What Now?! – April 18, 2020

President Trump appeared to back protesters in three states with Democratic governors who are gathering in opposition to extended stay-at-home orders and other restrictions meant to limit the spread of the coronavirus, The Hill reports.

“LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” Trump tweeted, followed quickly by a call to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

He then tweeted: “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”

New York Times: “Mr. Trump’s tweets were a remarkable example of a president egging on demonstrators.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his daily briefing that New York could not fully reopen its economy without more widespread testing, which could not be done “without federal help,” the New York Times reports.

He explained that the federal government was “passing the buck without passing the bucks.”

Before the briefing was over, President Trump tweeted: “Governor Cuomo should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining’. Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!”

Which allowed Cuomo to respond: “First of all, if he’s sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work, right? Second, let’s keep emotion and politics out of this, and personal ego if we can. Because this is about the people.”

“People aren’t going to put up with this. People instinctively know we got to get back to work. We have to reopen the economy. People instinctively know now that however bad this is, it isn’t as bad as they all told us.” — Rush Limbaugh, encouraging protests against social distancing on his radio show.

NBC News: “Trump’s tweets came after small protests by Trump supporters broke out in a handful of states, many of which were fueled by anti-vaccination and anti-government groups. Anti-government sentiment has percolated among far-right extremists in recent weeks over the stay-at-home orders governors have issued to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

“Trump’s tweets, however, pushed many online extremist communities to speculate whether the president was advocating for armed conflict, an event they’ve termed ‘the boogaloo,’ for which many far-right activists have been gearing up and advocating since last year.”

Joe Biden is mounting a new offensive against President Trump and his allies over the administration’s response to the coronavirus, NBC Newsreports.

The new digital campaign argues that Trump “was more worried about protecting his trade deal with China than he was about the virus that had already come to America.”

Andrew Sullivan: “Trump claims the powers of a tyrant, behaves like one, talks like one, struts like one, has broken every norm a liberal democracy requires, and set dangerous precedents that could enable a serious collapse in constitutional norms in the future.”

“But he doesn’t actually want to be a tyrant. It’s way too much work. It requires real management skills — and Trump has none. He wants to be treated like a king, regarded as a king, and fawned on like a king, but that’s about it. He seems only attached to power insofar as power is attached to fame, and fame without criticism helps assuage his acute and disordered psychic needs.”

Gallup: “Americans’ evaluations of the economy have abruptly turned negative amid the coronavirus pandemic. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is now -32, down from +22 in March.”

“The 54-point drop is the largest one-month change in Gallup’s trend dating back to 1992.. Just two months ago, economic confidence was the highest it had been in 20 years.”

“China’s economy shrank by 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, the first contraction since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, confirming the economic damage done by the coronavirus pandemic,” the South China Morning Post reports.

Associated Press: “Under the worst-case scenario with no interventions against the virus, Africa could see 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections… Even with ‘intense social distancing,’ under the best-case scenario the continent could see more than 122 million infections.”

“Any of the scenarios would overwhelm Africa’s largely fragile and underfunded health systems.”

“There is no question that if we’d had a president in charge who actually took their responsibility seriously, that we would probably be looking at a lot less damage than we have incurred. We watch every day the number of people infected and the number of people who are dead. We are every day hearing and watching stories about body bags. So, look, the buck stops with the president.” — Sen. Kamala Harris, in an interview with Vice.

Susan Glasser: “His two most memorable lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, proclaiming ‘absolute authority’ and ‘no responsibility at all,’ are wildly contradictory, and yet also completely consistent with his approach to governing.”

“The novel coronavirus is truly a new type of American crisis, but it has been met by the same old, same old from America’s President: unhinged press conferences and unfounded conspiracy theories; lies, attacks, and bizarre non sequiturs; and abrupt, seemingly incomprehensible policy shifts from a leader who has no problem changing course at the expense of his own credibility.”

“Just as cases are starting to plateau in some big cities and along the coasts, the coronavirus is catching fire in rural states across the American heartland, where there has been a small but significant spike this week in cases,” CNN reports.

“Playing out amid these outbreaks is a clash between a frontier culture that values individual freedom and personal responsibility, and the onerous but necessary restrictions to contain a novel biological threat.”

Fargo, North Dakota is so awash in gasoline, the fuel last week sold for a record 12 cents a gallon at the rack — its last stop before the pump, Bloomberg reports.

“In better times, the price dip would be a boon for gas station owners looking to snag low-cost supplies. But with fewer customers every day, gas pumps are becoming little more than makeshift storage for ballooning inventories.”

Jonathan Swan: “The level of concern about the economy is extreme in the senior ranks of the White House. Multiply everything you’re hearing by 100 to get a sense of the mindset, especially within the economic team. Top Trump aides are desperate to get the economy restarted to avoid a depression.”

“But the reason they’re not giving orders to reopen at any cost is that they believe a major second wave would all but guarantee prolonged economic calamity.”

“Testing for the coronavirus would have to be at least doubled or tripled from its current levels to allow for even a partial reopening of America’s economy, public health experts say, but it is unclear how soon such an ambitious goal could be reached amid persistent shortages of testing supplies and a lack of coordination from the Trump administration,” NBC News reports.

“Without diagnostic testing on a massive scale, federal and state officials and private companies will lack a clear picture of who has been infected, who can safely return to work, how the virus is spreading and when stay-at-home orders can be eased, public health experts say.”

Politico: “It’s a tried and true tradition in politics for leaders to harangue the other side publicly while quietly working behind the scenes to clinch a bipartisan deal. But the institution is hindered by the interpersonal relationships — or lack thereof — between the four leaders.”

“For Pelosi and McConnell, there are still hard feelings over how the last round of coronavirus negotiations played out. Pelosi and McCarthy have a limited working relationship, while Schumer and McConnell are standoffish at the best of times.”

“That dynamic makes governing in ordinary times a challenge. But now, some lawmakers note, the consequences are literally life and death. While party leaders bicker, critical funds for small businesses, hospitals and state and local governments are running out.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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