Don’t expect Trump’s latest idiocy to lose him followers — they’d rather get COVID-19 than admit they were wrong
onald Trump was doing spectacularly bad science again, this time during a town hall in Philadelphia hosted by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday night. The event went about as well for the president as anyone who has been awake during the past four years could have predicted, which raises the important question: Wasn’t his new campaign manager supposed to be competent?
When asked about an audio clip captured by journalist Bob Woodward in which Trump talks about the coronavirus pandemic and how much he “wanted to always play it down,” Trump slid right into his don’t-believe-your-lying-ears mode, claiming that he, in fact, “up-played it.” Whatever that means. Then the “very stable genius” currently squatting in the Oval Office rolled out his brilliant plan to lick the coronavirus problem (as transcribed by the invaluable Aaron Rupar of Vox):
TRUMP: It is going away.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Without a vaccine?
TRUMP: Sure. Over a period of time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And many deaths.
TRUMP: It’s gonna be herd developed.
He also used the phrase “herd mentality.”
Trump’s English comprehension is garbled by decades of being unable to listen to anyone speaking about any topic that doesn’t directly concern his greatness or his personal finances. But he appeared to be talking about the concept of “herd immunity,” which is generally understood to require 70 to 90% of the population to be immune to a given infectious agent. This “let everyone get it” plan has been a favorite of Trump’s from the beginning of the pandemic. Recently, he has hired a borderline quack named Dr. Scott Atlas — a radiologist with no expertise in virology or epidemiology — to keep telling him it’s a good idea. But even Atlas knows this is a crackpot plan, and has so far refused to admit to reporters that he’s the source of Trump’s incoherent muttering about “herd impunity” or “herd magnanimity” or “herd it on the grapevine.” (To be clear: Kidding! He hasn’t said any of those things. At least not yet.)