Last week, Tim Scott, the least repulsive but still bad United States senator from South Carolina, joined Donald Trump's half-assed "Opening Up America Again" task force, a group that includes every Republican senator except for Mitt Romney. Scott seems pleased with this dubious honor.

During an interview with Neil Cavuto the other day, Scott emphasized the need for people to “get back to work," specifically hospitals. It seems like they're pretty damn busy but Scott claims he's spoken with hospital CEOs across South Carolina who say what they really need more than the funding Democrats won't shut up about is the ability to start performing elective surgeries again. That's where the big money is.

Cavuto asked Scott if he thought it was “inevitable" that we'd see a spike in COVID cases if we “open things up, no matter how carefully" it happens. Scott agreed but said the question was really about “individual responsibility." Yeah, he'll drizzle some Republican talking points on anything, no matter how inappropriate. It's like ketchup on a hot dog.


SCOTT: We're starting to see around the country, whether it's Michigan or Minnesota, Virginia, North Carolina, and today in Columbia, South Carolina, protests from the American people saying they want their ability to move more freely reestablished.

That's not “individual responsibility." That's protesting the unfortunate realities of a public health crisis. Scott thinks we'll just have to “rustle with this," but we're going to put protocols in place for safely restarting the economy. Meanwhile, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster plans to reopen public beaches and retail stores next week. This is the "individual responsibility" that'll lead to those “inevitable" resurgence in COVID cases.

Scott was on "Sunday Morning Futures" with Maria Bartiromo yesterday. His book, Opportunity Knocks, was released last week and it's hyped before his talk show appearances now, as if people have money to waste on his Horatio Alger feel-good fairy tales. Bartiromo congratulated Scott on his book and the title's clever “play on words" (huh?) because Scott also promoted “opportunity zones" as part of the GOP's 2017 tax scam bill. Once she remembered this wasn't a late night talk show, she moved on to asking Scott about the dismal economy.

BARTIROMO: How bad has it gone? The damage has been obviously worse in terms of health and people's lives but on the economic front how would you assess things?

Scott described the situation as one of “devastation," which ain't no lie, but unfortunately he believes Trump can actually help.

SCOTT: The president has got to balance living and livelihood ... Poverty also has a negative consequence that can linger for decades if not generations. He's understandably concerned not just about our health. He's done a great job of trying to balance that. But he's also concerned about the economic health of this nation. And we both know that poverty kills.

Trump tried to kick millions of American off food stamps, so it's not clear he's that concerned with the lethal effects of poverty. Scott proceeded to ludicrously claim that Trump, who can barely see 20 minutes into the future, had the foresight to prepare for the COVID-generated economic crisis.

SCOTT: What [Trump's] trying to do is position this economy to come back with a vengeance. I think during his State of the Union speech when he was talking about the “Great American Comeback," he was ... foreshadowing the necessity of a V-shaped recovery coming out of this virus before we even knew about a virus. So it's really important for us to get back to work.

This reminds me of a high school English teacher who'd always whisper at us, “FORESHADOWING! FORESHADOWING" when discussing a plot point in a book that would prove important later. We didn't have spoiler alerts back then. The State of the Union was on February 4, and the first coronavirus case in Washington state was reported on January 21. Trump didn't “foreshadow" the virus. He ignored it. We wouldn't need a “great American comeback" if we had a competent American president.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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