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Tom Brady joining NFC South is 'super weird,' Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan says
The strangeness of seeing Tom Brady play football in something other than a New England Patriots uniform is something fans and players alike will have to deal with during the 2020 season.
Man dies after being bitten by shark near Great Barrier Reef
A 23-year-old man has died after he was bitten by a shark near the Great Barrier Reef on Monday.
Larry Rathgeb, head engineer behind the first 200-mph racecar, dies of coronavirus at 90
Larry Rathgeb led the Chrysler team that built the first car to reach 200 mph on a closed course.
Take a coronavirus break and check out tonight's supermoon
Look up! The largest supermoon of the year will grace the skies Tuesday night, and NASA is encouraging everyone to see it.
UFC 249, still set for April 18, to feature Tony Ferguson versus Justin Gaethje
As most other sports competitions face cancellations and postponements, UFC is moving forward with its next pay-per-view. It has yet to announce a location.
Review: Loretta Lynn remembers her friendship with Patsy Cline in heartfelt new memoir
Loretta Lynn recalls her friendship with Patsy Cline in her heartfelt new memoir, "Me and Patsy Kickin' Up Dust."        
I got promoted to a managerial position: Any advice? Ask HR
Johnny C. Taylor Jr. offers tips for success to a new manager and advice on dealing with a CEO who seems to have memory loss. Ask HR      
Wisconsin is scheduled to vote today. How will the pandemic affect turnout?
The state’s push to expand early and mail-in voting probably won’t increase black, Hispanic or Democratic votes.
Podcast | Coronavirus in California: Stories From the Front Lines
From the Los Angeles Times: Coronavirus in California: Stories From the Front Line is a daily 15-minute podcast hosted by reporter Gustavo Arellano.
Coronavirus Disease Discriminates. Our Health Care Doesn't Have To | Opinion
COVID-19 is washing away any veneer of equal opportunity or risk. As we navigate these treacherous times, three principles can provide us with a moral and practical compass.
'Bad Boys' is 25 Years Old, Here are 25 Tweets About This Buddy Cop Classic
In an alternate reality, 'Bad Boys' would have been titled 'Bulletproof Hearts," starring comedians Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz.
‘Contact Tracing’ Could Free America From Its Quarantine Nightmare
It’s a cool fall evening in September 2020. With a bottle of wine in hand, you slide into the front seat of your car to drive to a dinner party with close friends. It’s been eight months since you’ve seen most of them, at least outside of a computer screen.As you’re pulling out of the neighborhood, you feel your phone buzz. It’s an alert from the new agency overseeing the coronavirus outbreak. On the lock screen, you can read the words “BE ADVISED.” Your heart sinks as you unlock the phone to read the rest of the message: We have determined that in the past few days, you may have interacted with somebody who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. There is no need to panic. But for the sake of your family, friends, and neighbors, we are relying on your support. As soon as you can, please … You stop reading. You know the drill. You turn off the car, walk back into the house, and open the wine. It will be a bottle for one. Another spell of self-isolation begins now—or at least until you can get tested to prove that you don’t have the coronavirus.This could be a vision of the country’s future. It is a world in which many businesses go back to normal, millions of people return to work, and social-distancing measures are relaxed, as we anxiously navigate a purgatory between the virus’s early-2020 outbreak and its possible resurgence.It is also a world in which the return to normal is predicated on the introduction of a novel technology. Millions of Americans—many of whom might be deeply skeptical of government surveillance, or Big Tech—may become participants in a national project to track their own movements and interactions, to help public-health experts map out the spread of an invisible enemy.This is the world of “test and trace.”In the past month, the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated a deep freeze of U.S. activity. Storefronts are closed, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and millions more are putting their health at risk in hospitals and grocery stores. This modern nightmare may not truly end until a reliable antiviral treatment or COVID-19 vaccine is widely available.Until that day, which may be a year or two away, our best hope in the fight against the coronavirus is to play a game of sophisticated Whack-a-Mole that often goes by the name of “test and trace.”Most readers might have an image of what the testing half entails, with those long nasal swabs that practically scrape the edge of our frontal lobe. The tracing half of the equation is less understood. But it is more likely to leave its mark on American politics and society.In its most basic form, tracing—otherwise known as tracking, or contact tracing—means identifying all the recent interactions of sick individuals to determine whom they might have infected. Testing plus tracing can besiege the virus, starve it of new bodies, and return the world to its previral routine, or something like it.Until recently, tracing relied on an old-fashioned technology: interviews. To stop the spread of Ebola, authorities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked sick people to list recent interactions with family, friends, and businesses. That interview would produce a list of contacts, who would be monitored for illness for several weeks. The state of Massachusetts recently announced plans to hire 1,000 people to do these sorts of contract-tracing interviews.But that old-school approach might not be enough. People have faulty memories about who or what they’ve touched, or where they’ve been. More important, person-to-person interviews might be too slow to arrest a national pandemic accelerating through a population.The solution? Your phone.Our cellphones and smartphones have several means of logging our activity. GPS tracks our location, and Bluetooth exchanges signals with nearby devices. In its most basic form, cellphone tracing might go like this: If someone tests positive for COVID-19, health officials could obtain a record of that person’s cellphone activity and compare it with the data emitted by other phone owners. If officials saw any GPS overlaps (e.g., data showing that I went to a McDonald’s hot spot) or Bluetooth hits (e.g., data showing that I came within several feet of a new patient), they could contact me and urge me to self-isolate, or seek a test.Ramesh Raskar, a computer scientist at the MIT Media Lab, is working on an app that uses GPS to create maps showing the movements of people recently diagnosed with COVID-19. “In an early version, you might see a map with hot spots—2 p.m. at Starbucks, 3 p.m. at the library—that would tell you where people with the disease had recently been,” Raskar told me. “All the government has to do is demand that every test facility release the trails of infected people in an anonymous manner, so that healthy people know where to avoid.”For privacy advocates, “Waze, but for the sick” might seem harvested from their darkest nightmares. But Raskar is emphatic that his code is open source—“every part of the code should be visible to everybody, every day”—and that no government or tech company would have exclusive control over a centralized database that it could abuse. Users wouldn’t learn anything else about the infected person, such as age or sex.The technology and privacy challenges of tracing will nonetheless be complex, and could normalize a level of surveillance that might seem totalitarian. If we want to get it right, we should learn from the experiences of other countries. In eastern Asia, tracing has already become a part of daily life. To see a glimpse of America’s future—and to anticipate some of the worst excesses of the technology—it’s useful to briefly review how tracing works across the Pacific.Let’s start with China, where citizens