He doesn’t hate them when they agree with him

The Post reports the unsurprising news that Trump’s verbal attacks on scientists are not helping the response to COVID.

This week’s remarkable character assault by some top White House advisers on Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, signified President Trump’s hostility toward medical expertise and has produced a chilling effect among the government scientists and public health professionals laboring to end the pandemic, according to administration officials and health experts.

From Trump’s point of view that means it’s working. He wants them chilled.

Though Trump does not automatically distrust the expertise of public health officials, he is averse to any information or assessment that he considers “bad news,” that compromises his economic cheerleading message or that jeopardizes his reelection, according to several administration officials and other people with knowledge of the dynamic.

A distinction without a difference. “Trump doesn’t object to the expertise when it agrees with him.” Well no kidding; that’s the problem.

In addition to Fauci, the White House has repeatedly undermined and sidelined the CDC over the last several months, which prompted four former CDC directors to pen an op-ed in The Washington Post this week that argued no president had politicized the CDC to the extent that Trump has.

We don’t want to be exterminated by a gruesome torturous disease; that’s not political, it’s just basic survival.

Two of the White House officials with the closest and longest-standing ties to Trump, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino and trade adviser Peter Navarro, attacked Fauci this past week. Navarro penned an op-ed in USA Today in which he stated that Fauci was “wrong about everything,” while Scavino shared a cartoon on social media mocking Fauci as “Dr. Faucet,” drowning Uncle Sam with a deluge of “extra cold” water.

… Fauci said the push to discredit him was “bizarre,” telling the Atlantic, “If you talk to reasonable people in the White House, they realize that was a major mistake on their part, because it doesn’t do anything but reflect poorly on them.”

If you can find any reasonable people in the White House.

“It seems that some are more intent on fighting imagined enemies than the real enemy here, which is the virus,” said Thomas R. Frieden, a former CDC director and president of Resolve to Save Lives.

“The virus doesn’t read talking points,” Frieden said. “The virus doesn’t watch news shows. The virus just waits for us to make mistakes. And when we make mistakes, as Texas and Florida and South Carolina and Arizona did, the virus wins. When we ignore science, the virus wins.”

And when the virus wins – this is important – lots of people die, and lots of other people survive but with life-altering damage.

Trump in recent weeks has been committing less of his time and energy to managing the pandemic, according to advisers, and has only occasionally spoken in detail about the topic in his public appearances. One of these advisers said the president is “not really working this anymore. He doesn’t want to be distracted by it. He’s not calling and asking about data. He’s not worried about cases.”

That could be good news, because it could mean he’s interfering less. But as a fact about him – it’s execrable. Don’t worry about all these people dying on your watch, dude! Go play golf!

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