‘Wartime President’ Donald Trump: Dear America, You’re on your own

Over two weeks ago, Donald Trump embraced the idea of being a "wartime president." Yet more than two months into an unprecedented attack on our country, Trump continues to push the nation ever deeper into the hole he dug through his punishing ineptitude. All the while, the so-called “wartime president” has inexplicably refused to employ the powers uniquely vested in him as president to help the country claw its way back out. Far from leading, Trump has ensured the coronavirus will wreak "vicious" (to borrow his term), extensive, and prolonged damage on the nation he pretends to lead in front TV cameras every day.  

First and foremost, Trump still has not issued a national stay-at-home order. Even Trump's de facto coronavirus spokesperson, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, seems baffled by the inaction as the U.S. now dominates the world in confirmed coronavirus cases and our hospitals buckle under a crush of patients requiring critical care. “If you look at what’s going on in this country, I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that,” Fauci told CNN Thursday of a national directive from the president. 

On Sunday, Trump did extend voluntary social distancing guidelines through the end of April. But Washington Post reporter Ashley Parker explained on MSNBC Thursday that Trump was largely backed into a corner on the issue. Since about half the states had already implemented statewide stay-at-home orders at the time, Trump came to the "realization" that he couldn't "overrule the governors." It's classic lead-from-behind posturing. Trying to get the nation back to work would have just made Trump look weak, so he caved. 

Nonetheless, Trump still spent the week dithering on whether GOP governors like Ron DeSantis of Florida—widely viewed as an emerging hotspot with an extremely vulnerable retiree population—should implement a statewide directive. DeSantis finally did issue that order Wednesday, specifically saying he took Trump's extension of the national guidelines as "a signal" that "it’s a very serious situation." In other words, DeSantis used an action Trump was forced into taking as cover for finally issuing a directive he should have given weeks ago when spring break revelers started flooding Florida's beaches. Yet in the mold of Trump, DeSantis left giant holes in the statewide directive—still excluding beaches (though many counties have acted on their own) and religious services. Still, by week's end, nearly 40 states had issued statewide stay-at-home orders of some kind. Naturally, all the remaining holdouts were headed by Republican governors.

But what is made glaringly obvious by the hodgepodge of varying statewide directives amid the nation’s most massive public health emergency in a century is the chasmal lack of leadership coming from the nation's chief executive. Trump's extraordinary failure started with testing—which continues to be in short supply to this day and is presently dooming the capacity of rural states to contain the virus just like it kneecapped New York at the outset. Every day the federal government continues in its failure to make efficient testing widely available, the country is paying the price in lost lives and extended economic fallout. There is simply no way to contain a virus when you can’t track where it is. 

Next Trump has failed a million times over to provide the proper medical equipment needed so badly by hospitals across the country, with the shortage presently being felt most acutely in New York. Medical workers have been forced to protest for this life-saving medical gear even as Trump simultaneously accused them of stealing the materials this week. Trump has also refused to use the power of the federal government to centralize both the production and distribution of this material, which has left states and counties bidding against each other—and even the federal government—to obtain the precious resources. 

“It’s like being on eBay with 50 other states, bidding on a ventilator,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo explained at a press conference this week. "And then FEMA gets involved and FEMA starts bidding. And now FEMA is bidding on top of the 50," Cuomo added of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

But the bidding war is just one of an exponential number of insurmountable hurdles states have confronted in getting the equipment they need. Some materials are arriving in unusable condition, such as rotten masks or broken ventilators (which are extraordinarily complex, parts-intensive machines). The distribution of materials is also entirely inequitable and based on preferential treatment rather than who needs the resources and when. In theory, since the apex of the crisis is staggered for states across the country, the nation should be able to pool resources to deploy on an as-needed basis around the nation. Instead, a state like Florida has gotten the full complement of materials its governor requested from the federal government because Trump considers the state "so important for his reelection," as one White House official put it. Meanwhile, Trump has publicly questioned whether New York really needed as many ventilators as Gov. Cuomo estimated and then turned around and blamed Cuomo for not having enough to begin with. "They should've had more ventilators," Trump said Friday, refusing to reassure New Yorkers they would get the ventilators they so desperately need. Trump’s latest coronavirus czar Jared Kushner also said Thursday that the federal government finally made a shipment of much-needed N95 masks to New York after Trump heard “from friends” there that the city was running low on critical supplies. Not the governor, not the hospitals, “friends.”  Trump has also singled out certain governors for abuse and derision. "Don't call the woman in Michigan," Trump told Vice President Mike Pence last week of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who had dared to suggest the state needed more help from the federal government.