in hundreds of cities have been required to download cellphone software that broadcasts their location to several authorities, including the local police. The app combines geotracking with other data, such as travel bookings, to designate citizens with color codes ranging from green (low risk) to red (high risk). High-risk individuals can be banned from apartment complexes, offices, and even groceries stores. Many human-rights advocates fear that what has been rolled out as a public-health app is moonlighting as a tool of government espionage and mass discrimination.Next, let’s look at South Korea, a democracy that has arguably been more successful than any other in containing the spread of the virus. The government uses several sources, such as cellphone-location data, CCTV, and credit-card records, to broadly monitor citizens’ activity. When somebody tests positive, local governments can send out an alert, a bit like a flood warning, that reportedly includes the individual’s last name, sex, age, district of residence, and credit-card history, with a minute-to-minute record of their comings and goings from various local businesses. “In some districts, public information includes which rooms of a building the person was in, when they visited a toilet, and whether or not they wore a mask,” Mark Zastrow, a reporter for Nature, wrote. “Even overnight stays at ‘love motels’ have been noted.”New cases in South Korea have declined about 90 percent in the past 40 days, an extraordinary achievement. But the amount of information in South Korea’s tracing alerts has turned some of its citizens into imperious armchair detectives, who scour the internet in an attempt to identify people who test positive and condemn them online. Choi Young-ae, the chair of South Korea’s Human Rights Commission, has said that this harassment has made some Koreans less willing to be tested.Singapore offers perhaps the most likely model for the West. Residents can download an app called TraceTogether, which uses Bluetooth technology to keep a log of nearby devices. If somebody gets sick, that user can upload relevant data to the Ministry of Health, which notifies the owners of all the devices pinged by the infected person’s phone.“Bluetooth is much better than GPS at tracking actual contacts, and it gives a good picture of which phones come close to each other,” says Ulf Buermeyer, a privacy advocate, an officer at the Berlin Department of Justice, and the president of Germany’s Society for Civil Rights. “The downside of Singapore’s app is that you have to register with your phone number. When a person is found infected with the disease, the authorities can easily match the IDs with associated home numbers and impose restrictive measures directly on these people.”Germany, which is helping to lead Europe’s tracing efforts, is looking to tweak the Singaporean model in a way that might make it more amenable to Western sensibilities. Buermeyer told me that one possibility is to program phones to broadcast a different ID every 30 minutes. So, for example, if I went to Starbucks in the morning, my phone would broadcast one ID over Bluetooth to all the other phones in the café. An hour later, at lunch with a friend, it would broadcast a different ID to all the other phones at the restaurant. Throughout the day, my phone would also receive and save IDs and log them in an encrypted Rolodex.Days later, if I were diagnosed with the coronavirus, my doctor would ask me to upload my app’s data to a central server. That server would go through my encrypted Rolodex and find all of the temporary IDs I had collected. An algorithm would match the temporary IDs to something called a push token—a unique code that connects each phone to the app. It could then send each phone an automated message through the app: PLEASE BE ADVISED: We have determined that in the past few days, you may have interacted with somebody … At no point in this entire process would anybody’s identity be known to either the government or the tech companies operating the central server.This brief global tour of tracing technology provides at least three lessons.First, test and trace seems to work—period. Singapore and South Korea are very different countries from each other and from the U.S. But they have learned from previous outbreaks. Through tracing, both countries have reduced COVID-19 deaths much more successfully than many similarly dense U.S. cities.Second, the sheer amount of information made available by tracing apps will be tantalizing for power-hungry governments and data-hungry corporations to monopolize. A tracing app made necessary by the pandemic cannot become an indefinite surveillance system run by some occult government agency.Third, the virus creates a dilemma of data. At the moment, what we don’t know—who is infected, and where they have been—can kill us. Test and trace offers a road out of ignorance. But the more we seek to learn about the sick, their locations, and their contacts, the more we begin to infringe on the privacy of patients and businesses.For the past few years, privacy advocates have criticized advertising giants such as Google and Facebook for following us around the web and harvesting our data to anticipate future behavior. Whether you found these critiques compelling or overwrought, the accusations certainly apply to tracing technology. It is easy, then, to imagine how some test-and-trace apps might be tarred as “swabs and surveillance” and rejected outright.But while online advertising technology might mislead consumers about the nature of the task at hand, the aim of smartphone tracing is straightforward: This is software to tell you whether your cellphone signal or daily routine intersects with a viral contagion that is killing people and destroying the economy.The pandemic has already required Americans to embrace extreme behavior in the name of saving lives. Tens of millions of Americans are living under house arrest. Many chief executives and entrepreneurs have said they agree with a government mandate to shut down their businesses. In these strange times, common rights that once seemed nonnegotiable have been suddenly renegotiated. Compared with our life just six weeks ago, smartphone tracing might seem like a violation of our dignity and privacy—and compared with our life six years from now, I hope it will be. But compared with our present nightmare, strategically sacrificing our privacy might be the best way to protect other freedoms.“I am a privacy advocate, but I don’t hold privacy as an absolute value,” Ulf Buermeyer told me. “Privacy has to be balanced in context with other human rights. Life and health, I think, are important human rights.”
Tom Brady Reveals Why He Left New England Patriots for Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The six-time Super Bowl champion wrote in The Players' Tribune that the prospect of proving himself in a different environment was a challenge he could not turn down.
Americans Split on Donald Trump's Handling of Coronavirus Pandemic: Poll
A new survey found that net approval of the president's response to the COVID-19 outbreak had slumped since mid-March.
Sheep turn playground merry-go-round into their treadmill
These sheep are having a field day. A flock of sheep took over an empty playground in Preston, UK, and hopped on the carousel. Watch as the wooly animals run in place as the roundabout spins in this funny video.   Subscribe to our YouTube!
We Have No Idea What the Recovery Rate for Coronavirus Is Yet
Over a quarter of a million people are known to have recovered from COVID-19 since the pandemic started last year.
Liberals recoil at SCOTUS’ Wisconsin primary decision
But GOP-appointed justices contend they are not passing broad judgment on virus-related election changes
'Division 2' Update 1.21 Adds Title Update 8.5 More NPC Nerfs - Patch Notes
"The Division 2" Title Update 8.5 nerfs NPCs further and changes how Control Points work. Read the full patch notes here.
Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre takes coronavirus test
Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre is "scared" Tuesday as she awaits the results of a coronavirus test from a hospital bed in Australia, she said.
