Projection of Totally Unbelievable Scope

Not new. Not surprising. Still, pretty amazing.

Source: White House (public domain)

It is often stated that everything Trump says about others is usually projection, but this may take the cake. Via CNN, Trump claims White House can overrule FDA’s attempt to toughen guidelines for coronavirus vaccine:

“We’re looking at that and that has to be approved by the White House. We may or may not approve it,” the President said of the new FDA guidelines at a White House news conference. “That sounds like a political move.”

Of course! Having the Food and Drug Administration issue guidelines for vaccines is political, meanwhile the current occupant of the White House, who desperately wants to say he is bring a vaccine to the masses, is acting in the name of science.

I know this is absurd and obvious on its face, and not even the worst thing he has said in that last day or so.* But it is such a remarkably perfect example his ability to accuse others of what he himself is doing.

And what is the true tragedy of all of this is that his mania for getting a vaccine out before the election is just creating doubt in the public’s mind about safety. He is continually undermining confidence in public health practices and institutions for his own political gain (or, so he hopes, as it does not appear to be helping him much).

To wit:

“It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems and other problems. That’s what it really affects. In some states, thousands of people — nobody young. Below the age of 18, like, nobody. They have a strong immune system, who knows? Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing.”

No doubt he is just trying to avoid panicking his supporters.


*I will hopefully get to his latest inability to take the chance to accept a peaceful transition soon.

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FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, COVID-19, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. JohnMcC says:

    Headline in the present NYT: New York State is going to set up a commission to ‘vet’ the vaccine if the Trump administration makes it an October Surprise.

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  2. Joe says:

    While I don’t disagree with the substance of your analysis, aren’t all executive agencies subject to White House review? Isn’t the real administrative failing (focusing on the technique of administering government) that the guidelines were released before receiving political review? Just to be clear, I agree entirely that the mode of political review they will receive in this administration will be fundamentally corrupt, i.e. for the benefit of the president’s campaign, not for the benefit of the American public. But all Executive Agencies and scientists should ultimately be under a political control, exercised judiciously and for the public good. Scientists should be using their best efforts to tell the administration what we are likely to get out of certain policies and even advocating for certain policies, but not unilaterally setting the policies anymore than the defense department should be deciding unilaterally whether to go to war. That’s why we elect administrations (even this pathetic one).

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  3. @Joe:

    While I don’t disagree with the substance of your analysis, aren’t all executive agencies subject to White House review? Isn’t the real administrative failing (focusing on the technique of administering government) that the guidelines were released before receiving political review?

    The White House does not review everything all agencies do-think about how much work that would be. The President asserts indirect influence over the FDA but does not review and approve things like vaccine guidleines.

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  4. @Joe: Put another way: political influence over executive agencies is through the appointees put into place to oversee the agencies in question, not by direct supervision.

    Indeed, we want things like the FDA to be shielded from daily politics.

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  5. Joe says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I may be quibbling, but a real administration would appoint someone at the FDA who could both let the agency accomplish its mission without day-to-day politics, but yet reflect some political judgment originating from the chief executive about how that mission is implemented. It would not be a situation where the White House is repeatedly “surprised” by agency actions and announces after they are out the door that they need further review, which is both bad management and subjecting those actions and those agencies, certainly in this administration, to unhelpful political oversight.

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  6. @Joe: A real administration would have its act together far more than this one, to be sure. And a real president would be relying on the FDA for scientific guidance.

    Alas…

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  7. Kathy says:

    @Joe:
    @Steven L. Taylor:

    A real administration wouldn’t include a Donald Trump at any position, never mind at the top.

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  8. CSK says:

    It might be wise to take anything Trump says about any health-related matter and do or believe the opposite. Yes, I’m aware that could apply to anything the man utters.

    With respect to the Covid vaccine, I told my cardiologist I’d be the first in line to get it. He replied, “No, you’ll be right behind me.”

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  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing.”

    Gee, I dunno. I can’t speak for any other areas of the US, but in our little part of Red State ‘Murka, people below the age of 30 make up 39% of the total cases. (And as I noted on a different thread we are still at replacement rate in new infections–for every body who gets well, we infect a new one week on week. For about 9 weeks so far. It is an amazing thing, though.)

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  10. motopilot says:

    @Kathy:

    A real administration wouldn’t include a Donald Trump at any position, never mind at the top.

    The first thought that came to my mind as well, but you stated it so succinctly.

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  11. David S. says:

    @Joe: To some extent, yes, executive agencies exist at the pleasure of the chief executive. However, those agencies weren’t chartered with the mission to be loyal to the chief executive: the entire point of spinning them off as self-directed agencies in the first place is to build them out as semi-independent operations. If something needs political review, then that would be on the books as part of the process for doing that thing; the commissioner who was directly appointed by the president (and theoretically, confirmed by the Senate, though Trump doesn’t seem to want to bother with that part anymore) would be responsible for making sure of that.

    Incidentally, that makes me wonder. To what extent do you all think that Biden–if elected–would sign legislation that aimed to close loopholes that Trump exploited? Would the elected Congress write such legislation? For instance, disallowing an appointed officer from holding a position without confirmation for longer than some fixed period?

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  12. Jax says:

    @David S.: It sounds nice, in theory, but I think I’d like to let Fox News and their talking heads bitch about it a little during a Biden Presidency, at least as long as Chad Wolfe and Whatshisfuckinname have been unconfirmed appointments.

    It won’t matter what Congress writes if Mitch keeps the Senate and Biden wins. We’re back to the Obama years, where anything that might help actual people is blocked. There might be a kumbaya (ding, dong, the Witch is dead!) moment when we all realize Season 4 of Celebrity Apprentice: The White House has hit it’s series finale, but Mitch is Mitch.

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