Finally, there's the matter of national messaging, which Trump has personally screwed six ways to Sunday. Friday, Trump provided yet another perfect example of his bungling when he announced new CDC guidelines urging people nationwide to wear nonsurgical masks when they're out in public. Moments later Trump stressed that the guidelines were strictly voluntary and he would likely ignore them personally. 

"It's voluntary, you don't have to do it," Trump said. "I don't think I'm going to be doing it."

Frankly, trying to sum up the massive deficit of coherent leadership from the White House and the president himself at this most urgent moment in our history is nearly impossible. Team Trump hasn't just consistently failed the American people, it has undoubtedly and irrevocably made matters worse. More Americans will die. More Americans will suffer profound financial hardship. More Americans will never see a loved one again. 

New York-based disaster preparedness Dr. Irwin Redlener was almost speechless Friday while trying to explain the scale of the ineptitude we are witnessing. "I can't understand why we got so incompetent," said Dr. Redlener, whose son works as an ER doctor in New York and has already lost colleagues close to him. Redlener said he had been reviewing the impeachment articles that were passed by the House and acquitted by the Senate. "They seem naive compared to the incompetence we're seeing in this pandemic crisis, it's shocking," he said, adding, "it did not need to be like this."

No, it did not. Competence matters. Government matters. Public service matters. Integrity matters. Humanity matters. Life matters. 

Trump doesn't value a single one of those things as they relate to anyone but himself. Not one. Our country will be paying the price exacted by his hideousness for years if not decades to come, not to mention the incalculable toll on each and every one of us individually. 

Early last year, two top Trump officials said threat of a deadly pandemic kept them up at night

Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that "nobody" could have possibly foreseen the potential for a deadly plague sweeping across the globe. "Nobody knew there'd be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion," Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden on March 19. "Nobody has ever seen anything like this before."

Actually, anyone who was a student of history had seen something like this before. In fact, two of Trump's top administration officials foreshadowed exactly this type of disaster in their public remarks at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019.

"The thing that people ask: 'What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?' Pandemic flu, of course," said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, according to CNN. "I think everyone in this room probably shares that concern." (Seems Trump wasn't in the room.)

Tim Morrison, then senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense on the White House National Security Council (NSC), told the gathering he had reviewed a book about the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 in order to prepare his remarks. 

"When people ask me what am I really worried about, it's always the thing we're not thinking about," Morrison said. The Spanish flu outbreak, he noted, killed "more people than any other outbreak of disease in human history" in terms of raw numbers. Issues "like that" were what kept him up at night, Morrison added. (Seems Trump was sleeping soundly.)  

Morrison resigned from the NSC last October, just before testifying at the House impeachment hearings about Trump's desire for Ukraine to announce a politically advantageous investigation before he would release U.S. aid to the country. 

At least once a day nearly every day, we find out that Trump either ignored or entirely debilitated some early-warning signal about the potential for a horrifying pandemic to take hold in the U.S. Friday we learned that some of Trump's top officials were indeed concerned about such a fate—he just ignored them or pushed them out of his administration. We also discovered that last fall Trump defunded an early-warning program for pandemics just a couple months before the first reports of the novel coronavirus started coming out of China. Twofer. 