Review: Grady Hendrix's new vampire book a Southern-fried feminist delight
Grady Hendrix's "The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires" is as unexpected and delightful as its title.        
Day 27 without sports ⚾: Who is the face of each American League franchise?
If Al Kaline was "Mr. Tiger," then who deserves to be considered the greatest player on each of the other American League teams? Here are our picks.       
Dow set to soar 700 points: April 7, 2020
Investors continue to worry about the coronavirus pandemic's impact on the economy. Here's what's moving markets today.
Hoda Kotb is just as lonely as you are
“Today” anchor Hoda Kotb gets candid about battling the quarantine blues. Legendary sex therapist Dr. Ruth’s advice for horny folks? Focus on the “self” in self-isolation. And “Tiger King” is the gift that keeps on giving. Here’s a closer look at today’s stories: Hoda Kotb opens up about loneliness amid coronavirus pandemic “Today” anchor Hoda...
‘Those numbers take your breath away’: Covid-19 is clobbering Chicago’s black neighborhoods much harder than others, officials say
Black Chicagoans are dying at a rate nearly six times as high as white Chicagoans, data shows.
Otherworldly, 150-Foot-Long String-Like Organism Spotted in Deep Sea Is Made Up of 'Millions of Interconnected Clones'
"I've gone on numerous expeditions and have never, ever, seen anything like this," said researcher Rebecca Helm.
The Real Impeachment Hoax
“The White House was focused on addressing the threat to its survival,” argued the columnist Henry Olson in The Washington Post, “not on preparing for a threat from China that might not even materialize.”“DEMOCRATS PUSHED IMPEACHMENT WHILE CORONAVIRUS SPREAD,” blared a Breitbart News headline, which was soon picked up by Sean Hannity on Fox.Senator Tom Cotton has also adopted the theory, telling Politico, “It’s unfortunate that during the early days of a global pandemic, the Senate was paralyzed by a partisan impeachment trial.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been pushing this theory too, telling the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the Senate impeachment trial “diverted the attention of the government” from the virus, “because everything every day was all about impeachment.”Over the past two months, President Donald Trump has deployed a dizzying array of lies about why the coronavirus wasn’t a cause for concern, then defenses to excuse or deny his deadly mishandling of the pandemic. The virus was under control in the United States, he argued. The warm weather would make it go away. It would miraculously vanish. It was China’s fault, and limiting travel from China had solved the problem. It was the media’s fault for exaggerating things. It was Barack Obama’s fault. States in urgent need of ventilators should have purchased the medical equipment months ago, and it isn’t the president’s responsibility to fix that problem.It’s difficult to decide which of these defenses is the most absurd. But one defense that has emerged in recent weeks as the go-to explanation certainly has the honor of being the most unintentionally damning. The argument, as put forward by Republican officeholders and other supporters of the president, goes like this: Don’t blame Trump for his administration’s appalling handling of the crisis. Rather, it’s all the Democrats’ fault, as their drummed-up impeachment drama distracted the president during the key period during which the government could have ramped up its response to the pandemic.The intent may be to shift blame, but the argument is actually a concession of Trump’s own failure. While Trump’s defense of his leadership has been erratic, one theme has been the insistence that—despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary—he has handled the crisis excellently. At every stage, he has congratulated himself for a job well done, even insisting that “we altogether have done a very good job” while warning Americans to expect as many as 200,000 deaths from the virus.Yet, in making their impeachment-distraction defense, his supporters are all of a sudden acknowledging that his performance could have been better. Some are more explicit about that than others: Olson argued outright that Trump failed to “act ... decisively in February when he had time,” and the aggressively pro-Trump outlet The Federalist published a piece conceding that it was “a fair point” to say that the president had taken his eye off the ball. But even those who focus exclusively on attacking congressional Democrats for not doing enough to counter the pandemic are implicitly admitting that the government could have done more—that its response to the crisis was not, as Trump declared, “10 out of 10.” In pointing to impeachment as a distraction, McConnell can’t also argue that Trump did everything perfectly.Perhaps understanding the political risks of this particular argument, Trump has equivocated on it. When asked at a press conference whether the impeachment trial had “divert[ed] his attention,” he seemed to give some credence to the idea: “I think I handled it very well, but I guess it probably did [distract me]. I mean, I got impeached. I think, you know, I certainly devoted a little time to thinking about it, right?” But then he swung back, arguing, “I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached. Okay? ... I don’t think I would have acted any differently or I don’t think I would have acted any faster.”His reticence on the point is understandable. If you’ve been impeached and you have to justify the fact that you’ve been allowed to remain in office, you want to come off as the sort of leader who was not distracted, who “compartmentalized”—as was said of Bill Clinton during his impeachment—not the sort of leader who crumbled under pressure and allowed a global pandemic to kill more Americans than was necessarily fated. What’s more, Trump never acknowledges failure. The call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was perfect. So too was the coronavirus response. To say otherwise, as Trump’s supporters are now doing, is to concede the leader’s imperfection and to make excuses for it—rather than insisting on his infallibility.One irony of the impeachment defense is that it may contain significant elements of truth. A lengthy report from The Washington Post on the “denial and dysfunction” of the administration’s pandemic response suggests that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had trouble getting the president’s attention about the coronavirus in mid-January because Trump was busy “calling lawmakers late at night to rant” about impeachment and “making lists of perceived enemies he would seek to punish when the case against him concluded.” (Of course, the fact that impeachment may really have distracted Trump in January and February does not mean that his administration’s response to the virus would have been flawless if it hadn’t been for the Senate trial.)Indeed, strong evidence indicates that Trump is still distracted by impeachment and that this is affecting his crisis response. The administration’s negotiations with the House of Representatives over relief measures had to be handled by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, because Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi aren’t speaking, Politico reported recently; the president is still bitter about the House impeachment vote. Meanwhile, in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump makes explicit reference to his ongoing resentment. “If you spent less time on your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ended up going nowhere (except increasing my poll numbers), and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared for the ‘invisible enemy,’” Trump wrote.And on April 3, Trump continued his wave of retaliatory firings of people involved in the impeachment saga—dismissing the intelligence-community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, the man who first notified Congress of the whistleblower report that ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment. The president made no secret of the reason for his decision: Atkinson, he said candidly, "took a fake report and gave it to Congress." In a statement, Atkinson himself wrote, “It is hard not to think that the President’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General.” (Perhaps, in a weird inversion, Trump is betting that the public is sufficiently distracted by the coronavirus that it won’t notice or care much about such retaliatory gestures related to his impeachment.)More to the point, the argument that impeachment distracted Trump from the coronavirus is, even if true, a terrible argument against impeachment. Impeachment will always distract a president. That is a good reason not to undertake an impeachment lightly, and it is an excellent reason for a president not to engage in impeachable conduct. A merited impeachment, however, is necessary because the risks of inaction—of letting an unfit person remain in office, unchecked—exceed the risks of his or her distraction and the risks of the disruption associated with his or her removal.The current crisis could not illustrate that last point better, because Trump has been engaged in conduct remarkably similar to that for which the House impeached him, this time at the domestic level. During the impeachment hearings, the Stanford Law professor Pamela S. Karlan imagined a hypothetical scenario in which a president shook down a governor in the context of disaster relief for political favors, instead of a foreign leader: Imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that’s prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding. What would you think if you lived there, and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that Congress has provided for. What would you think if that president said, “I would like you to do us a favor. I’ll meet with you, and I’ll send the disaster relief, once you brand my opponent a criminal.” Wouldn’t you know in your gut that such a president had abused his office?” Today, with Trump openly playing extortionate politics with governors over medical supplies—publicly intimating that more personal protective equipment and ventilators will go to governors that offer him sycophantic praise—Karlan’s example no longer seems like a hypothetical.Trump may have been distracted by impeachment, but the experience also taught him something: Whatever he does, however much he leverages his power for personal benefit at the public’s expense—whether with foreign heads of state or state officials, whether in public or in private—he can get away with it. And the death toll will only rise as a result.
