Opinion Opinions | A viral plea to let grandparents sacrifice themselves captures a truth about Trump

20:15  24 march  2020
20:15  24 march  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Trump considering full pardon for ex-adviser Michael Flynn

  Trump considering full pardon for ex-adviser Michael Flynn U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he is considering a full pardon for his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about dealings with Russia's ambassador before Trump took office. © Reuters/JONATHAN ERNST Former national security adviser Flynn arrives for sentencing hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington Flynn sought to withdraw the guilty plea in January, arguing that prosecutors violated his rights and duped him into a plea agreement.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Dan Patrick wearing a suit and tie: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman) © Jay Janner/AP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman)

Everyone is talking about Dan Patrick’s on-air death plea.

Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas, touched off an outpouring of anger when he declared to Tucker Carlson that people like him — grandparents in their twilight years — should risk death so people can stop social distancing to avert economic calamity.

Flynn's lawyer touts Trump pardon consideration, calls case a ‘blight’ on justice system

  Flynn's lawyer touts Trump pardon consideration, calls case a ‘blight’ on justice system The attorney for former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Monday welcomed President Trump’s apparent consideration of a pardon for her client, calling the case against him -- which stemmed from the Russia probe -- a “blight” on the justice system. © Provided by FOX News The president on Sunday said he was “strongly considering” a "full pardon" for Flynn – whose case stemmed from the Russia probe – complaining the FBI “lost” records related to Flynn’s initial interview with federal investigators.

Why has this touched such a chord on social media?

I submit it’s because it captures something essential about President Trump, his response to coronavirus, and the vision of our responsibilities to one another underlying it — or, more accurately, the lack of any such vision.

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Patrick, a Republican, noted that it’s time to “get back to work,” adding that seniors such as him should be willing to be “sacrificed” if necessary, so our children don’t “lose our whole country” to an “economic collapse”:

No one reached out to me and said, “As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?” And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.

This is driving all the attention. But a crucial aspect of Patrick’s plea continues to elude us: He was offering his best argument in defense of Trump’s evolving position on what his government, and our society, should do in response to coronavirus.

Social distancing during coronavirus – sacrificing to keep those we love healthy

  Social distancing during coronavirus – sacrificing to keep those we love healthy Nana is lonely, frustrated and suffering. But even if I lived close, I would join with most responsible people in showing love by not visiting her.As of March 15 – when this piece is being drafted – I am sitting in a D.C.-area hospital. My second child has just been born, and my wife and I are missing church because of our infant’s vulnerability to a variety of illnesses, including potential vulnerability to the coronavirus.

Right now, Trump is actively considering relaxing federal recommendations on social distancing. As Trump put it, “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”

Health experts are screaming warnings. As Tom Inglesbe, the director of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, powerfully argues, the failure to test has dramatically undercounted the true numbers of those infected. This, plus a looming exponential surge in cases, almost certainly means that, if we don’t continue major social distancing, our health system will soon be overwhelmed.

Indeed, the World Health Organization is now warning that a major acceleration could turn the United States into the next coronavirus global epicenter.

But Trump plainly wants to ward off the coming economic downturn — no matter the cost — because he fears for his reelection. As the New York Times reports:

Mr. Trump has watched as a record economic expansion and booming stock market that served as the basis of his re-election campaign evaporated in a matter of weeks. The president became engaged with the discussion on Sunday evening, after watching television reports and hearing from various business officials and outside advisers who were agitating for an end to the shutdown.

Indeed, as Matt Gertz documents, Trump may have adopted the idea that “the cure is worse than the disease” almost verbatim from a segment on Fox News, which has pushed this line relentlessly.

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  Despite Trump’s lies for weeks, Americans have figured out the coronavirus is a big deal Voters know this is a big deal — and who waited too long.Americans have figured out that the coronavirus is a really big deal. The Pew Research Center finds that “70% of Americans say the COVID-19 outbreak poses a major threat to the nation’s economy and 47% say it is a major threat to the overall health of the U.S. population.” While only “27% say the coronavirus is a major threat to their personal health,” that may change as fatalities rise in their communities.

Dan Patrick’s plea

Patrick’s plea to Carlson was inspired by Trump himself. As Patrick noted, his “heart is lifted” by Trump’s suggestion that it might be time to go back to work.

