It's enough to drive us crazy. Immediately crazy.
One day after reading a roadmap of guidance to governors to gradually ease coronavirus orders, here was Donald Trump using Twitter in mid-day to yell LIBERATE Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia.
My instant reactions only confirmed after thinking about them:
- Even Trump does not believe Trump. Trump certainly does not believe the doctors.
- He thinks more coronavirus deaths are perfectly acceptable as a trade-off for people to return to work, but also to return to golf courses and such, which were the source of protest this week by Trump loyalists.
- The tweeter-in-chief attacked three Democratic governors whose states do not qualify for even the first of his open-ended categories for reopening.
- He is dangerous to the country and to my family.
- And, apparently, Trump has nothing to do in the middle of the day.
Trump just said some states are "too tough," adding, "I think elements of what they've done is too much and it's just too much," without delineating what orders have gone too far.
That's some leadership, for sure.
Just the day before, Trump waffled on whether he supported protesters who say they refuse to stay at home just to stop contagion. He said many people were suffering at home, adding importantly that these protesters are fans of his, but would listen to him as he agrees with most of the governors to continue to put health first.
You know, good people on both sides of the question.
Except that, as with that awful day in Charlottesville, Va., Trump doesn't disown the protests. He wants the trade-off, regardless of the words he was handed to read in the Rose Garden.
His tweets reflect his feelings, that's why he insists on reaching Americans directly, avoiding the questions of reporters who ask how he got turned around 180 degrees in a day. In effect, he encouraged protests against the stay-at-home restrictions aimed at stopping the coronavirus.
Testing, testing, testing
"LIBERATE MINNESOTA!" "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" "LIBERATE VIRGINIA," Trump said, adding a couple more to slap New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for noting that the president's roadmap had left out the critical question of widespread testing needs. Trump said Cuomo "should spend more time 'doing' and less time 'complaining'." Cuomo said Trump had moved the buck of handling coronavirus to governors without providing the bucks to do the testing job.
Indeed, Trump tweeted then that "The States have to step up their TESTING!"
Trump repeatedly, has expressed his desire to see businesses reopen quickly. Earlier this week, he said he has "total authority," only to step down to "allowing the governors" to now do the hard work of deciding when to re-open.
To help that effort, disease control officials drew up loose guidelines, which the White House watered down further to vague suggestions. The idea is setting up a three-step road to re-opening over several weeks in places that have robust testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.
Trump assured the nation's governors, "You're going to call your own shots."
Until yesterday, when the Twitter bug got hold of his phone.
States need federal support
Naturally, the governors involved all made politically appropriate remarks about how they already are dealing with these realities. But they noted widespread testing and contact tracing would require coordination and financial support in Washington.
In Michigan, where positive cases crossed 30,000 with 2,200 dead, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had already said that she hopes to begin reopening parts of the state's economy on May 1. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz had already said he was ready to ease rules on golf, boating, fishing and the like, so long as people were alone in those pursuits. And Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam noted that that commonwealth's 7,500 cases represented a doubling in a week.
All in all, one wonders what goes on in Trump's brain.
Apparently, although Trump appears nightly in his own version of Coronavirus Apprentice, he doesn't take in any of the information he spouts. The country has more than 670,000 cases, a quarter of the global cases, with 40,000 deaths. One would think that might cause the president some pause before hitting Send on his tweets.
The crisis also has cost at least 22 million Americans their jobs, pushing the unemployment rate toward levels not seen since the Great Depression. And Trump needs to blame someone.
So Democratic governors are especially useful, despite the fact that Maryland and Ohio might have to be LIBERATED.
Protesters have taken to the streets in Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and Michigan in what resemble rallies with MAGA hats and Trump flags. The protesters appear not to accept public health warnings that an easing of the shutdowns must be accompanied by wider testing and tracing of infected people to keep the virus from coming back with a vengeance.
Maybe I should send my own tweet: "THINK!"