Senate Republicans have no excuse for their piss-poor coronavirus response. No excuse whatsoever

As the U.S. death toll due to the novel coronavirus climbs, congressional Republicans want to make sure they aren't left holding the bag for the federal government's piss-poor response in the early days of the burgeoning crisis. This week, GOP lawmakers have been trying out a new excuse: impeachment. That's right—that moment when 52 of 53 Senate Republicans voted to acquit Donald Trump, ensuring he would be at the helm right as the country was facing a burgeoning public health crisis unlike any seen in decades.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave their new excuse a test run on Tuesday during an interview with a conservative radio host, arguing impeachment had "diverted the attention of the government.” Later Tuesday, Trump himself shot that idea down, saying, “I don't think I would have done any better had I not been impeached." But after being singularly responsible for voting to keep the most incompetent president in history in charge of the federal response to a pandemic, Senate Republicans are pretty desperate to pin the blame on Democrats. 

“It’s unfortunate that during the early days of a global pandemic, the Senate was paralyzed by a partisan impeachment trial,” Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton told Politico in a deeply reported piece on the congressional response. A GOP aide added, “The entire executive branch was consumed by impeachment, and it totally distracted Congress, too.” But for impeachment, the aide said, there would have been "a lot more public oversight to scrutinize all of this.”

So on one hand, Republicans are pinning the blame on Democrats for being the only party responsible enough to hold Trump accountable for trying to extort a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 elections. On the other hand, Republicans want the public to believe the party that has spent the last decade obsessed with stripping some 20 million Americans of health care access was suddenly going to take a keen and pointed interest in, well, health care.

Of course, when Republicans had the chance to feign interest in the issue, they didn’t. Here’s what happened: On Jan. 24, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held an all-Senators briefing on the novel coronavirus. It was poorly attended, with only about 14 senators present according to Politico. But that was the briefing that first kicked off an urgent round of stock sell-offs by several GOP senators and a Democratic one. Nonetheless, the bipartisan statement following the briefing from U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Patty Murray of Washington, Jim Risch of Idaho, and Bob Menendez of New Jersey was rather bland, saying they were "monitoring the outbreak" and thanking administration officials for the briefing. "The safety of U.S. citizens here domestically, as well as in China and other affected countries, is our first priority," read the statement. "We will continue to work closely with administration officials to ensure the United States is prepared to respond.”

That's about the level of urgency one might expect from any bipartisan statement. But it was Senate Democrats who picked up from there. On Jan. 26, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged the federal government to declare the novel coronavirus a public health emergency in order to free up $85 million previously allocated funds to battle infection diseases. 

“Should the outbreak get worse they’re going to need immediate access to critical federal funds that at present they can’t access,” Schumer told reporters at his Manhattan office. At that point, just four cases had been confirmed in the U.S. after the first positive test had been confirmed in Washington State on Jan. 20. “We aren’t here to propel panic or stoke fear, but to rather keep a good proactive effort by the CDC from going on interrupted,” Schumer said.

Two days later, Washington Sens. Murray and Maria Cantwell sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting continued updates on the nation's capacity to respond to the highly infectious disease.

“We write to express concern about the rapidly evolving 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), to urge your continued robust and scientifically driven response to the situation, and to assess whether any additional resources or action by Congress are needed at this time,” Murray and Cantwell wrote. “A quick and effective response to the 2019-nCoV requires public health officials around the world work together to share reliable information about the disease and insight into steps taken to prevent, diagnose, and treat it appropriately.”

It was also Democrats that pushed for an emergency supplemental funding bill to combat the virus at a private briefing on the matter with Sec. Azar on Feb. 5—the day Senate Republicans ultimately voted to acquit Trump on charges that he had abused his power and obstructed Congress. After leaving that closed-door meeting, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut was apoplectic about the nonchalance of Trump officials. “[T]hey aren’t taking this seriously enough,” he tweeted. “Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now.” 

The first sign the Trump administration might be taking the novel coronavirus seriously originally came on Jan. 31, when the White House issued a ban on travelers from China and declared the public health emergency Schumer had been pushing for.

However, Trump spent the entirety of the next month downplaying the threat. At a Feb. 10 campaign rally, Trump declared, “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away." He mocked "Cryin' Chuck Schumer" on Feb. 25 for urging Trump to ask for more than $2.5 billion for an initial supplemental to respond to the novel coronavirus. On Feb. 26, Trump predicted at a White House briefing that in a couple of days the number of coronavirus cases in the nation would be "down to close to zero," adding, "that’s a pretty good job we’ve done." Mission accomplished. 

