UPDATE: With the Dow only down 900 points today, the stock market must be looking even better to President Donald Trump (see below)! Your mileage may vary.
FLASHBACK: Here’s candidate Cory Gardner in 2014 concern-trolling the Ebola outbreak:
GARDNER: Well, again, I think my problems with Senator Udall include the fact that he has voted 99 percent of the time with Barack Obama, but on this part issue, this is not about politics. This transcends politics.
And we have to do everything we can to make sure that we’re protecting the people of this country and, quite frankly, the world from further spread of what is a horrible, horrible virus. [Pols emphasis]
Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, we’d say it was about politics.
The Tweet from President Donald Trump went out yesterday afternoon, as the Dow plunged over 1,000 points in response to fears that the COVID-19 outbreak is wreaking havoc on the global economy–with a message that all is well, citizens!
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2020
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,031 points on Monday, one of its largest single-day drops in terms of points, as concerns rose about the spread of the coronavirus beyond China.
Trump has sought to project confidence in the steps his administration has taken to contain and mitigate the outbreak as cases are reported in the U.S. and at times has seemed to downplay the threat…
The trouble is, Trump’s Tweets are once again not lining up with what the administration is actually doing:
The White House, meanwhile, asked Congress for $1.25 billion in emergency funding to combat the outbreak.
“The Administration believes additional Federal resources are necessary to take steps to prepare for a potential worsening of the situation in the United States,” it said in a letter sent to Capitol Hill. [Pols emphasis]
Back in 2014, an outbreak of the much-feared Ebola virus in Africa caused a political panic in the United States just ahead of that year’s midterm elections. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado’s campaign for the U.S. Senate that year heavily politicized the Ebola outbreak, and helped spread misinformation about the situation which was called out as bogus by Politifact.
In 2020, though, Republicans like Sen. Gardner are petrified that any economic hiccup could jeopardize the biggest asset Trump and the GOP have going into the November elections: an booming economy, even if it was largely inherited from the previous president. Instead of freely engaging in the scare tactics that served Gardner so well with Ebola, this year Gardner (and Trump, of course) risk doing much more harm to their own re-election prospects than good as the party in power to take the blame for an economic downturn.
If the situation was reversed, we already know what Gardner would be saying. He would be saying the same misleading stuff he said in 2014 about the Obama administration and Ebola. But as the party holding the bag, there’s no political incentive to do so.