Editorial: Eric Trump’s New COVID-19 “Hoax”: Lockdowns

In February 2020, as COVID-19 was gaining its foothold on America, the Trump administration was circulating various narratives vilifying the Democrats for their “role” in relation to the virus. In addition to the idea that the coronavirus crisis was overblown, or that it was a hoax, one of the predominant Trumpian claims was that the Democrats were hoping the virus would kill millions of people and destroy the economy so that Donald Trump would look bad and lose the 2020 election.

Now, in May, with 1.5 million cases and almost 90,000 deaths in the U.S., variations on this absurd line of thinking are still being pushed by some Trump allies. On Fox News this past Saturday, Eric Trump put forth a new version, accusing Democrats of “milking” the COVID-19 lockdowns put in place by state and local governments to help slow the spread of the virus. Eric Trump’s narrative about the lockdowns—and the story he wants the Trump base to believe—is that the Democrats are promoting the lockdowns in an effort to keep people at home and stop Donald Trump’s campaign rallies (another dastardly Dem plot to keep Trump from being re-elected).

“They think they are taking away Donald Trump’s greatest tool, which is being able to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every single time,” said Eric Trump. “You watch, they’ll milk it every single day between now and Nov. 3. And guess what, after Nov. 3 coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.”

In the way that some people who are ignorant of facts (like the fact that the coronavirus is a worldwide pandemic, and not just an American problem that will magically disappear in a day) but think they’ve slyly uncovered something sneaky, Eric Trump continued, “The Democrats are trying to deprive him (Donald Trump) of his greatest asset, which is that the American people love him, the fact that he’s relatable, the fact that he can go out there and draw massive crowds. Joe Biden can’t get 10 people in a room. My father is getting 50,000 in a room.” (Could not getting 10 people in a room have to do with the fact that Joe Biden is following those divisive lockdown guidelines?)

“And they want to do everything they can to stop it,” continued Eric. “So make no mistake, to a lot of them, this is a very cognizant strategy that they’re trying to employ. It’s no different than the nonsense they’re trying to throw into the Hope act, it’s no different than the mail-in voting they want to do in all of these places, its no different from their wanting illegal immigrants to vote in our country. It is a cognizant strategy.”

And as Eric Trump passes off what he’s saying as the truth to the Trump base tuned in to Fox News, the Trump base listens, repeats it, stretches it, posts memes about it on social media, and crowds into bars, restaurants, and churches to show that they’re not going to be taken in by this Democrat conspiracy to take down the president.

Likening media coverage of Trump’s impeachment, “the Russia thing,” and the “Ukraine scandal” to their criticism of the Administration’s (non)handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eric Trump called the media the Democratic party’s “propaganda arm.”

“They’re doing it for one reason,” he said. “They want to hurt Trump.”

What Eric Trump is saying is that Americans, Democrat or not, think the way the Trumps do. He is implying that Democrats, and state and local governments whom Trump believes are against him, are so self-serving and so lacking in empathy that their only focus right now, during a pandemic, is on taking down Donald Trump. State and local governments haven’t put in place social distancing and lockdown guidelines to help slow the spread of a deadly virus or protect the vulnerable, they just want to keep people away from Donald Trump’s rallies.

Does Eric Trump believe himself when he says these things? It doesn’t matter, because what’s important is that the base does.

Most Americans—most humans, if they’re not malignant narcissists—are shocked by this idea. And because it takes a malignant narcissist to be able to see any reasonableness behind such a motivation, the idea that Eric Trump and his ilk expect their base to believe such a suggestion says more about them than about the Democrats.

The U.S. leads the world in confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths. But Eric Trump, like his dad, wants to distract Trump’s base away from these frightening facts. The Trumps are willing to put the health, safety, and lives of Americans aside and make it all about Donald Trump’s re-election.

Using the base’s magical inciting vocabulary (“tyranny,” “personal liberty,” “communism/socialism,” etc.) Trump stirs them up to oppose the lockdown orders and social distancing guidelines. Told over and over again that the lockdowns are political, the base focuses its concern to Donald Trump’s re-election, disregarding caution to assemble in large gatherings where they’ll talk, sneeze, breathe, and cough possibly viral droplets onto each other.

Perhaps what’s even more troubling than the idea that a leader would encourage supporters put their health at risk by protesting guidelines put in place to keep them safe, is the fact that there are Americans who are willing to throw their lives on the line for a leader who has repeatedly shown, even by his very encouragement of their opposition to lockdowns, that he couldn’t care less whether they do live or die.