The only thing Trump was really focused on after Senate Republicans voted to clear him in early February was a complete and total purge of nonloyalists in his administration and getting back to his beloved campaign rallies. 

On Feb. 13, Trump tweeted, "We want bad people out of our government!”

On Feb. 21, the Washington Post reported, "President Trump has instructed his White House to identify and force out officials across his administration who are not seen as sufficiently loyal, a post-impeachment escalation that administration officials say reflects a new phase of a campaign of retribution and restructuring ahead of the November election."

Trump tapped Johnny McEntee, a 29-year-old personal aide and former body man to the president, to run that operation. Top officials at the Defense Department and White House National Security Council were forced out. The White House was also combing through people at the Justice and State Departments. No mention in the article of the novel coronavirus or elevating people with solid expertise and time-tested credentials in certain aspects of governing. Trump was laser-focused on beefing up his administration with the lard of loyalists. He needed more sycophantic “yes” men, people who would feed his emaciated ego. That was Trump’s main focus in February as he started eyeing his reelection campaign.

Throughout February, the main thing that became clear both in public and private was that most top Trump officials exhibited a distinct lack of urgency about the coming pandemic. In addition, with very few exceptions, Senate Republicans weren't using any leverage to get Trump to act. Almost to a person, Senate Republicans continued to be dismissive about the threat, especially in their public statements. 

Meanwhile, starting in late January, Senate Democrats started sounding the alarm bells both behind closed doors and publicly. Some of the most vocal among them were Sens. Schumer, Murray, Murphy, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was also running for president and pushed hardest on the issue among the remaining Democrats in the race.

Even by March 10, when Trump went to huddle with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill, he was still selling the American people a bill of goods about the catastrophe ahead. The novel coronavirus would simply "go away, just stay calm," Trump told reporters, adding, "it's really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen." Senate Republicans just smiled along, giddily grinning ear to ear as Trump minimized the threat. For his part, McConnell announced he would simply step aside and let House Speaker Nancy Pelosi negotiate the first major coronavirus relief package directly with the White House. 

By the time Pelosi had finished those painstaking negotiations and passed the relief bill through her chamber on Saturday, March 14, McConnell was nowhere to be found. He had recessed the Senate and skipped town for a long weekend away. Ultimately, the Senate would delay passing the bill—intended in part to help struggling Americans through dire financial times—for another four days.

Trump obliterates Republican excuse for his abysmal coronavirus response

President Donald Trump actually made at least one true statement during Tuesday’s White House briefing on the novel coronavirus. When it comes to the way he handled the administration’s response, he wasn’t affected one bit by impeachment. “I don't think I would have done any better had I not been impeached,” Trump told reporters, when asked whether the impeachment process impeded his response.

Trump’s response basically destroyed one of Republican lawmakers’ favorite new talking points. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a conservative radio host on Tuesday that impeachment had "diverted the attention of the government.” It was nothing if not an admission that Trump and GOP lawmakers totally fumbled the ball on this public health disaster. If anyone thought they were really doing a great job, Republicans would be cooing about how wonderfully they’ve managed the response. The real question is, why did Senate Republicans vote to keep the ever-incompetent Trump in charge when they very clearly had a sense of the calamity that lay ahead for the country?

Of course, Trump is delusional enough to think he’s been just great. “Did it divert my attention?” Trump said during the White House briefing. “I think I'm getting A-pluses for the way I handled myself during a phony impeachment, okay? It was a hoax.” Trump said he may have thought about impeachment, but added, “I don't think I would have done any better had I not been impeached, okay?”

Trump isn’t getting A-pluses.

Impeachment wasn’t a hoax.

But he was constitutionally incapable of mounting an aggressive, coordinated response to this crisis. So—ding ding ding!—impeachment or no impeachment, Trump wouldn’t have done any better. Correct.

Senate Republicans knew the country was facing disaster yet still voted to keep Trump in office

After a week during which the nation began to watch the coronavirus horrors we have seen play out in other countries finally make their way into our own hospitals, it's worth remembering the active role Senate Republicans played in getting us here. During the critical early handling of the virus here in the U.S., senators from both parties had a window into what was to come—well before the virus had even made the radar of most Americans. 

