Trump: Keep ’Em On the Ship. I Don’t Want Our Coronavirus Numbers To Go Up.

President Trump leaves the White House after a grueling day signing the coronavirus emergency funding bill sent to him by Congress.Stefani Reynolds/CNP via ZUMA

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This. Is. Fucking Nuts.

Here’s the whole quote regarding the passengers trapped on the Grand Princess cruise ship off the San Francisco coast:

[My experts] would like to have the people come off. I’d rather have the people stay, but I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision.¹ I would rather—because I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.²

A minute later a reporter asks Trump about disbanding the White House pandemic response team in 2018. His answer: “I just think this is something that you can never really think is going to happen.”

This is all so, so unfunny. In just a couple of weeks, Trump has gone from being a boob, but a relatively benign one, to a boob who could end up killing a lot of people. As near as I can tell, he thinks about the rate of coronavirus infections the same way he thinks about Nielsen ratings or golf scores. The only thing that matters is whether the numbers reflect well on him or not.

Holy hell.

¹This is not Trump’s normal MO, but in this case it allows him to evade responsibility for whatever happens going forward. In his visceral way, even Trump realizes that his usual line of BS won’t affect the reality on the ground of people dying from the coronavirus. He wants as little responsibility for it as possible.

²Needless to say, the numbers “count” regardless of whether the victims are on a ship or on dry land. Trump’s idiocy truly knows no bounds.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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