Opinion: Expanded playoffs add another layer of hope … if NFL season proceeds as planned
Yes, the NFL will have more playoff football starting in the 2020 season. But the expanded field might not necessarily be a good thing.       
'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Requests Prison Release so That He Can Help Develop Coronavirus Drug Treatment
Shkreli, who became infamous for dramatically hiking the price of a life-saving drug, is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for a securities fraud conviction.
Power Up: What to expect as Congress eyes another coronavirus relief package
The economic forecasts are increasingly ominous.
5 things to know for April 7: Coronavirus, elections, health, terrorism, Pell case
Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.
Sporting events should be among the final parts of everyday life to return, not the first
In deciding when games should resume, officials should under-promise and over-deliver.
Got Marvel and DC withdrawal? Here are 20 films to get your superhero fix during quarantine
The Marvel and DC cinematic universes were put on hold thanks to the coronavirus. In the meantime, here are 20 films to get your superhero fix.        
Why America Is Thirsty for Anthony Fauci
“If you don’t have a crush on this man, do you even care about public health?”It’s a question that wouldn’t have made even the slightest bit of sense before the coronavirus pandemic, and it doesn’t make a ton of sense during it either. Still, it was posed, above a headshot of Anthony Fauci, by the Twitter account @FauciFan, which was created three weeks ago and has amassed more than 15,000 followers.All day, Americans go online to fess up about crushing on Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. They dig up his college yearbook photos and evidence that he once played basketball in short-shorts. They edit his Wikipedia page, swapping the main photo with one taken 13 years ago, then one from 17 years ago. In my upstate-New York hometown, you can buy donuts with his face on them. More than 10,000 people have signed a petition to make Fauci People magazine’s next “Sexiest Man Alive.”Fauci has had the same job since 1984, and he’s earned national recognition before for his handling of the HIV/AIDS crisis. But during this epochal natural disaster, as a leading member of the federal government’s coronavirus task force, he’s more akin to an actual celebrity, famous for the contrast between his calmly stated expertise and Donald Trump’s contradictory messaging during White House press briefings. Doodling hearts all over his face may seem irrational, but times of crisis often breed infatuation with authorities who can provide guidance and soothe anxiety.At this moment, smooching anyone is verboten, even reckless, but in isolation and in daydreams, lots of Americans are thinking about planting one on a 79-year-old immunologist.[Read: When keeping your distance is the best way to show you care]The @FauciFan Twitter account—which last week featured a photo of a young Fauci explaining how HIV interacts with the immune system, captioned “#tbt #thirsttrap”—was created by Sarah Alexander, Tiffany Zarrella, and Leann Zhou, three friends and microbiologists who work together in Bethesda, Maryland. They are not joking about their crush.The trio had been talking about their thirst for Fauci over text, and decided to take it public in hopes that it would be entertaining to other bored and freaked-out people. Zhou, 22, told me that she thinks people are drawn to Fauci’s “cute Brooklyn accent.” She wouldn’t have been able to guess his age, she added, pointing out that he’s an avid runner, and has serious light-up-the-room energy. “He’s very knowledgeable and expert, but he speaks in a really approachable way,” Zarella, 33, told me. “Everyone wants to know what’s going on, and he delivers.”Alexander, 25, agrees, saying, “I do personally think that he actually is attractive, and it’s not unheard of for people to be attracted to older men. Look at Jeff Goldblum.” I proposed to her that Goldblum is an actual Hollywood star, and that there might be something strange about presenting Fauci as one. “We’re not trying to prop him up and make him a celebrity,” she told me. “It’s just an appreciation of him. He’s working 16-plus-hour days.”Americans have had plenty of political crushes before. There have been more durable ones on presidents such as John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and, more recently, Barack Obama. By the time Obama became a public figure, the internet was ready to amplify conversations about thirsting over handsome and competent men: In 2007, one of YouTube’s first mainstream viral hits was a comedy music video called “Crush on Obama,” starring the actress Amber Lee Ettinger as a young woman in booty shorts who wants to make out with the then-senator from Illinois.“I did develop a crush on Obama,” Ettinger told me. (Today, she’s an Instagram influencer who posts mom-related lifestyle content.) “He was this young, sauve, handsome fellow. People felt a personal connection with him when he spoke.” For Fauci, she speculated, the incentives for crushing are a little bit different. “No. 1, his little New York accent. He feels like a voice of reason, someone you can trust. He has a calming presence about him. Supersmart. I think he’s adorable.”The more obvious precedent for Fauci’s newfound celebrity is another flavor-of-the-week public figure, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who became a superhero and stoic boyfriend to the left during his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. That in itself was not entirely novel: For a brief period after 9/11, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was treated as a sex symbol—as Salon put it, a “hot Republican war dad.”Mueller, like Fauci, became crushable because of the perception that he was unflappable, soberly sifting through facts and ignoring irrelevant clangor during a tense situation. One woman told the Associated Press last year, “I admire [Mueller’s] mystique. I admire that I haven’t heard his voice.” But although lots of Americans are making these men into heartthrobs—whether as a joke or sincerely—it doesn't mean we actually want them to act like celebrities. We just want to be taken care of, and we don’t want anything to shatter the illusion that they can save us.There are other crushes of the coronavirus crisis, most notably New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose daily press conferences in state-branded attire have become appointment television for people living in the epicenter of the country’s outbreak. Vogue has praised his competence and “imaginary boyfriend” potential, while the New York Post spoke with moms on Long Island who gushed about eating ice cream in bed, watching him speak calmly and convincingly of New York’s ability to overcome the pandemic.While descriptions of Fauci dwell on how “adorable” he is, Americans’ fascination with Cuomo is openly grimier. Last week, for instance, Twitter was abuzz with speculation as to whether a strange-looking wrinkle under the governor’s polo was, in fact, a nipple ring. A fake dating profile written for the governor by City & State didn’t mention sweetness or charm, but interests such as “fishing” and “yelling,” as well as the personality type “laid-back, loose dude, who is always in a cool mood.”In a recent blog post titled “Help, I Think I’m in Love With Andrew Cuomo??” the Jezebel writer Rebecca Fishbein ran down the list of things she despises about him politically, then confessed, “When I stream his presser on the governor’s website—every day around 11:30 a.m., complete with a PowerPoint presentation—I feel comforted. I feel alive. I feel protected. I feel ... butterflies.” She’s heard from plenty of New York women who agree. “A lot of women who are older than me have been emailing me being like, No I really love him; he has all of his hair,” she told me.Fishbein lived in New York City during 9/11, and she remembers people feeling similarly about then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, she said, she knew people who thought that then-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was heroic enough to feel gooey over. “It [does] not last long, but I think there’s this feeling that somebody is telling you, in what seems like a straightforward manner, what’s going on,” she said. This can mutate into a crush with ease. “It’s just your mind playing tricks on you.”