Science Fiction in the White House

Donald Trump acts as if the United States were not ravaged by COVID-19.

Americans cannot but laugh in the face of the paranormal show presented by the White House in the middle of a pandemic. While the United States has crossed the mark of 75,000 new daily cases of COVID-19, on Wednesday, Donald Trump posed in the Oval Office with cans of food from a brand that supports him. In an anti-environmental delirium, he also accused Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent for the presidency, of advocating for houses without windows. By contrast, on Thursday, he presented himself as a champion of low-efficiency dishwashers and showerheads.

At the same time, the White House is betting on science fiction to mask its catastrophic management of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 135,000 lives on that side of the Atlantic. On Thursday, Kayleigh McEnany, the president’s spokeswoman, asserted with a straight face that “science shouldn’t stand in the way” of schools reopening.

Trump is not the only one to view scientists as a political threat. He’s been emulated by several Republican leaders, including Brian Kemp. On Thursday, Georgia’s governor even sued the mayor of Atlanta, who had issued an order to wear face masks, the very measure recommended by doctors to slow the contagion.

While Trump and his clan draw a veil over facts, tragedies multiply. On July 4, Richard Rose died of COVID-19 at the age of 37. In April, this Ohio veteran had claimed on Facebook that he would not buy a “f***ing mask.” His last messages before his death reflect the suffering of a man out of breath due to the virus. In a United States on the verge of a nervous breakdown, his death triggered a deluge of mockery and supplied the sad spectacle of a country where even death is politicized.

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