Trump Isn’t Opposing a New Stimulus Because of Bad Politics

He would rather just pretend that the pandemic doesn’t exist.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to spike across the country, it is not just American lives that are threatened, the economic toll continues to rise. For example:

Renters are nearing the end of their financial rope.

People who rent have largely been able to survive the initial months of the pandemic helped by unemployment and federal relief checks. But the extra $600 in unemployment benefits ceases at the end of July and local eviction moratoriums are expiring…

The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, a coalition of economic researchers and legal experts, estimates that 19 million to 23 million Americans are at risk for eviction by the end of September.

Just as the situation becomes more dire, some of the relief measures passed to address the situation are set to expire at the end of this month. While the House passed a bill to extend them quite a while ago, Majority Leader McConnell is dragging his feet in the Senate and the White House seems content to let him do so.

In a piece titled “Why Would Trump Oppose Stimulus,” Jonathan Bernstein writes a sentence that grabbed my attention: “He seems to think that taking dramatic action to solve a problem is bad politics compared to pretending the problem doesn’t exist.” That isn’t just commentary on Trump’s colossal failure when it comes to his response to the pandemic, it is a pretty good summary of his entire presidency.

You might recall that the guy who refers to himself as a “stable genius” has said that things like winning trade deals and replacing Obamacare would be easy. But when the going got tough, he simply quit trying. That’s because governing is hard work that requires both skill and persistence. Solving problems also requires a leader who actually cares about something other than his own narcissistic ego.

As I’ve been saying since the beginning, this president has demonstrated that the only skills he has are to lie, distract, and blame. So I’d disagree with Bernstein that his lack of interest in a stimulus bill isn’t so much that he thinks doing so would be bad politics, but that he neither cares nor has the skills necessary to craft something that would be effective. He has simply reverted to his old pattern of lying about the problem (ie, testing is creating more COVID-19 cases), distracting by focusing on the need to reopen schools, and blaming Anthony Fauci for getting things wrong.

In the end, Trump’s solution is always to pretend that a problem doesn’t exist. His delusions are activated when it becomes clear that he is incapable of solving the challenges we face as a country.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.