Trump ignores science at dangerous indoor rally in Minden, Nevada

The event in Nevada — his second rally in the state in as many days — did not only risk the health of those present, thousands of whom were packed together inside a manufacturing facility in defiance of the state’s ban on local gatherings of 50 people or more. It also has the potential to turn into a super spreader event that could seed Covid-19 outbreaks in the wider community. Trump hadn’t held an indoor rally in nearly three months, since his last one, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after which the city saw a surge in cases and multiple campaign staffers along with Secret Service agents tested positive for the virus.

The jarring scenes of the indoor event clashed with footage from the first weekend of NFL games that went ahead in cavernous empty stadiums, reflecting how almost alone the President, who might be expected to set an example, is responsible for the most dangerous breaches of his own government’s coronavirus recommendations.

CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that major television networks, including CNN, decided not to send their crews and correspondents into the rally for their own safety. It’s not unusual for media companies to take steps to shield their employees in war zones abroad, but such precautions are exceedingly rare on home soil.

The same ditching of inconvenient facts to service Trump’s personal whims, political goals and conspiracy theories will likely be highlighted again on Monday when the President visits one of the raging Western wildfires in California, where more than 3 million acres have burned this year and 22 people have died since mid-August. The President insists that the fires are caused by poor forest management. Scientists argue that they have been exacerbated by climate change.

Accelerating efforts to reshape reality

As the election fast approaches, the administration’s broader attempt to reshape reality to benefit and accommodate an unrestrained President is accelerating, including among government officials who appear to be trying to stop the full story of the coronavirus emergency from coming out. Trump’s decision not to share what he knew about the deadly potential of the disease back in February — detailed in Bob Woodward’s new book — may have cost tens of thousands of lives. The economic effects of the pandemic are devastating. Yet as his incessant demands to open states — based on political motives rather than scientific rigor — show, the President is still not taking the human toll of Covid-19 with consuming seriousness.
A similar effort to create a reality that Trump would prefer is underway as he repeatedly lies about what he says is a Democratic attempt to rig the vote in November. In fact, his own political appointees in the Department of Homeland Security are accused of trying to conceal the full extent of Russian election interference designed to prop up his trailing campaign. CNN reported last week that the same whistleblower who raised that complaint had also cautioned that officials had also modified intelligence assessments to downplay the threat posed by White supremacists and to line them up with false comments made by the President about Antifa and leftist and anarchist groups.
New signs of politically-motivated investigations at the Justice Department are meanwhile adding to Attorney General William Barr’s reputation as Trump’s personal enforcer and also to concerns that an investigation he ordered into the origins of the Russia probe is being cooked up to offer Trump a pre-election surprise.
Across Washington, it seems to be a similar story as the truths and facts are remolded to support a President who admitted last week that his worldview and perception of reality are filtered through hour after hour of Fox News opinion shows whose counsel he appears to value over some of the highly qualified experts in his own government.

In a new example of the President picking conspiratorial or fantastical positions that match his political goals, rather than those rooted in fact and science, he complained over the weekend that California’s raging wildfires were the result of poor forest management. This is in line with his previously expressed belief that state governments need to “rake” and “clean” forest floors to remove the kindling for wildfires. Many scientists have said that drought and longer fire seasons are a direct consequence of climate change and have produced peer-reviewed studies to back up their conclusions. But such a conclusion is inconvenient to the President’s desire to promote fossil fuels and would require him to challenge conservative orthodoxy.

“Talk to a firefighter, if you think that climate change isn’t real,” the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday. “It seems like this administration are the last vestiges of the Flat Earth Society of this generation.”
One of Trump’s top economic advisers, Peter Navarro, warned in several…

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