Well, official data has now confirmed what I have been loudly shouting into the void since March: the coronavirus lockdowns produced the single largest decline in GDP in US history, even worse than the Great Depression. I have been saying this from Day One. This should not be a surprise to anyone, and really, in media res, the only thing I found shocking was how many people in government minimized the obvious economic impact of their policy decisions. This is why I am against bailouts of state and local governments. They can reap what they sowed for all I care. Go ahead and explain to your constituents how you blew up public services to spite the orange man.
And then there was the surprising fact that they thought the lockdowns would be productive. They weren’t. They did absolutely nothing to stop the spread of a highly contagious cold virus. And the measures were negated by other, disastrous policy decisions, like media hero Andrew Cuomo shoving known coronavirus cases into long-term care facilities by the thousands. The worst economic downturn in US history was completely manufactured from nothing and this country has literally nothing to show for it.
Is this Trump’s fault? Democrats are trying to make the case that it is, despite the fact that it’s the signatures of their governors and mayors that are on the executive orders mandating the lockdown. I do not think anyone but the most rabidly partisan leftist is confused on that point either. Approximately no one is going to forget the Democratic governors of Michigan and Vermont banning the sale of vegetable seeds and hair dye, much like no one buys into the idea that riots are “peaceful protests” that accidentally “intensified.” That breed of insane is one for the history books.
Trump’s biggest problem, in my humble opinion, is that he did nothing to stop this train wreck. He didn’t personally cause it. But he definitely made some popcorn and watched it unfold without putting up a meaningful fight. And I can’t un-see that.
Don’t get me wrong here, folks. Trump has endured more bullshit over the last few years than any mere mortal could bear. Democrats have harassed his administration with literally thousands of frivolous lawsuits (“lawfare,” as they like to call it, but it’s really just bratty children with law degrees collecting rent from American taxpayers). They have accused him of being a Nazi and wanting to fuck his own daughter. They hired a guy who hired a guy who hired a guy who hired a guy at Brookings to write a fake dossier about golden showers and how he’s a Russian puppet, and then they spent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars investigating a story they already knew was fiction BECAUSE THEY WERE THE ONES WHO HAD PAID TO PRODUCE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. They’ve incited riots in every urban area in the country, destroying literally billions of dollars in private property, and then they blame it on Trump for sending in his federal “stormtroopers,” who hurt the rioters’ feelings.
It is difficult to dislike Trump in this context, because every rational human being fully and completely understands that Democrats are moral trash. I’m not kidding. I have eschewed the people in my world who remain loyal to this party line, not because I loathe civil political discourse, but because I think they are irredeemable bad faith antisocial assholes, and I can’t even pretend to like people who think that way or pretend to care what they have to say on … any topic whatsoever.
But when it comes to the coronavirus, Trump has made his own bed. A billionaire businessman was not in the dark about what the economic impact of shutting down the economy for weeks and then months would be. I guarantee you that if I could predict it in March, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, who cut his teeth at Goldman Sachs, could too.
But Trump has chosen to surround himself with morons every time he does anything that involves campaigning. “Be a wartime president,” they whispered in his ear, “everyone will love you for it.” This is your chance at greatness, buddy, holding dramatic press conferences while the world burns. Let the arsonists do what they will do. And he did. And they did.
No one elected me president, but if I were president, those press conferences would have looked a lot different. I would not have created a brand for a dork political operative like Fauci, just like I would not have let a RINO like Rod Rosenstein effectively run the Justice Department. You do not have to be a political savant to understand these were bad ideas. Fauci’s not some cutting-edge scientist; the dude is almost 80, for crying out loud. He should be day-drinking his golden years away in Florida, not telling people they need to be wearing masks and goggles because muh virus. And his name had already been made famous during the Wikileaks email dump for his message fawning over Hillary Clinton. What did you think was going to happen? Trump’s tragic flaw, time after time, is that he is a poor judge of character.
If I had seen governors and mayors issuing executive orders banning all economic activity, I would not have sat there. I would have stripped them of every dime of federal funding immediately until they reversed course. And don’t tell me I am Monday morning quarterbacking here, as I have receipts. That is the kind of bully for the people we needed back then, and we did not get it because Trump’s people thought a crisis would make him look great. Because nothing says “I am an awesome leader” like letting government totally collapse.
Now Trump is trying to pick a fight with Democrats over mail-in ballots, trolling them with the proposal that the election should not happen because they think it is so profoundly unsafe to go vote, while they have no problem standing in line for petunias at Lowe’s or rioting by the thousands. Fine, troll away. Everyone with a brain knows why the Democrats want mail-in ballots. We are about a hundred years deep into jokes about the integrity of voting in Chicago.
But at the end of the day, we need a leader who will man the fuck up already about this coronavirus. Start withholding funding. Start opening up DOJ investigations into fake data and the suppression of ideas on social media. Go raid a tech company and see how they want to play after that.
If you want to be a wartime president, Mr. Trump, then maybe consider going to fucking war.