But instead of focusing on preparing for a potential pandemic in the making, Senate Republicans were busy staging a sham no-witness impeachment trial for Donald Trump so they could ultimately vote to acquit him, ensuring that Trump would be at the helm as the nation faced the greatest public health crisis in a century. That trial began on Jan. 16 and concluded on Feb. 5 with Trump's acquittal. But that critical three-week period also included early warning signs that U.S. senators, in particular, were privy to. As one U.S. official told The Washington Post about the intelligence reporting shared with both Trump officials and members of Congress in January, "Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were -- they just couldn't get him to do anything about it. ... The system was blinking red."

On Jan. 20, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus here in the U.S., a Washington man who had recently returned from visiting Wuhan, China, the city where the disease had first taken hold.

On Jan. 24, the Senate Health and Foreign Relations Committees hosted a private, all-senators briefing on the coronavirus with Trump health officials, including the CDC director and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. That date has gained some notoriety in the past week as reports emerged that four U.S. senators began dumping stock shortly after that briefing. In fact, one of them, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, reported her first stock sale on that very day. GOP Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma sold at least $180,000 in stocks on Jan. 27.

But the most glaring case was Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina unloading up to $1.7 million in stocks on Feb. 13 after getting access to all the latest intelligence on the virus as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Burr was also briefed on Feb. 12 by government health experts about overall national preparedness and how an epidemic might impact the U.S. In fact, there's no question Burr was alarmed by what he was hearing because he ultimately relayed a very stark assessment of the catastrophe ahead during a private meeting with wealthy constituents in late February.

Bottom line: Republican senators were getting a window into the calamity the U.S. might be facing in just a couple of months’ time. GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa put out a statement on Feb. 4 saying the panel he heads, the Senate Finance Committee which oversees the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), had just been briefed by the National Security office within HHS.

“The coronavirus doesn’t appear to pose any imminent threat to Americans who have not recently traveled to the Hubei province of China," he said in a statement, downplaying the threat. “For now, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control have the resources needed to prevent any significant contagion from spreading into the United States. If more resources are needed, Congress stands at the ready."

The following day, Feb. 5, Grassley and 51 of his Republican colleagues voted to clear Trump of wrongdoing and keep him in office—every GOP senator except Mitt Romney of Utah.

They knew. They voted to keep Trump in charge. They own it. Never forget.

Coronavirus reshuffles battle for the House, boosting Democratic prospects

Just two months ago, the House impeachment and subsequent Senate acquittal of Donald Trump was the talk of Washington. Throughout the fall, GOP-aligned groups had blasted House Democrats with ads attacking their votes to impeach Trump. The conservative American Action Network had already dumped $11 million into targeting Democrats over impeachment, but by early February all those ads had been pulled, according to Politico

Now everyone's reassessing. After a political year that featured a record-setting government shutdown, the conclusion of the Mueller investigation, and a historic impeachment vote, the coronavirus has shifted the political calculus all over again—and likely for the long haul.

“This is just going to dominate American life through Election Day,” one Democratic strategist who tracks House campaigns told Politico. This week, a Democratic super PAC said it was making its first calculated foray into messaging on the coronavirus—a $5 million digital ad buy criticizing Trump’s response to the pandemic. But for the most part, strategists in both parties are trying to figure out how to calibrate both their messaging and fundraising so as not to be seen as capitalizing on a national tragedy that is also wreaking havoc around the world.

One group of lawmakers breathing a sigh of relief in particular is freshman Democrats who flipped conservative seats blue in 2018. Republicans had tagged that bloc for special treatment after House Democrats voted to impeach Trump last fall. Now, however, that vote doesn't carry the baggage Republicans had hoped it would. In fact, Trump's supremely dismal leadership has put that vote in a whole new light, even for the Democrats who took it.

“Some of his reaction and what he says — ‘I didn’t want the people off that boat because I like the numbers where we are’ — that reminds me of the president we impeached. Because, again, it’s about thinking of the self-interest ahead of the nation," said New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski, a freshman Democrat who flipped a Republican-held seat in 2018.

