Remember two days ago, when Donald Trump spent his first day back at work blowing up the economy via tweet? Which was a self-defeating move so crazy, even for him, that people were left wondering if the steroids he was on had affected his thinking? Later that evening, seemingly unaware that he had literally announced he was cancelling stimulus talks just hours prior, the president sent out a series of tweets calling for Congress to immediately pass a relief bill, an about-face that suggested he’d stolen some syringes from Dr. Sean Conley‘s office and was just injecting the dexamethasone straight into his mouth. The reversal was so bizarre that the White House chief of staff told reporters that in case there was any confusion—which there was!—“the stimulus negotiations are [still] off.” But uh…just kidding?
Of course, “tactically“ suggests the president had carefully thought out his decision and wasn’t just running around the White House flinging his own shit against the walls. In an interview on Thursday, he tried to claim that he totally knew what he was doing and abruptly scuttling negotiations was simply another example of The Art of the Deal in action, rather than the side effects of COVID treatment (and/or his normally compromised mental state). “I said, look, we’re not getting anywhere,” he told Maria Bartiromo. “Shut it down. I didn’t want to waste time. But in any event, we got back—both sides very capable—we got back, we started talking again. And we’re talking about airlines and we’re talking about a bigger deal than airlines. We’re talking about a deal with $1,200 per person, we’re talking about other things.”
As Axios notes, though, the two sides are still “hundreds of billions of dollars apart and disagree on what’s needed in the bill, and with only 26 days until November 3, an agreement by Election Day is still widely seen as unlikely.” Which is unfortunate for the Americans who desperately need the relief and also for the president who apparently didn’t realize that injecting a trillion or more dollars into the economy would actually help his reelection chances, which at present are not looking great.
In likely related news, the New York Times reported earlier this week that a study of coronavirus symptoms in the U.S. revealed that “nearly a third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients experienced some type of altered mental function,” including confusion and delirium.
And here’s a clip of the president telling senior citizens, of COVID: “You’re not vulnerable, but they like to say, ‘the vulnerable,’ but you’re the least vulnerable—but for this one thing, you are vulnerable.”
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