What if Donald Trump’s initial diminishing and mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic was meant to cover a retreat from the stock market by his allies? They all deny it, of course. But also, it just looks to me like, for all that earlier denial and minimization, the Republicans are better prepared to present proposals than the Democrats. For a lot of folks, this will be just putting two and two together. Or as Watergate’s “Deep Throat” was famously portrayed saying, “Follow the money.”
Consider this: After a decade of Republicans obstructing Democrats, suddenly on this singular issue, it is Democrats who are cast in the role of obstructing an urgent Republican proposal. Something is surely up and I’m pretty sure it isn’t that Nancy Pelosi is smarter than Mitch McConnell.
I’m never inclined to credit Trump with sufficient intelligence for any scheme. I think he is an erratic, delusional, raging narcissist-in-chief. And I think he has surrounded himself with sociopathic sycophants. But disgusted as I am with kissing ass, I’ve seen it in enough places—yes, including academia—to know that as a possibility, sycophancy does not exclude even high intelligence.
Machiavelli is on my shelf, among many of the books I still haven’t gotten to reading.
Michelle Ye Hee Lee, John Wagner, and Teo Armus, “Sen. Richard Burr, head of powerful committee, sold large amount of stocks before sharp declines in market,” Washington Post, March 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sen-richard-burr-r-nc-head-of-powerful-committee-sold-large-amount-of-stocks-before-sharp-declines-in-market/2020/03/19/6cf4b25a-6a31-11ea-9923-57073adce27c_story.html
Jeff Stein et al., “Senate Republicans release massive economic stimulus bill for coronavirus response,” Washington Post, March 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/19/trump-coronavirus-economic-plan-stimulus/