The Daily Beast, summarizing a paywalled report from The Financial Times:
President Trump was wary of making preparations for the
coronavirus pandemic because he was concerned doing so would sent
the stock market into a panic, the Financial Times reports. In a
quote attributed to an unnamed Trump confidant who is said to
speak to the president frequently, it’s claimed: “Jared [Kushner]
had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too
many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t
do it… That advice worked far more powerfully on [Trump] than
what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always
exaggerate.” Elsewhere in the FT investigation into Trump’s
handling of the coronavirus pandemic, an unnamed administration
official is reported to have told the paper that trying to advise
the president is like “bringing fruits to the volcano… You’re
trying to appease a great force that’s impervious to reason.”
People can’t get their head wrapped around this because it’s so grotesque, but it doesn’t require believing in a hidden conspiracy. Trump has told us, again and again, that he’s against testing because he doesn’t want “the numbers” to go up. In Trump’s view testing for COVID-19 is a bad idea because it’s going to reveal something he doesn’t want to be true.
Here he is again, just yesterday: “If we didn’t do any testing we would have very few cases.” He’s trying to argue that we have more cases than South Korea because we’ve done more tests — whereas the truth is that South Korea instituted widespread testing early and has the virus under control. The problem isn’t testing, the problem is sick people, and testing is a way to get a handle on the problem. Trump’s stance is like telling your girlfriend not to take a pregnancy test as birth control.
Also: Sarah Cooper is a national treasure.
★ Friday, 15 May 2020