“We’ve got a choice here,” Patrick said. “We’re going to be in a total collapse in our society if this goes on another several months. There won’t be any jobs to come back to.”

“As the president said, the mortality rate is so low,” Patrick concluded. “Do we have to shut down the country?”

Trump has not said the elderly should be prepared to sacrifice their lives, as Patrick did. But Trump’s framing of the broader choice at hand is very much like Patrick’s: We must get back to work, because he sees the risks posed to our economy by social distancing as more intolerable than the risks of relaxing it.

But the virus is the underlying cause of the threat to the economy. Indeed, it’s worse than this: As Will Wilkinson argues, the current Trump/Patrick line is that we should risk millions more dying, even though we’d only be guessing that relaxing social distancing would help the economy, when in fact the mounting deaths would take their own economic toll.

Craig Shirley: What coronavirus-era Americans can learn about sacrifice from the World War II generation

  Craig Shirley: What coronavirus-era Americans can learn about sacrifice from the World War II generation Sacrifice? commitment? Americans of the 21st century have no idea of the sacrifices made during World War II. Today’s Americans think sacrifice is when Starbucks runs out of cinnamon for their latte mochas.No doubt the coronavirus is real and scary. And there is talk in the air of World War II-style commitment, but staying home and binge-watching “The Simpsons” is not quite the sacrifice that their parents and grandparents made some 80 years ago. A lot more was involved.After Dec. 7, 1941, America went on a full war footing and not just the government.

But, in a way, the very indeterminate nature of this guesswork — by Patrick and Trump alike — is what captures an essential truth about Trump’s handling of this whole disaster.

We don’t have to accept this choice

What Trump is really proposing here — and what Patrick is justifying — is a further washing-of-hands of responsibility for this whole affair.

We don’t have to choose between unbearably high mass death totals and an economic collapse that dooms the American experiment. The government can send people money in sufficient sums and fortify the welfare state to save them from personal economic calamity, while bailing out small and large businesses with tight conditions that sagely protect taxpayers and working people.

As it happens, Trump and both parties appear close to a deal doing this. But Democrats had to drag Trump toward conditions on bailouts, and drag Republicans toward spending enough on protecting individuals.

Those things might not stave off a recession. But they will mitigate the effects, and surely the result will be worth living through to avert countless additional deaths. We could do more to mitigate those effects, if Trump and Republicans (and to a lesser extent, Democrats) were willing.

The federal government could have done this while also offering a robust response to the crisis from the outset that itself would have minimized deaths. But Trump didn’t do this, because he feared taking the novel coronavirus seriously would rattle the markets and imperil his reelection.

No, Trump Can’t Revive the Economy Through Human Sacrifice

  No, Trump Can’t Revive the Economy Through Human Sacrifice Some conservatives are eager to endorse trading thousands of lives for a stock market rally even though that isn’t actually an option.The economists had tried everything. They’d fiddled around with interest rates, raised taxes and then lowered them. But no matter what policy cocktail they served up, their forecasting model regurgitated the same sorry result: The recession would persist.

Indeed, Trump’s failure to take the coronavirus seriously continues right now: He still won’t use the federal government in the manner he should to get private companies to supply equipment. It’s in that context that we should view Trump’s directive for people to get back to work.

That directive becomes exponentially more irresponsible and dangerous, because Trump is advocating a course of action that will result in many more cases while also refusing to do everything possible to marshal the needed supplies for dealing with that coming tidal wave.

Patrick is telling us we should simply accept horrifying levels of sickness and death, on the indeterminate claim that it will somehow mitigate economic pain that we could mitigate through determined government action, if only the leadership were there to do so.

Trump would not put it quite this way. But this, at bottom, is what he’s asking us to accept. And we don’t have to.

Read more:

Dana Milbank: Trump risks the lives of millions to save himself

Eugene Robinson: Trump, as usual, is just making things worse

Robert J. Samuelson: Will the economy bounce back?

Opinions: We need smart solutions to mitigate the coronavirus’s impact. Here are five.

Arthur C. Brooks: How social distancing could ultimately teach us how to be less lonely

Biden: Fauci is a 'truth-teller' .
Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Monday that President Trump is right to include Dr. Anthony Fauci in the White House's coronavirus task force briefings, calling the country's top infectious disease doctor a "truth-teller.""What they're doing right is letting Dr. Fauci speak more often. He's a truth-teller," Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said in an interview with MSNBC.

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