Happy Tuesday. Three headlines from today’s Washington Post set the scene for us today:
As of today, nearly 195,000 Americans have died from the pandemic.
Welcome to the Daily Countdown. We have 48 days to go until Election Day; and then 78 days after that until Inauguration Day.
This isn’t perhaps the biggest story of the day, given the wildfires, pandemic, urban unrest, and multiple scandals that are breaking, but the story of Michael Caputo is worth pausing over for a bit.
Caputo is a Trumpian troll with no medical or scientific background, and a history of crackpottery and bigotry. But he was nevertheless named the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, which makes him the top spokesman for the department at the center of fighting a pandemic that is killing a thousand Americans a day. The department’s credibility is quite literally a matter of life and death.
WASHINGTON — The top communications official at the powerful cabinet department in charge of combating the coronavirus made outlandish and false accusations on Sunday that career government scientists were engaging in “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic and that left-wing hit squads were preparing for armed insurrection after the election.
Michael R. Caputo, accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of harboring a “resistance unit” determined to undermine President Trump, even if that opposition bolsters the Covid-19 death toll….
Over all, his tone was deeply ominous: He warned, again without evidence, that “there are hit squads being trained all over this country” to mount armed opposition to a second term for Mr. Trump. “You understand that they’re going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that’s where this is going,” Mr. Caputo added.
Another stable genius, you say? As of right now, he still has his job, which suggests that making bizarre allegations that government scientists were engaging in sedition is not really in conflict with the Trump Administration’s message. It also is a reminder that the crazy is coming from inside the room.
From our friend Andrew Egger:
A victory for common sense in Wisconsin.
I once argued that Wisconsin was a bulwark of common sense, but that now seems like a very long time ago. Except for this:
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday lifted its stay on sending out millions of absentee ballots. The ballots had been held up pending a decision on whether to allow the Green Party to get on the ballot, but a 4-3 majority (which included one of the court’s conservatives), ruled that it was simply too late to mess with the election.
“Even if we would ultimately determine that the petitioners’ claims are meritorious,” the court ruled, “given their delay in asserting their rights, we would be unable to provide meaningful relief without completely upsetting the election.”
We don’t need no stinking science.
Trump went to California and it didn’t go well. The president, who famously predicted that the coronavirus would disappear like magic, is now also predicting that global warming with also disappear. And what do the scientists know anyway?
In a later interview with NBC Nightly News that will fully air Monday night, [Alexander] Vindman says he “was not a never-Trumper before, I was nonpartisan,” reflecting the neutral tone he used during his testimony to Congress.However, Vindman said that his views changed “as the president ‘attacked and politicized me directly,’ and he now “absolutely” considers himself to be a “never-Trumper.”