Democrats will have plenty of chances moving forward to skewer Trump’s leadership in the critical early stages of this epidemic using his own words. In fact, Trump’s repeated assertions that the virus was “under control” when it was clearly spiraling out of control, and his persistent failure to take responsibility during the crisis will continue to compromise the position of Republican lawmakers straight through November. 

White House halts participation in congressional coronavirus hearings

The White House has told Congress that it's simply too busy to spare the time to testify at any coronavirus hearings, at least until the end of March, according to Roll Call. “While the Trump Administration continues its whole-of-government approach to stopping the spread of COVID-19, it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in response efforts appearing at congressional hearings,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement Wednesday. 

Apparently, "whole-of-government" doesn't include Congress in the view of the White House. The blackout approach to information sharing with Congress was outlined in a memo obtained by Roll Call. “We remain respectful of the essential role of Congress in this effort and we look forward to working with Congress closely as we all rise to meet this challenge,” the memo read.

Frankly, it's hard to believe anyone in the West Wing even bothered to write that line. The Trump administration has made it crystal clear that it views Congress's "essential role" as entirely subservient to that of the executive branch. In everything from basic congressional oversight to the impeachment inquiry to the most threatening public health epidemic in a century, the Trump administration has spiked cooperating with Congress at every turn. 

The only difference this time around is that the White House isn't exclusively stiff-arming House Democrats. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was forced to cancel a hearing Wednesday that lawmakers had arranged to livestream publicly. Lawmakers had lined up witnesses from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration.

That hearing has been postponed indefinitely while the White House continues the "whole-of-government" response it adopted several days ago after Donald Trump finally realized his delusional world was no match for a highly contagious virus that threatens to kill nearly 1% of the people who get it or more, depending on available care for the most critical cases.

Let’s just stop and review what a useless bunch of creatures Senate Republicans really are

Our first clue that Senate Republicans planned to be exactly useless for the entirety of the 116th Congress was when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, backed by his caucus, conspicuously stood on the sidelines for weeks on end during what turned into the longest government shutdown in history, from Dec. 22, 2018—Jan. 25, 2019. Donald Trump alone manufactured that shutdown by demanding that nearly $6 billion in border wall funding be tucked into the budget deal, and McConnell decided he would simply let Nancy Pelosi and her newly elected majority tame Trump rather than help find a solution. 

In fact, McConnell seemed to have a good sense of exactly how useless Senate Republicans would be pretty early in Trump's administration. After the GOP-led Congress squandered most of 2017 on its Obamacare repeal debacle, Republicans just barely squeezed out their tax giveaway to the rich and powerful before the end of the year on December 20, 2017. By February 2018, McConnell was already selling his Senate majority as being "in the personnel business"—he just forgot to add the word, exclusively. And while it's undoubtedly true that McConnell's Senate has reshaped the federal courts by pushing through some 190 judges since Trump took office, it did so to the exclusion of almost all legislative work. Gloating over his chamber's unique lack of productivity, McConnell even embraced the nickname "Grim Reaper" for making his Senate the place where the people's business goes to die. McConnell has single-handedly refused to consider more than 400 bills passed by Pelosi’s House of Representatives.

Wanna restore sane leadership to the Senate? Give $3 right now to give Mitch the boot!

As for the one major piece of legislation Senate Republicans did manage to pass, that tax bill has now ballooned the deficit to nearly $1 trillion, hamstringing the government's ability to respond to a sudden jolt to the economy like the coronavirus. 

Speaking of which, McConnell's now running his "let Pelosi handle it" 2.0 play, tagging House Democrats with the sole responsibility of negotiating an economic response to the crisis with the White House. 

Simultaneous to that dereliction of duty, Republicans have stayed almost completely mum as Trump has spewed harmful lie upon harmful lie about the coronavirus. In fact, when Trump went to visit with the do-nothing GOP caucus Tuesday (because he refuses to meet with Pelosi), Trump told reporters the coronavirus would simply "go away, just stay calm," adding, "It's really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen." No. Hard no. A lot of good things are not happening. But to date, Senate Republicans have taken a total pass on correcting any of Trump's disinformation campaign.

