”

Many pundits and Trump critics have been emphasizing that successful leaders of the past — whether it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the U.S. or Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the U.K. — did not sugarcoat problems. Instead, they realized that a crucial part of dealing with a daunting crisis is giving voters the type of straight talk that they needed.

Trump, however, has failed to fully acknowledge the severity of the crisis the U.S. is facing during the coronavirus pandemic — and according to Sargent, that only makes a terrible problem worse.

“In so many ways,” Sargent warns, “Trump is prioritizing the weaving of an illusory return to normalcy over taking steps within his power to make that actually happen. That’s actively dangerous. It could lead to substantially more lost lives.”


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