Oh fuck the October surprise is going to be Trump announcing a vaccine is ready and we're not going to find out until the day after the election that it's not actually ready or it has dangerous side effects or something.
— The face toucher (@JonIsAwesomest) May 4, 2020
Two problems with this theory: One, Trump’s personal timeline doesn’t extend beyond the end of the current week, if that far. And while Trump is ‘In Charge’, the GOP doesn’t have any control over forward planning. Assuming they might want to spring such an October Surprise — and I’m open to that assumption — they couldn’t tell Trump about it without him announcing it during his next television appearance. And if they don’t tell Trump, they have to work under the assumption he’ll make such an announcement anyways, sometime between tonight and the next serious stock market decline.
Second, while Trump’s (very) Base will certainly lap up such an announcement, the all-important ‘swing voter’ is getting increasingly dubious. It would take a miracle of timing to announce a vaccine in time to affect November voting (especially since there will be an unusually high percentage of mail-in ballots, beginning sometime in mid-October) without a significant backlash before November 3.
The Oval Office Occupant has six more months to fustercluck every Repub plan for the election, and by Murphy the Trickster God he is going to seize the day.
NEW –> 34 days of pandemic: Inside Trump’s desperate attempts to reopen America
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) May 2, 2020
The epidemiological models under review in the White House Situation Room in late March were bracing. In a best-case scenario, they showed the novel coronavirus was likely to kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. President Trump was apprehensive about so much carnage on his watch, yet also impatient to reopen the economy — and he wanted data to justify doing so.
So the White House considered its own analysis. A small team led by Kevin Hassett — a former chairman of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers with no background in infectious diseases — quietly built an econometric model to guide response operations.
Many White House aides interpreted the analysis as predicting that the daily death count would peak in mid-April before dropping off substantially, and that there would be far fewer fatalities than initially foreseen, according to six people briefed on it…
For Trump — whose decision-making has been guided largely by his reelection prospects — the analysis, coupled with Hassett’s grim predictions of economic calamity, provided justification to pivot to where he preferred to be: cheering an economic revival rather than managing a catastrophic health crisis.
Trump directed his coronavirus task force to issue guidelines for reopening businesses, encouraged “LIBERATE” protests to apply pressure on governors and proclaimed that “the cure can’t be worse than the problem itself” — even as polls showed that Americans were far more concerned about their personal safety.
By the end of April — with more Americans dying in the month than in all of the Vietnam War — it became clear that the Hassett model was too good to be true. “A catastrophic miss,” as a former senior administration official briefed on the data described it. The president’s course would not be changed, however. Trump and Kushner began to declare a great victory against the virus, while urging America to start reopening businesses and schools…
The span of 34 days between March 29, when Trump agreed to extend strict social-distancing guidelines, and this past week, when he celebrated the reopening of some states as a harbinger of economic revival, tells a story of desperation and dysfunction….
Trump doesn’t care about ‘science’. Trump has a larger agenda, serving his half-understood Bad Father God, ‘The Market’:
… As April began with the extension of social distancing, tensions grew within the administration between the doctors and scientists advising the response and the economic and political aides with longer-standing relationships with the president.
Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Pence, exerted significant influence over the coronavirus task force, setting the agenda and determining seating arrangements for meetings as well as helping to orchestrate press briefings. Short also is one of the White House’s most vocal skeptics of how bad the pandemic would be. He repeatedly questioned the data being shared with Trump, and in internal discussions said he did not believe the death toll would ever get to 60,000 and that the administration was overreacting, damaging the economy and the president’s chances for reelection, according to people who have heard his arguments.
Day after day, Short pressed other officials to reopen the entire country, encouraging more risks to get the economy humming again. Short succeeded in pushing for Trump to resume travel, as Pence had done, over the objections of some officials, who argued that leaving Washington endangers the principals and their staffs. Trump plans to visit a mask manufacturing plant in Arizona on Tuesday.
Short aligned with Hassett, Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, among others, who shared the belief that the economy had been shut down for long enough. A former senior administration official briefed on the internal dynamics described the consensus mind-set among this bloc as believing health officials were “like the school nurse trying to tell the principal how to run the school.”…
Trump had been agonizing over the economy, watching the number of Americans filing unemployment insurance claims climb each week. He fretted about the unemployment rate rising to 15 percent or even higher, a milestone that advisers warned him would seriously jeopardize his reelection.
In a private April call with supporters on immigration, Ken Cuccinelli, a top immigration official, said that the numbers would be “so stunning . . . that it will be a messaging hit.”…
Trump heard that message from others as well. He held regular calls with a group known internally as “Kudlow’s guys” — generational peers with high media profiles, including Laffer, financier Steve Forbes and economist Stephen Moore.
“Get open, get open, get open — we kept pressing that point,” Moore said. Otherwise, he recalled telling Trump, “You’ll have a mini-Great Depression. You’ll have body bags of dead businesses and jobs that will never be resurrected.”…
… Trump formally embraced the quarantine protesters on April 17 with a trio of all-caps tweets: “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA.”
Inside the White House, there was disappointment about Trump’s tweets since many of his aides had hoped to frame his decision on reopening as a presidential test he had met with calm. Privately, several of them acknowledged that the “LIBERATE” tweets brought Trump back into the realm of conspiracy and anger, which he considers safe harbor when he feels boxed in…
On April 23, the day after his campaign team’s polling intervention, Trump continued with his usual behavior. During a lengthy and at times hostile question-and-answer session with reporters, Trump mused aloud about being treated with ultraviolet light or injecting bleach or another household disinfectant into the body to cure the coronavirus.
“I see the disinfectant, where it knocks [the virus] out in a minute — one minute — and is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside, or almost a cleaning,” Trump said, referring to the human body…
This is ‘Downfall of A Dictator’ material — the sort of stories you’d expect to read describing the last days of Idi Amin or Nicolae Ceaușescu. Or, you know… that guy from the many, many movie parodies.
Bill Gates wrote an op-ed saying it could be a once in a century pandemic the same day Mick Mulvaney said the media was only covering it to hurt Trump and RNC chair accused Democrats of stoking fears of coronavirus for political purposes. https://t.co/e1LyhpC8Qk
— andrew kaczynski? (@KFILE) May 2, 2020