I think part of what he said here is being misunderstood. Check that: I hope part of what he said here is being misunderstood.
Specifically, when he says, “After November 3, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen,” he doesn’t mean it’ll literally go away. In context it seems to me that he means much/most of the Democrats’ alleged fear of the virus will go away. He’s accusing them of overstating their anxiety about the disease to create a pretext for … uh, stopping Trump from holding rallies?
Usually the conspiracy theory to explain blue states’ fondness for shutdowns is that they’re trying to tank the economic recovery in hopes that Trump will be punished for it at the polls. This is the first time I’ve heard it suggested that the prospect of 15,000 Trumpers gathering in an arena is so daunting to Democratic governors that they’d risk billions of dollars of economic damage to their home states to stop it from happening.
Probably not the craziest theory that’s ever been advanced on “Judge Jeanine,” though.
“Biden loves this,” @EricTrump says, talking about agonizing shutdowns during the pandemic… “They’ll milk it every single day between now and Nov. 3, and guess what, after Nov. 3, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear… ” pic.twitter.com/WS0CPQMtsj
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 17, 2020
I think Trump’s making both points. They want to hurt the economy and they also want to prevent MAGA gatherings. A few points in response:
1. In reality, there aren’t many swing states that are still shut down. Was the president planning to hold rallies in California or Illinois this summer for some reason?
That map is actually outdated. Gretchen Whitmer announced this morning that Michigan’s upper peninsula and the northern part of the lower peninsula will begin reopening on Friday, including bars and restaurants subject to rules about limited capacity. Wisconsin and North Carolina, two prime battlegrounds this fall, are reopening and each is governed by a Democrat. It’s weird that the great economy-tanking conspiracy has so many Team Blue holdouts.
2. Even if every state reopens basic retail and restaurants within the next month or two, the mechanics of airborne transmission mean it will remain Not A Good Idea for thousands of Trump fans to crowd together in an enclosed space to cheer on the president. Eric Trump’s theory that Democrats will abandon social distancing the day after the election suggests that he thinks social distancing is a ruse of some sort rather than a common-sense way to keep uninfected people from breathing the same air as people carrying a deadly infectious disease.
I mean, if the president were granted carte blanche to hold whatever gathering he likes, would he want thousands of his fans putting each other at risk just to see him rant for an hour? (Don’t answer that.) Pro sports leagues are making plans to play in empty stadiums, never mind that it’ll cost them tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue to do so, because public health comes first. The least Trump can do is follow their lead.
3. As much as the president may miss his rallies, he does have the small advantage of being the most famous person in the world, entitled to speak to a national audience of millions any time he wants on television or his Twitter account. It’s Biden, not Trump, who’s at a disadvantage from the rules against large gatherings because he can’t create a sense of similar stature doing interviews from his basement.
4. No one enjoys lockdowns or social distancing but Americans are more than willing to endure another round of them if a second wave of the disease requires it according to Morning Consult.
I think a second wave would have to get gnarly for people to tolerate new stay-at-home orders after finally emerging from the first lockdown, but the vast majority are open to it. Note how many are open to renewed “social distancing measures” too. Whatever Eric Trump thinks of the rules against large gatherings — hoax, ruse, unfair burden, etc, instead of very basic hygiene precaution — he’s in a small minority of people who don’t see the value in them.
I don’t think he meant anything he said in the clip, frankly. It’s just part of Team Trump’s regular messaging to the president’s fans: Any negative development that hurts you or your allies is the fault of some enemy actor, and if the president loses in November it must be the product of cheating or unfairness.