How To Piss Off The President
Anyone gotten out of their pajamas this week? I certainly have forgotten what real clothes look and feel like. Some people who haven't are the various people remote interviewing on the Sunday shows! Let's focus our gaze upon CNN's "State Of The Union," where everyone is wearing at least pants.
Jake Tapper interviewed Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson about why his state continues to be one of the only ones not following stay-at-home guidelines to #FlattenTheCurve. The excuse is the same one every Republican governor who is refusing to do so uses:
TAPPER: But Arkansas is one of just a handful of states that has not yet put in place an official stay-at-home order. Do you think other governors have made a mistake by putting in place stay-at-home orders?
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): No, not at all. It just reflects the flexibility a state needs. I applaud that New Jersey and New York, they've had to really lock down. They have a high density population. But we have less density in our population here in Arkansas. And I think we can take this targeted approach, which has proven to be effective.
Ahh yes, the good ol' "It's them damn 'liberal' states with their 'urban' spaces and population." Of course, this discounts that it's clear that COVID-19 does not give a single shit what geography or social/economic spot you occupy. The thing we HAVE determined is not following social distancing helps the virus spread, even in Arkansas.
Tapper, for his part, tried to also point out a various obvious point about Arkansas:
TAPPER: Well, I sure hope that's right. But let me ask you, you talked about the density playing a role. And I understand that Arkansas is not like New York in that respect, but Little Rock is. And you are not letting different little towns or cities or localities in Arkansas make their own stay-at-home orders if they want to. The mayor of Little Rock said that that's making his situation more difficult. Why not let mayors impose a stay-at-home if they want?
HUTCHINSON: We have a good partnership with the mayors. We've negotiated where there's curfew, where it's helpful. [...] But if you look at this, we want to take the long term approach to this. And you're not going to win simply by a lockdown because there's no such thing as a true lockdown where everybody stays at home and does not go out. You're going to have, if we put a shelter-in-place order today, tomorrow we would have 700,000 Arkansans that will be going out on the streets going to work.
You have to love Republicans approach to absolutism when it comes to allowing them to excuse things they don't want to do. Why can't you issue stay-at-home orders? Because it won't eliminate virus completely. Why can't we pass sensible gun reforms? Because we can't eliminate ALL gun deaths. Why can't we pass environmental regulations? We can't stop OTHER countries from polluting, so why bother.
Tapper then pointed out that Arkansas seems to be on the upslope when it comes to COVID-19 cases. Hutchinson dismissed this concern by pointing out how many open beds they still had, ignoring that those beds could soon be filled.
HUTCHINSON: Well, whenever you look at the 1,200 cases that we have, that is more than a thousand short of the projections. Whenever you look at the projections, we were going to be skyrocketing. When we were starting this, we were looking at War Memorial Stadium as a potential place to house patients. But today, we have — let me emphasize here, we have 80 that are hospitalized because of COVID-19. We have 8,000 hospital beds available. That means we're not doing elective surgeries. We've really shut down a lot of our hospitals out there. We have this excess capacity. We have 80 that's hospitalized. And that's remaining steady.
May Asa Hutchinson's COVID-19 judgment be better than his parenting skills. Although in his defense this lack of judgment seems to be an Arkansas governor's pattern that includes luminaries Mike Beebe, Mike Huckabee, Jim Guy Tucker and Bill Clinton. Here is the interview.
Jake Tapper also had on the most reassuring and seemingly straightforward voice in this whole pandemic: The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Tapper asked Fauci to theorize what could have happened if we started social distancing in February, a month (at least) after the Trump administration first knew:
FAUCI: You know, Jake, again, it's the what would have, what could have. It's very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously, you could logically say, that if you had a process that was ongoing, and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is — is complicated. But you're right. I mean, obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.
Then Fauci is asked about the possibility of people voting in November's elections.
FAUCI: I hope so, Jake. I can't guarantee it. I believe that, if we have a good, measured way of rolling into this, steps towards normality, that we hope, by the time we get to November, that we will be able to do it in a way which is the standard way. However — and I don't want to be the pessimistic person — there is always the possibility, as that — as we get into next fall, and the beginning of early winter, that we could see a rebound.
Here is the interview.
We need honesty. That's why Fauci has been a sobering breath of fresh air during Trump's coronavirus grievance sessions. Fauci's straightforwardness is probably why he's publicly and privately disagreed with Trump and his sycophants. Trump is now beginning to indirectly confirm this in his usual cowardly way:
We need the truth. We need sober advice from medical professionals like Anthony Fauci. And we need the press, all of it, to step up their game and hold the Trump administration accountable. Here's Jake Tapper's must-watch compilation of the press conference questions — all reasonable, all important — that made Trump go insane.
Good luck to us all.
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Pop Culture observer & Comics fan. Amateur Movie Reviewer. Political Freelance Writer @wonkette. Marine, Husband & Dad. Opinions are mine only.