Whatever you might think of David Frum, he does seem to have the number of the phenomenon called Trumpism especially as it is now trying to save itself before the retreat to the bunker.
Like Trump’s tweets, diversion and distraction are the gonads in his bag of tricks. Diametric opposites and misdirection are the propaganda tools for Trump. Trump(ists)can swap new lies for old ones in his deranged worldview.
Trump’s open vassalage to Russia can be both affirmed and denied by MSM, much like the Mueller Report stopping short of indictments like the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion. Frum shows us the strange pivoting by Trumpists as COVID-19 reveals more Trump post-impeachment incompetence and the hundreds of thousands of deaths on the horizon.
The personalities on Fox News executed a similarly abrupt and total pivot on March 13, 2020. The Washington Post produced a stark before/after anthology of the same hosts saying precisely opposite things a few days apart.
Yet the many weeks of denial have had their effect. An Economist poll released March 18 found that only 38 percent of Fox News viewers took the virus seriously, half as many as among MSNBC and CNN viewers. For Trump’s sake, Fox risked the lives of its own audience.
Like the old Moscow-line Communists, the upholders of the Trump party line now need an excuse for their long history of denial and deception. They insisted it was not Trump’s fault that he, and they, squandered precious weeks and that his administration is suddenly dithering and failing. No, no, Trump’s failure was China’s fault! Did video evidence contradict the Trump party line? They accused anyone who recalled the truth of repeating Chinese propaganda.
The Trump party line swaps new lies for old. Whereas once the ideological enforcers called concern over the virus a hoax, now they say that it’s a hoax to remember they said it was a hoax.
Trump wants Americans to call the novel coronavirus “the Chinese virus.” Trump’s new slogan aims at two goals.
The first goal is to shift blame away from Trump’s failures and onto China’s. This goal is very unlikely to succeed. We all saw Trump’s catastrophic misjudgments inflict their toll in real time. It was not the Chinese Communist Party that decided to host a cash-for-access party at Mar-a-Lago for Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend on the weekend of March 6–8, when a responsible president would have already begun modeling safe behavior….
No, Trump won’t succeed in shifting blame.
It’s the second goal that could succeed. By revving up hate among their supporters against China, Trump and Fox can redirect those supporters’ rage from the dangerous target it might otherwise find: the trusted political and media figures who lied and lied and lied to them, exposing those supporters to disease and death for their own crass ends. Hate China, not me!
For the people that are now out of work because of the important and necessary containment policies, for instance the shutting down of hotels, bars and restaurants, money will soon be coming to you. The onslaught of the Chinese Virus is not your fault! Will be stronger than ever!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2020
Stop calling the coronavirus the Chinese Virus. You’re trying to make this into an acceptable term for all Americans to use by relentlessly tweeting about it in defiance of so many Asian Americans like me who are telling you to please stop out of concern for our safety.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) March 18, 2020
Good news!! The coronavirus is going away in JUST two weeks!! Trump PROMISED us on February 10 that the virus will go away in April "with the heat." So hang on America for just a little longer for the heat to end what Trump calls the #ChineseVirus! pic.twitter.com/62Z8QPp7iq
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) March 17, 2020
Yes, Calling Coronavirus “the Chinese Virus” or Kung-Flu Is Racist https://t.co/Fai6W1MWtn
— O The Oprah Magazine (@oprahmagazine) March 21, 2020
Local Leaders Blast Trump for Referring to COVID-19 as the China Virushttps://t.co/bwqqgNg3db@MDorganNYC @CMPeterKoo @QueensBP2020 @realDonaldTrump #covid19 #coronavirus #xenophobia #sinophobia #notchinesevirus pic.twitter.com/V0m1GvKI1J
— flushingpost (@flushingpost) March 19, 2020
#USA FEVER MAP
where are fevers in country right now
Somehow they can see fevers and plot locations
Looks like #FLA #Florida in a lot of trouble & don't even know it. Beaches close AFTER this weekend. #SpringBreak #COVID19 #coronavirus
— Margo 👀👂 (@margo94) March 21, 2020
The weirder part of this story is perhaps that Trump felt betrayed by president XI because Trump believed him rather than his intel officials about the intensity of the virus spread.
U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen, according to U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting.
The intelligence reports didn’t predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take, issues outside the purview of the intelligence agencies. But they did track the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries, and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak.
“Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it,” this official said. “The system was blinking red.”
Inside the White House, Trump’s advisers struggled to get him to take the virus seriously, according to multiple officials with knowledge of meetings among those advisers and with the president.
By early February, Grogan and others worried that there weren’t enough tests to determine the rate of infection, according to people who spoke directly to Grogan. Other officials, including Matthew Pottinger, the president’s deputy national security adviser, began calling for a more forceful response, according to people briefed on White House meetings.