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Donald Trump Continues to Hate Science, Just Like Jared Kushner Wants

Jared Kushner leers as Trump speaks into a microphone.

Surprising no one, President Trump has rebuked Dr. Anthony Fauci’s warnings about reopening the economy too fast. Fauci warned, as have many experts, that reopening the economy too quickly without a plan and without “checkpoints” will be very dangerous, and that rushing to reopen will potentially set back any progress we’ve made. Donald Trump does not like that one bit and said that Fauci’s comments were “unacceptable.”

And with American lives at stake with reopening too quickly, we have to ask: Why? Why has this terrible man at every point in this crisis chosen to ignore science, evidence, and the best practices? Why has he spent this entire crisis making the worst decisions at every juncture?  It’s because of his view of the world, and the influence of the people around him that support and use that view. Because, Trump, a greedy, petty, foolish man, is easily manipulated by greedy, arguably smarter men who feed into his pre-established opinions, like his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

A new report from The Financial Times, picked up by The Daily Beast, quotes an inside source on Trump who reports that:

Jared [Kushner] had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it… That advice worked far more powerfully on [Trump] than what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always exaggerate.

This matches with something we already knew. That, despite being warned early and often about the potential severity of a coronavirus outbreak in the US, Trump did nothing, because he didn’t want to look bad going into an election. So what we have is confirmation of Trump’s flawed and very dangerous world view: if we act like there’s no problem, there’s no problem.

This is, in short, absolutely terrible.

Ignoring a problem, or pretending it’s not there, doesn’t make it go away, just like pretending that the free press is “fake news” doesn’t mean they aren’t saying the truth. And yet, Donald Trump thinks that if he ignores scientists and fact on crises like coronavirus and climate change, he can will reality to fit his agenda. And the marginally smarter people around Trump know he thinks this way and use it.

The only people that can influence him are those who agree with him and further bolster his world view, people like Kushner and Fox News pundits and QAnon conspiracy theorists. In the Time article, another source claims that bringing information to Trump is like “bringing fruits to the volcano … You’re trying to appease a great force that’s impervious to reason.”

This brings us back to Trump calling Anthony Fauci’s very reasonable and sane warnings “unacceptable.” This is the President that threw out the CDC guidelines to reopening because they were too careful. This is the man who’s encouraging the people who are protesting lockdown. He’s doing this all because he still thinks that with the right amount of misinformation and wanton ignorance, he can simply bend reality and voters his line of thinking.

But he can’t. All he does with his ignorance is cost more American lives and, by delaying testing, treatment, and precautions, he only makes things much worse and makes it harder to reopen. And I wonder if that is something that Jared Kushner understands, or if he buys into the Trump mindset, or if he just expects his wealth to shelter him no matter what.

The sad point here is that the only people that can influence Trump are the others contending for his title of Worst Person in the World. There are no winners in that contest, but the losers are all of us.

(via The Daily Beast, Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.