Instead, they seem pretty content to rest on their success of banding together to run a sham impeachment trial with zero witnesses and ultimately vote to keep the most corrupt president in American history in office.

And by single-handedly refusing to remove Trump, Senate Republicans can now proudly share the credit for the epic economic and public health crisis that is quickly rippling through the country now. Heckuva job, Mitchy. See you in November.

 

Trump too personally wounded by Pelosi to negotiate with her on coronavirus stimulus deal

After accusing Democrats of falsely hyping the coronavirus to hurt him, Donald Trump is now in need of Democratic votes for an economic stimulus package for the country. Indeed, GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Senate would simply step aside and let House Speaker Nancy Pelosi negotiate a deal directly with the White House.

Unfortunately, Trump, master deal maker and negotiator savant, won't be involved in those talks, instead Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will take the lead. According to NBC reporter Eamon Javers, Trump feels too personally wounded by impeachment and other interactions with Pelosi to get in a room with her and pound out a plan to help the country weather the coronavirus. "It doesn't seem like that would end well," Javers said of the thinking of White House aides about trying to get Trump and Pelosi together.

"What the White House would say is, that's Pelosi's fault," Javers explained, "because she ripped up his speech, she's been tough on him, she impeached him and therefore the president has every right to not want to be in a room with her."

So to review: Trump blamed Democrats for stoking concerns over the coronavirus; the stock market crashed because the coronavirus is a real thing; now Trump needs Democrats to dig himself out of a hole after he promised the virus was a nothingburger; but Trump's a little too fragile and spiteful to sit across the table from Pelosi in order to make a deal to help steer the nation through this global public health crisis.

That doesn't sound like someone who should be running the country, that sounds like someone who should be having a pretty epic time out until such time as he can play nice again with the other children.

Here’s the clip

YouTube Video

 

GOP lawmakers ‘on edge’ as they watch Trump’s abysmal coronavirus response sink their reelections

In the annals of make-or-break political moments for a president, life and death situations often loom largest. The Iran Hostage Crisis and Hurricane Katrina come to mind immediately for helping to sink the approvals of a president who never quite recovered and indeed helped doom his party in the upcoming election. Katrina, for instance, shook America's confidence in the competence of the George W. Bush White House, helping Democrats notch massive wins the following year during the midterms that flipped control of both the House and the Senate. By the time Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he had the benefit of historic Democratic majorities to help him usher in a major change to America’s health system.

Now Senate Republicans hoping to hang on to their seats in November are fretting as they watch Donald Trump's bungled coronavirus response. After holding a sham impeachment trial and acquitting Trump of any wrongdoing, Republicans have now cosigned every disastrous mistake Trump makes. Among the things Republicans have gifted to America in this moment are Trump’s stunning incapacity for human empathy and total inability to understand even the most basic public health concerns. According to the Washington Post, Trump's GOP allies on the Hill have become "unsettled" and "on edge" as they watch Trump's overwhelming incompetence in the face of a life-threatening crisis.

Let’s give Senate Republicans the boot! Give $3 right now to help restore responsible leadership to the Senate this November. 

“It’s really bad for those who have kind of hitched their wagon to the president ahead of this year’s election and are relying on him and his base,” former senator Jeff Flake told the Post, in an admission more candid than any sitting GOP senators would be willing to make. 

Democrats, however, are plenty eager to state the obvious. 

“I don’t think we can ignore how disastrous their performance has been,” Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said of Trump and his administration. “In many ways this was the moment we feared: a true security threat to the nation and a president who can’t tell the truth, who can’t organize a consistent response, and doesn’t have enough experienced people on the job.”

Meanwhile, Trump's been openly mocking the media's coronavirus hysteria to his campaign donors. “It’s not that big of a deal,” Trump said at one event. Presumably that was before the stock market suffered its worst drop on Monday in over a decade. Trump sure rushed to the cameras after that Monday evening to reassure the markets and congratulate himself on how great his administration has been handling the crisis.

Speaking of which—congratulations to all the congressional Republicans who helped make Trump's stellar response possible. See you in November.