Last updated on April 25, 2020
Quackery emerged again during the WH COVID Taskforce briefing yesterday, because Trump does listen to people in his base who engage in fringe beliefs and conspiracy theories (CT). “Expect a Miracle”
“Maybe you can, maybe you can’t… I’m not a doctor. But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what,” Trump said, pointing to his head.
QAnon supporters are encouraging people to drink a form of MMS — or Miracle Mineral Solution — to ward off coronavirus.
As coronavirus spreads across the globe — with Chinese authorities confirming nearly 6,000 cases and 132 people dead as of Wednesday — the reaction on social media in particular has largely been marked by fear and panic. For some conspiracy theorists, however, it has also served as a prime opportunity to spread misinformation and baseless rumors about the disease — some of which are potentially extremely dangerous.
One terrifying example? QAnon supporters are encouraging people to drink MMS — or Miracle Mineral Solution, a bleaching agent that has been touted as a “miracle cure” by anti-vaxxers and other fringe groups — to ward off coronavirus. And despite restrictions on such content on platforms like YouTube, it is nonetheless fairly easy to find.
According to the Daily Beast, proponents of QAnon — the elaborate conspiracy theory purporting that President Donald Trump is waging a secret war against a ring of Democratic child sexual abusers — have been promoting MMS as a “cure” for coronavirus on Twitter, particularly the MMS-branded “20-20-20 spray,” with one account alleging it “kills viruses instantly.” Another prominent conspiracy theorist tweeted, “#coronavirus is a depopulation program,” recommending colloidal silver (a supplement that, if taken in large amounts, can result in discoloration of the skin and nails, or kidney damage) and MMS to ward off the disease.
Donald Trump knows only one dance — the populism hustle — and seems uninterested in learning any other.
Trump’s solution is to play insider and outsider simultaneously. One day he announces a careful plan, devised by public health officials, that outlines a step-by-step process for opening up. The next day, he sides with street protesters against governors who are following those very guidelines. It’s a complicated dance. Politicians such as Kemp, who struggle to keep up, could be forgiven for not knowing the moves.
You can watch the two Trumps at his news conferences. President Trump begins the session by making the day’s official pronouncements, reading in a dreary monotone from a script he hasn’t looked at before. And then, from time to time, Donald Trump the populist icon suddenly emerges — commenting on his own script, for example, to say, after recommending the use of masks, “This is voluntary. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.” The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine continues through the briefing. As his own health officials take the podium to make a substantive point, Trump will jump in to say something that is at odds with the message they’re trying to convey.
But Trump seems worried that the dance may not be enough to win him reelection, especially as unemployment mounts. The president has surely noticed that his approval ratings remain roughly where they were before the pandemic, which is astonishing, given that crises usually boost presidential approval enormously. After 9/11, George W. Bush’s number rose to 90 percent and stayed high for months. So Trump has tried to compensate by doubling down on attacks against his usual scapegoats: the media (in what has become an absurd daily routine), blue-state governors, liberal cities, international organizations and now, most pointedly, China.
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