The term “chickenshit” has two definitions: “petty, insignificant” and “coward, chicken” (as in “lacking courage, manliness, or effectiveness”). For example, “That guy likes to make threats but he’s too chickenshit to act on them.”
I think that pretty much sums up Donald Trump’s pathetic attempts to restart the economy. As you probably know, Trump has been repeatedly threatening to reopen the economy by the end of April, which means having people go back to work, eat out in restaurants, and basically party like its 1999 again, coronavirus be damned.
However, as anyone who doesn’t have (chicken) shit for brains knows, you can’t just “reopen the economy”. As Seth Meyers put it, “What do you even mean by opening up anyway? You can’t make people go out. Are you going to have federal agents knock on peoples’ doors and make them go to Olive Garden?” And even if you could do it, the result would be a massive “second wave” of people spreading the disease and even more deaths, which would make the economy worse than it is now.
Apparently, even Donald Trump is worried about that, because his “plan” (if you can call it that) to reopen the economy was to create a “task force” of business and other leaders to advise him on how to ease social distancing restrictions in order to ramp up economic activity. Trump even said that it was needed to counterbalance the public health officials who are still urging caution. Because, you know, those guys are scientists, and Trump doesn’t believe in science.
It quickly became apparent that this was a political stunt, because Trump invited every single Republican senator to join the task force, except for one, Mitt Romney. Never mind that Romney knows more about the economy and business than most senators (and certainly more than Trump). Trump apparently doesn’t want anyone who has ever criticized him on the task force. He prefers yes men and ass kissers.
Even so, this political stunt was a disaster even before it began. Trump didn’t even bother to let many of the members know about the task force. Some (including the CEOs of McDonalds and Cisco Systems) found out they were on the task force only when they heard their names mentioned at Trump’s daily coronavirus briefing.
It gets worse, because the Washington Post discovered the real reason for the task force. According to WaPo:
Trump’s advisers are trying to shield the president from political accountability should his move to reopen the economy prove premature and result in lost lives, and so they are trying to mobilize business executives, economists and other prominent figures to buy into the eventual White House plan, so that if it does not work, the blame can be shared broadly, according to two former administration officials familiar with the efforts.
When his plan fails, Trump is going to make scapegoats out of the members of the task force, as President Throw-You-Under-the-Bus does every time something he does goes south.
Except Trump forgot one thing. These people (many of them CEOs), aren’t completely stupid. If employers call their employees back to work and the workers get sick, the companies (and their leaders) could very well be liable. And having the president blaming them would certainly make this much worse.
So when Trump had his first phone confab with his task force on Wednesday, it was a “shit show“. Senior bankers are increasingly frustrated with Trump’s approach to the crisis, as even Wall Street says that the best plan is to keep everything shut until the virus is fully under control and consumers and businesses feel safe to resume normal activities. Executives called for more Covid-19 testing, but nothing was decided. Apparently, it was all for show. As one person put it “It was really nothing.”
Trump is clearly not tethered to reality. Trump started the call by saying that “testing was under control”, despite the fact that the White House ended funding for coronavirus testing last Friday. He asked the CEO of the Bank of America (and others) how the small business loan program was going, apparently not aware of the fact that it was out of money and was about to leave small businesses failing and forcing more now-former employees to apply for unemployment insurance.
“In the end, the country’s business leaders took the side of the public health experts.” Is that going to stop Trump from trying to blame the task force? Of course not.
UPDATE: More evidence that Trump is a chickenshit, as he is afraid to talk to any news network … other than Fox News:
According to the meticulous record kept by Mark Knoller of CBS, Trump hasn’t granted an interview to a non-Fox employee since January 22, when he chatted with CNBC’s Joe Kernen in Davos. Kernen began by asking about the coronavirus: “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?”
“No. Not at all,” Trump said. “And — we’re — we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s — going to be just fine.”
Since then, Trump has been interviewed a dozen times on Fox News and Fox Business. Knoller’s list also includes a February phone call to Geraldo Rivera‘s radio show, which is not a Fox production, but Rivera is also a Fox personality. Bottom line: The president is staying on Fox, i.e. shoring up his base, and avoiding all other interviewers during this emergency.