[Read: Why people are confessing their crushes right now]This is literally true, says Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist who studies dating and relationships at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute. “In times of crisis, people have a fight-or-flight response. That drives up the testosterone in the brain,” she told me. “Testosterone triggers various brain systems that can trigger sexual arousal. Testosterone also has a positive correlation with dopamine, and dopamine is linked with feelings of romantic love.”You don’t need me to explain that the past month has been saturated with feelings, or that your nerves can only tap-dance for so long before your brain starts to do strange and shocking things. Similar hormones are involved in both crushing and panicking, and rushes of adrenaline can lead to attraction, which is presumably why The Bachelor involves so much bungee jumping and helicopter travel.Crushing on a public official is not particularly fruitful, but it’s hard to think of a reason not to indulge in it a little bit. Even in normal circumstances, a crush is a diversion from everything we’re worried about. Pointless crushes may be, if anything, even more necessary during a pandemic, when the only other stimuli are horrifying. Crushes spike up and surprise us—uncomfortable but fun, sweet but nauseating.Thirsting over Fauci won't stop the pandemic, but at least it can keep us busy. I recently stumbled across a video of a woman named Jill playing guitar and singing, in a school-teacher voice, a love song for him. “Please stay safe doctor,” the song ends, “you’re our only hope.”
This Is Trump’s Fault
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” said President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden on March 13. Those words will probably end up as the epitaph of his presidency, the single sentence that sums it all up.Trump now fancies himself a “wartime president.” How is his war going? By the end of March, the coronavirus had killed more Americans than the 9/11 attacks. By the first weekend in April, the virus had killed more Americans than any single battle of the Civil War. By Easter, it may have killed more Americans than the Korean War. On the present trajectory, it will kill, by late April, more Americans than Vietnam. Having earlier promised that casualties could be held near zero, Trump now claims he will have done a “very good job” if the toll is held below 200,000 dead.The United States is on trajectory to suffer more sickness, more dying, and more economic harm from this virus than any other comparably developed country.[Read: How the coronavirus became an American catastrophe]That the pandemic occurred is not Trump’s fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump’s fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump’s fault. That states are bidding against other states for equipment, paying many multiples of the precrisis price for ventilators, is Trump’s fault. Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump’s fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump’s fault again. The refusal of red-state governors to act promptly, the failure to close Florida and Gulf Coast beaches until late March? That fault is more widely shared, but again, responsibility rests with Trump: He could have stopped it, and he did not.The lying about the coronavirus by hosts on Fox News and conservative talk radio is Trump’s fault: They did it to protect him. The false hope of instant cures and nonexistent vaccines is Trump’s fault, because he told those lies to cover up his failure to act in time. The severity of the economic crisis is Trump’s fault; things would have been less bad if he had acted faster instead of sending out his chief economic adviser and his son Eric to assure Americans that the first stock-market dips were buying opportunities. The firing of a Navy captain for speaking truthfully about the virus’s threat to his crew? Trump’s fault. The fact that so many key government jobs were either empty or filled by mediocrities? Trump’s fault. The insertion of Trump’s arrogant and incompetent son-in-law as commander in chief of the national medical supply chain? Trump’s fault.For three years, Trump has blathered and bluffed and bullied his way through an office for which he is utterly inadequate. But sooner or later, every president must face a supreme test, a test that cannot be evaded by blather and bluff and bullying. That test has overwhelmed Trump.Trump failed. He is failing. He will continue to fail. And Americans are paying for his failures.The coronavirus emerged in China in late December. The Trump administration received its first formal notification of the outbreak on January 3. The first confirmed case in the United States was diagnosed in mid-January. Financial markets in the United States suffered the first of a sequence of crashes on February 24. The first person known to have succumbed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in the United States died on February 29. The 100th died on March 17. By March 20, New York City alone had confirmed 5,600 cases. Not until March 21—the day the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services placed its first large-scale order for N95 masks—did the White House begin marshaling a national supply chain to meet the threat in earnest. “What they’ve done over the last 13 days has been really extraordinary,” Jared Kushner said on April 3, implicitly acknowledging the waste of weeks between January 3 and March 21.[Read: Exclusive: Kushner firm built the coronavirus website Trump promised]Those were the weeks when testing hardly happened, because there were no kits. Those were the weeks when tracing hardly happened, because there was little testing. Those were the weeks when isolation did not happen, because the president and his administration insisted that the virus was under control. Those were the weeks when supplies were not ordered, because nobody in the White House was home to order them. Those lost weeks placed the United States on the path to the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in the developed world: one-fourth of all confirmed cases anywhere on Earth.Those lost weeks also put the United States—and thus the world—on the path to an economic collapse steeper than any in recent memory. Statisticians cannot count fast enough to keep pace with the accelerating economic depression. It’s a good guess that the unemployment rate had reached 13 percent by April 3. It may peak at 20 percent, perhaps even higher, and threatens to stay at Great Depression–like levels at least into 2021, maybe longer.This country—buffered by oceans from the epicenter of the global outbreak, in East Asia; blessed with the most advanced medical technology on Earth; endowed with agencies and personnel devoted to responding to pandemics—could have and should have suffered less than nations nearer to China. Instead, the United States will suffer more than any peer country.It didn’t have to be this way. If somebody else had been president of the United States in December 2019—Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Mike Pence, really almost anybody else—the United States would still have been afflicted by the coronavirus. But it would have been better prepared, and better able to respond.Through the early weeks of the pandemic, when so much death and suffering could still have been prevented or mitigated, Trump joined passivity to fantasy. In those crucial early days, Trump made two big wagers. He bet that the virus could somehow be prevented from entering the United States by travel restrictions. And he bet that, to the extent that the virus had already entered the United States, it would burn off as the weather warmed.At a session with state governors on February 10, Trump predicted that the virus would quickly disappear on its own. “Now, the virus that we’re talking about having to do—you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat—as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We’re in great shape though. We have 12 cases—11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now.” On February 14, Trump repeated his assurance that the virus would disappear by itself. He tweeted again on February 24 that he had the virus “very much under control in the USA.” On February 27, he said that the virus would disappear “like a miracle.”Those two assumptions led him to conclude that not much else needed to be done. Senator Chris Murphy left a White House briefing on February 5, and tweeted: Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren’t taking this seriously enough. Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now. Trump and his supporters now say that he was distracted from responding to the crisis by his impeachment. Even if it were true, pleading that the defense of your past egregious misconduct led to your present gross failures is not much of an excuse.But if Trump and his senior national-security aides were distracted, impeachment was not the only reason, or even the principal reason. The period when the virus gathered momentum in Wuhan province was also the period during which the United States seemed on the brink of war with Iran. Through the fall of 2019, tensions escalated between the two countries. The United States blamed an Iranian-linked militia for a December 27 rocket attack on a U.S. base in Iraq, triggering tit-for-tat retaliation that would lead to the U.S. killing General Qassem Soleimani on January 3, open threats of war by the United States on January 6, and the destruction of a civilian airliner over Tehran on January 8.The preoccupation with Iran may account for why Trump paid so little attention to the virus, despite the many warnings. On January 18, Trump—on a golf excursion in Palm Beach, Florida—cut off his health secretary’s telephoned warning of gathering danger to launch into a lecture about vaping, The Washington Post reported.Two days later, the first documented U.S. case was confirmed in Washington State.Yet even at that late hour, Trump continued to think of the coronavirus as something external to the United States. He tweeted on January 22: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”[Adam Serwer: Trump is inciting a coronavirus culture war to save himself]Impeachment somehow failed to distract Trump from traveling to Davos, where in a January 22 interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, he promised: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”Trump would later complain that he had been deceived by the Chinese. “I wish they could have told us earlier about what was going on inside,” he said on March 21. “We didn’t know about it until it started coming out publicly.”If Trump truly was so trustingly ignorant as late as January 22, the fault was again his own. The Trump administration had cut U.S. public-health staff operating inside China by two-thirds, from 47 in January 2017 to 14 by 2019, an important reason it found itself dependent on less-accurate information from the World Health Organization. In July 2019, the Trump administration defunded the position that embedded an epidemiologist inside China’s own disease-control administration, again obstructing the flow of information to the United States.Yet even if Trump did not know what was happening, other Americans did. On January 27, former Vice President Joe Biden sounded the alarm about a global pandemic in an op-ed in USA Today. By the end of January, eight cases of the virus had been confirmed in the United States. Hundreds more must have been incubating undetected.On January 31, the Trump administration at last did something: It announced restrictions on air travel to and from China by non-U.S. persons. This January 31 decision to restrict air travel has become Trump’s most commonly proffered defense of his actions. “We’ve done an incredible job because we closed early,” Trump said on February 27. “We closed those borders very early, against the advice of a lot of professionals, and we turned out to be right. I took a lot of heat for that,” he repeated on March 4. Trump praised himself some more at a Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the next day. “As soon as I heard that China had a problem, I said, ‘What’s going on with China? How many people are coming in?’ Nobody but me asked that question. And you know better than—again, you know … that I closed the borders very early.”Because Trump puts so much emphasis on this point, it’s important to stress that none of this is true. Trump did not close the borders early—in fact, he did not truly close them at all.The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on January 30, but recommended against travel restrictions. On January 31, the same day the United States announced its restrictions, Italy suspended all flights to and from China. But unlike the American restrictions, which did not take effect until February 2, the Italian ban applied immediately. Australia acted on February 1, halting entries from China by foreign nationals, again ahead of Trump.And Trump’s actions did little to stop the spread of the virus. The ban applied only to foreign nationals who had been in China during the previous 14 days, and included 11 categories of exceptions. Since the restrictions took effect, nearly 40,000 passengers have entered the United States from China, subjected to inconsistent screenings, The New York Times reported.At a House hearing on February 5, a few days after the restrictions went into effect, Ron Klain—who led the Obama administration’s efforts against the Ebola outbreak—condemned the Trump policy as a “travel Band-Aid, not a travel ban.”That same afternoon, Trump’s impeachment trial ended with his acquittal in the Senate. The president, though, turned his energy not to combatting the virus, but to the demands of his own ego.The president’s top priority through February 2019 was to exact retribution from truth-tellers in the impeachment fight. On February 7, Trump removed Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council. On February 12, Trump withdrew his nomination of Jessie Liu as undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial crimes, apparently to punish her for her role in the prosecution and conviction of the Trump ally Roger Stone. On March 2, Trump withdrew the nomination of Elaine McCusker to the post of Pentagon comptroller; McCusker’s sin was having raised concerns that suspension of aid to Ukraine had been improper. Late on the evening of April 3, Trump fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, the official who had forwarded the Ukraine whistleblower complaint to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, as the law required. As the epigrammist Windsor Mann tweeted that same night: “Trump’s impeachment distracted him from preparing for a pandemic, but the pandemic did not distract him from firing the man he holds responsible for his impeachment.”[Peter Wehner: The Trump presidency is over]Intentionally or not, Trump’s campaign of payback against his perceived enemies in the impeachment battle sent a warning to public-health officials: Keep your mouth shut. If anybody missed the message, the firing of Captain Brett Crozier from the command of an aircraft carrier for speaking honestly about the danger facing his sailors was a reminder. There’s a reason that the surgeon general of the United States seems terrified to answer even the most basic factual questions or that Rear Admiral John Polowczyk sounds like a malfunctioning artificial-intelligence program at press briefings. The president’s lies must not be contradicted. And because the president’s lies change constantly, it’s impossible to predict what might contradict him.