The Slatest

What Is the President Yelling About Online, Today Edition

Trump, seen from his left, looks at a piece of paper on the lectern in front of him.
Donald Trump in the White House briefing room on Thursday. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

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And then:


Sure. But why? Well, because of this:

And this, this, this, and this. Which is to say: Certain elements of the Fox News/right-wing media world are trying to create another Tea Party around the idea that state governors’ stay-at-home orders constitute tyranny. This is a tough needle to thread, because Donald Trump officially supports the governors keeping businesses and public spaces in their states closed at their own discretion, and a number of governors who are enforcing stay-at-home orders are Republicans. Trump himself also doesn’t want to take the blame if premature reopenings cause second-wave coronavirus outbreaks. So Fox is playing the outside game by branding lockdowns as a liberal/Democratic measure, hoping to put pressure on Republicans to distance themselves from them, and Trump is being the guy who pretends that he’s ready to get in a fistfight but actually lets his friends hold him back because he doesn’t actually want to fight (be the person held accountable for what happens after lockdowns are lifted), but also doesn’t want to look like a chicken (lose face with the Fox audience). And he’s highlighting Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia, which are traditional swing states that have Democratic governors, because he presumably thinks it will help him electorally to “activate his base” there, which may be true, but also may not be true in the long run, because the more time that the kinds of older men who make up the Trump base spend in crowded spaces at the moment, the more they tend to get the coronavirus and die.

As to why a segment of our media and electorate thinks that there needs to be a second (or, I guess, third) Tea Party to support the cause of dying of COVID-19, frankly, it’s too close to Miller Time on a Friday right now to even start on that question.

For more on the impact of COVID-19, listen to Friday’s What Next: TBD.