Eric Trump Says Coronavirus Will “Magically Go Away” After 2020 Election | Reflect [2020-05-17]

Draconian shutdowns ‘hurting Trump’s chance of re-election’ | Sky News Australia [2020-05-02]

Editorial: The Party of Trump is Anything but Pro-Life

It’s time the Trump administration, many GOP members of Congress, and Trump’s base own up to the fact that they are not pro-life. For decades, many Republicans have voted based on a single criterion: whether the candidate was “pro-life.” It’s been evident for nearly as long, though, that their much tossed-around phrase, “the sanctity of life,” is meaningless unless it can be used as a political weapon to fling at an opponent who supports abortion, or as an opportunity to squelch the rights of someone they perceive as morally or socio-economically inferior (women and people of color, for example).

We’re already too familiar with the frequent ways the pro-lifers defile the sanctity of life. We’ve observed how they advocate for babies as long as they’re unborn, yet vote against any forms of relief or assistance for them and their families once the babies are born. We’ve noticed how they oppose affordable or government-sponsored healthcare. We’ve seen how they purported to be concerned for human life when they opposed the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, or “Obamacare”), falsely spreading alarm about Obamacare “death panels” that they said would determine who (the elderly and infirm, for example) would get to live and who they might deem “not worth saving.”

They have voted for pro-life candidates, even if those candidates support other important policies they don’t agree with, and even if the candidates are corrupt (witness our current president). And they’ll vote against candidates who are ethical—religious, even— and whose platforms they otherwise agree with, if the candidate is not “pro-life.”

Some of them think it’s ok to pass such wacky legislation as making it a crime for a woman to have an ectopic pregnancy surgically removed (ectopic pregnancies are never viable pregnancies), and to charge licensed physicians who perform abortions with felony. That is how “pro-life” they claim to be.

With the advent of COVID-19 and local government leaders’ efforts to help mitigate its spread, however, “sanctity of life” has become inconvenient for pro-life conservatives who are against the lockdowns. Staying home, closing businesses to protect workers and customers, wearing masks, and taking other precautions to help slow the spread of the coronavirus have grown old.

When science presents information that threatens our comfort or our bank accounts, some politicize it and call it “tyranny.” Before America even reaches the peak of the COVID-19 spread—let alone a decline—these “pro-lifers” have been demanding that their leaders let Americans “get back to work” (and back to nail salons, gyms, churches, and crowded beaches).

In late March, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested that he and other older Americans should be willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the economy, which he said was in “mortal jeopardy” as a result of COVID-19-related shutdowns.

“Let’s get back to living,” Patrick (R) said. “Let’s be smart about it. And those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country.”

Many Americans found Lt. Governor Patrick’s comments chilling. It seems, however, that in recent weeks, Patrick’s idea has gradually begun to catch on among conservative lockdown protesters, whom we can now only laughingly refer to as “pro-life.”

Let’s repeat what Patrick was saying : Older Americans should be willing to be sacrificed for the good of our economy. (Remember those Obamacare “death panels” they kept clutching their pearls about?)

Many conservative state governors have fully re-opened their states against the advice of public health experts, citing the need to “save the economy” (and the lives of many be damned). Some restaurants, churches, and other areas where people congregate are now dangerously full of mask-less people in close contact with each other.

Public health experts have warned against opening up too soon; they’ve predicted a resurgence of the virus and an uptick in the number of deaths if we’re not cautious.

The relaxing of masks, social distancing, and other health precautions for the sake of “reopening” of the American economy could be a death sentence for many vulnerable Americans, who are at the mercy of the degree of prudence or carelessness (or stupidity) of those around them.

But public caution would require some inconvenience, as well as a hit on our bank accounts. Lockdown protesters in recent weeks have been clear on their position that even though it means more deaths, the economy needs to fully reopen, and reopen now.

It seems the “sanctity of life” is one of the first ideals to be jettisoned when it interferes with finances, re-election prospects, or…a hair appointment.

As long as all that’s required is to condemn abortion and perhaps stand outside an abortion clinic and yell epithets, it’s easy to profess to be “pro-life.” But for those “pro-lifers” who think it’s fine to sacrifice any number of human lives for the sake of their 401K or their “right” to crowd into churches, stores, and bowling alleys, it’s time they admitted that “pro-life” has nothing to do with what they stand for.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Claims Seniors Willing To Die Of Coronavirus For Economy | HuffPost [2020-03-24]

Blackwell presses pastor: How can you be pro-life and keep your church open? | CNN [2020-05-05]