“BEST USA ECONOMY IN HISTORY!” Trump tweeted on February 11. On February 15, Trump shared a video from a Senate GOP account, tweeting: “Our booming economy is drawing Americans off the sidelines and BACK TO WORK at the highest rate in 30 hears!”Denial became the unofficial policy of the administration through the month of February, and as a result, that of the administration’s surrogates and propagandists. “It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump,” Rush Limbaugh said on his radio program February 24. “Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus … Yeah, I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold folks.”“We have contained this,” Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC on February 24. “I won’t say airtight, but pretty close to airtight. We have done a good job in the United States.” Kudlow conceded that there might be “some stumbles” in financial markets, but insisted there would be no “economic tragedy.”On February 28, then–White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference, near Washington, D.C.: The reason you’re ... seeing so much attention to [the virus] today is that [the media] think this is gonna be what brings down this president. This is what this is all about. I got a note from a reporter saying, “What are you gonna do today to calm the markets.” I’m like: Really, what I might do today to calm the markets is tell people to turn their televisions off for 24 hours ... This is not Ebola, okay? It’s not SARS, it’s not MERS. That same day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scolded a House committee for daring to ask him about the coronavirus. “We agreed that I’d come today to talk about Iran, and the first question today is not about Iran.”Throughout the crisis, the top priority of the president, and of everyone who works for the president, has been the protection of his ego. Americans have become sadly used to Trump’s blustery self-praise and his insatiable appetite for flattery. During the pandemic, this psychological deformity mutated into a deadly strategic vulnerability for the United States.[Wajahat Ali: This is what happens when the federal government abandons you]“If we were doing a bad job, we should also be criticized. But we have done an incredible job,” Trump said on February 27. “We’re doing a great job with it,” he told Republican senators on March 10. “I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning,” he tweeted on March 18.For three-quarters of his presidency, Trump has taken credit for the economic expansion that began under President Barack Obama in 2010. That expansion accelerated in 2014, just in time to deliver real prosperity over the past three years. The harm done by Trump’s own initiatives, and especially his trade wars, was masked by that continued growth. The economy Trump inherited became his all-purpose answer to his critics. Did he break laws, corrupt the Treasury, appoint cronies, and tell lies? So what? Unemployment was down, the stock market up.Suddenly, in 2020, the rooster that had taken credit for the sunrise faced the reality of sunset. He could not bear it.Underneath all the denial and self-congratulation, Trump seems to have glimpsed the truth. The clearest statement of that knowledge was expressed on February 28. That day, Trump spoke at a rally in South Carolina—his penultimate rally before the pandemic forced him to stop. This was the rally at which Trump accused the Democrats of politicizing the coronavirus as “their new hoax.” That line was so shocking, it has crowded out awareness of everything else Trump said that day. Yet those other statements are, if possible, even more relevant to understanding the trouble he brought upon the country.Trump does not speak clearly. His patterns of speech betray a man with guilty secrets to hide, and a beclouded mind. Yet we can discern, through the mental fog, that Trump had absorbed some crucial facts. By February 28, somebody in his orbit seemed to already be projecting 35,000 to 40,000 deaths from the coronavirus. Trump remembered the number, but refused to believe it. His remarks are worth revisiting at length: Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus, you know that, right? Coronavirus, they’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. You say, “How’s President Trump doing?” They go, “Oh, not good, not good.” They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa. They can’t even count. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, “Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.” That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried it over and over. They’d been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning. They lost. It’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax. But we did something that’s been pretty amazing. We have 15 people [sick] in this massive country, and because of the fact that we went early. We went early; we could have had a lot more than that. We’re doing great. Our country is doing so great. We are so unified. We are so unified. The Republican Party has never ever been unified like it is now. There has never been a movement in the history of our country like we have now. Never been a movement. So a statistic that we want to talk about—Go ahead: Say USA. It’s okay; USA. So a number that nobody heard of, that I heard of recently and I was shocked to hear it: 35,000 people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that? Thirty-five thousand, that’s a lot of people. It could go to 100,000; it could be 27,000. They say usually a minimum of 27, goes up to 100,000 people a year die. And so far, we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States. Nobody. And it doesn’t mean we won’t and we are totally prepared. It doesn’t mean we won’t, but think of it. You hear 35 and 40,000 people and we’ve lost nobody and you wonder, the press is in hysteria mode. On February 28, very few Americans had heard of an estimated death toll of 35,000 to 40,000, but Trump had heard it. And his answer to that estimate was: “So far, we have lost nobody.” He conceded, “That doesn’t mean we won’t.” But he returned to his happy talk. “We are totally prepared.” And as always, it was the media's fault. “You hear 35 and 40,000 people and we’ve lost nobody and you wonder, the press is in hysteria mode.”By February 28, it was too late to exclude the coronavirus from the United States. It was too late to test and trace, to isolate the first cases and halt their further spread—that opportunity had already been lost. It was too late to refill the stockpiles that the Republican Congresses of the Tea Party years had refused to replenish, despite frantic pleas from the Obama administration. It was too late to produce sufficient ventilators in sufficient time.But on February 28, it was still not too late to arrange an orderly distribution of medical supplies to the states, not too late to coordinate with U.S. allies, not too late to close the Florida beaches before spring break, not too late to bring passengers home from cruise lines, not too late to ensure that state unemployment-insurance offices were staffed and ready, not too late for local governments to get funds to food banks, not too late to begin social distancing fast and early. Stay-at-home orders could have been put into effect on March 1, not in late March and early April.[Lawrence Gostin and Sarah Wetter: Why there’s no national lockdown]So much time had been wasted by the end of February. So many opportunities had been squandered. But even then, the shock could have been limited. Instead, Trump and his inner circle plunged deeper into two weeks of lies and denial, both about the disease and about the economy.On February 28, Eric Trump urged Americans to go “all in” on the weakening stock market.Kudlow repeated his advice that it was a good time to buy stocks on CNBC on March 6 after another bad week for the financial markets. As late as March 9, Trump was still arguing that the coronavirus would be no worse than the seasonal flu. So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that! But the facade of denial was already cracking.Through early March, financial markets declined and then crashed. Schools closed, then whole cities, and then whole states. The overwhelmed president responded by doing what comes most naturally to him at moments of trouble: He shifted the blame to others.The lack of testing equipment? On March 13, Trump passed that buck to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Obama administration.