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article imageOp-Ed: White House uses CPAC to inject politics into COVID-19 crisis

By Karen Graham     Feb 28, 2020 in Politics
Speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the acting White House chief of staff says US media is stoking a coronavirus panic because they hope it will take down President Donald Trump.
Blaming the media, Democrats or any of a number of other groups, including his own Justice Department and various spy agencies for things he doesn't like is all in a day's work for our autocratic leader - so why not blame the plummeting stock market and worry over the coronavirus on the nation's media?
And using a questionable forum like CPAC only added to the mess the Trump administration has managed to stir up. CPAC bills itself as a Conservative group that at one time was sponsored by big-name American donors dominated by military-focused foreign policy hawks wary of any U.S. overseas involvement. Now, CPAC greets rather dubious overseas sponsors with open arms.
Just to give readers an idea about how cloudy and opaque funding for CPAC by foreign investments are today - One conservative media group, Project Veritas, which secretly records journalists and publishes their candid comments, is another “participating sponsor” this year.
In November 2017, Project Veritas falsely accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of statutory rape in an attempt to discredit the Washington Post.
Another new sponsor of CPAC is KCPAC Korea, one of the American Conservative Unions’ recent overseas offshoots. It has very little in the way of a paper trail, while its piddly website directs potential donors to mail checks to the fourth floor of a Hawaii condo overlooking the beach, a floor it shares with a spa and wellness center
But anyway, Mulvaney shared the stage today with the likes of Trump, Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and Miklos Szantho, an ally of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who helps facilitate his tightly-controlled media empire.
White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney briefs reporters at the White House
White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney briefs reporters at the White House
Mulvaney had an audience ready to listen to his tirade against the American press. “That’s what this is all about. I got a note today from a reporter saying, what are you going to do today to calm the markets? Really what I might do today to calm the markets is tell people to turn their televisions off for 24 hours,” Mulvaney said, according to Politico.
Strangely enough, Mulvaney's remarks come as the stock market posted its greatest week of losses since 2008, and while critics, including lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, have accused the Trump administration of downplaying the crisis and underfunding the response.
To show just how much Trump doesn't know about the coronavirus, while in India last week, he told reporters "experts were very close to a vaccine," forcing White House officials to clarify later that he was talking about Ebola, not the novel coronavirus.
To show just how much his administration is in control of the coronavirus outbreak, Trump launched the federal government’s response this week and has regularly tweeted how wonderful he is for doing so. He also appointed Vice President Mike Pence to command the U.S. coronavirus response team, with all news and information at the federal level supposedly having to go through Pence.
However, the BBC points out that Mulvaney, Trump and his gang of loyalists may end up shooting themselves in the foot, so to speak, especially if the virus does end up becoming a serious problem in the US. Their current attempts to shrug off the risks the virus presents could be particularly damaging.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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