[Read: Be very careful about taking medical advice from President Trump]The White House had dissolved the directorate of the National Security Council responsible for planning for and responding to pandemics? Not me, Trump said on March 13. Maybe somebody else in the administration did it, but “I didn’t do it ... I don’t know anything about it. You say we did that. I don’t know anything about it.”Were ventilators desperately scarce? Obtaining medical equipment was the governors’ job, Trump said on a March 16 conference call.Did Trump delay action until it was far too late? That was the fault of the Chinese government for withholding information, he complained on March 21.On March 27, Trump attributed his own broken promises about ventilator production to General Motors, now headed by a woman unworthy of even a last name: “Always a mess with Mary B.”Masks, gowns, and gloves were running short only because hospital staff were stealing them, Trump suggested on March 29.Was the national emergency medical stockpile catastrophically depleted? Trump’s campaign creatively tried to pin that on mistakes Joe Biden made back in 2009.At his press conference on April 2, Trump blamed the shortage of lifesaving equipment, and the ensuing panic-buying, on states’ failure to build their own separate stockpile. “They have to work that out. What they should do is they should’ve—long before this pandemic arrived—they should’ve been on the open market just buying. There was no competition; you could have made a great price. The states have to stock up. It’s like one of those things. They waited. They didn’t want to spend the money, because they thought this would never happen.”Were New Yorkers dying? On April 2, Trump fired off a peevish letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “If you spent less time on your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ended up going nowhere (except increasing my poll numbers), and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared for the ‘invisible enemy.’”Trump’s instinct to dodge and blame had devastating consequences for Americans. Every governor and mayor who needed the federal government to take action, every science and medical adviser who hoped to prevent Trump from doing something stupid or crazy, had to reckon with Trump’s psychic needs as their single biggest problem.As his medical advisers sought to dissuade Trump from proceeding with his musing about reopening the country by Easter, April 12, Deborah Birx—the White House’s coronavirus-response coordinator—appeared on the evangelical CBN network to deliver this abject flattery: “[Trump is] so attentive to the scientific literature & the details & the data. I think his ability to analyze & integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit.”Governors got the message too. “If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump explained at a White House press briefing on March 27. The federal response has been dogged by suspicions of favoritism for political and personal allies of Trump. The District of Columbia has seen its requests denied, while Florida gets everything it asks for.The weeks of Trump-administration denial and delay have triggered a desperate scramble among states. The Trump administration is allocating some supplies through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but has made the deliberate choice to allow large volumes of crucial supplies to continue to be distributed by commercial firms to their clients. That has left state governments bidding against one another, as if the 1787 Constitution had never been signed, and we have no national government.In his panic, Trump is sacrificing U.S. alliances abroad, attempting to recoup his own failure by turning predator. German and French officials accuse the Trump administration of diverting supplies they had purchased to the United States. On April 3, the North American company 3M publicly rebuked the Trump administration for its attempt to embargo medical exports to Canada, where 3M has operated seven facilities for 70 years.Around the world, allies are registering that in an emergency, when it matters most, the United States has utterly failed to lead. Perhaps the only political leader in Canada ever to say a good word about Donald Trump, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, expressed disgust at an April 3 press conference. “I just can’t stress how disappointed I am at President Trump ... I’m not going to rely on President Trump,” he said. “I’m not going to rely on any prime minister or president from any country ever again.” Ford argued for a future of Canadian self-sufficiency. Trump’s nationalist selfishness is proving almost as contagious as the virus itself—and could ultimately prove as dangerous, too.As the pandemic kills, as the economic depression tightens its grip, Donald Trump has consistently put his own needs first. Right now, when his only care should be to beat the pandemic, Trump is renegotiating his debts with his bankers and lease payments with Palm Beach County.[Read: How the pandemic will end]He has never tried to be president of the whole United States, but at most 46 percent of it, to the extent that serving even the 46 percent has been consistent with his supreme concerns: stealing, loafing, and whining. Now he is not even serving the 46 percent. The people most victimized by his lies and fantasies are the people who trusted him, the more conservative Americans who harmed themselves to prove their loyalty to Trump. An Arkansas pastor told The Washington Post of congregants “ready to lick the floor” to support the president’s claim that there is nothing to worry about. On March 15, the Trump-loyal governor of Oklahoma tweeted a since-deleted photo of himself and his children at a crowded restaurant buffet. “Eating with my kids and all my fellow Oklahomans at the @CollectiveOKC. It’s packed tonight!” Those who took their cues from Trump and the media who propagandized for him, and all Americans, will suffer for it.Governments often fail. From Pearl Harbor to the financial crisis of 2008, you can itemize a long list of missed warnings and overlooked dangers that cost lives and inflicted hardship. But in the past, Americans could at least expect public spirit and civic concern from their presidents.Trump has mouthed the slogan “America first,” but he has never acted on it. It has always been “Trump first.” His business first. His excuses first. His pathetic vanity first.Trump has taken millions in payments from the Treasury. He has taken millions in payments from U.S. businesses and foreign governments. He has taken millions in payments from the Republican Party and his own inaugural committee. He has taken so much that does not belong to him, that was unethical and even illegal for him to take. But responsibility? No, he will not take that.Yet responsibility falls upon Trump, whether he takes it or not. No matter how much he deflects and insults and snivels and whines, this American catastrophe is on his hands and on his head.
'I've got a private island' Dana White says UFC events will go ahead
As other sports search for solutions on how to carry out events in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, UFC president Dana White believes he has come up with a creative resolution.
Wisconsin pushes ahead with presidential primary despite coronavirus fears
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Why Trump doesn't want to wear a mask
It's no surprise that President Donald Trump says he won't follow CDC recommendations to wear a mask to stop the spread of coronavirus, writes Michael D'Antonio. Ever the defiant and self-involved Baby Boomer, Trump's response is the expression of both a political idea -- anti-governmentism -- and of a kind of morality that surged as he was making his name as a property developer.
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UFC fighter Anthony Smith said Monday he was forced to take down an intruder in his Nebraska home over the weekend in what he described at a “terrifying” encounter.