As President Trump persists in treating this pandemic as a PR and political crisis more than a health crisis, he announced on Tuesday that he's establishing a "council" of around 200 business leaders from around the country to help "advise" the White House as the U.S. attempts to "reopen."
It remains unclear how and when American society can begin lifting stay-at-home orders — which in some localities are relatively new and/or barely being followed. But in another of his now daily series of speeches from the White House Rose Garden Tuesday evening, Trump rattled off a litany of names of prominent business leaders and other advisors who he said would be helping him make upcoming decisions around "opening the country." As the New York Times reports, it's likely that not all of the people named have formally agreed to be part of this council — and his administration has reportedly taken weeks to pull together such a task force, with many business leaders reluctant to have their names associated with Trump's pandemic response at all.
It seems, according to one of the people named who declined to be identified in the Times, that these people were not told in advance that they would be named to an "Opening of the Country Council." And the collection of Bay Area people on Trump's list — with the exception of established Trump ass-kisser Mark Zuckerberg — suggests that this was likely all just thrown together without anyone's consent.
As the SF Business Times reports, the list includes Apple CEO Tim Cook, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, French Laundry chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller, Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, and noted Trump critic Condoleezza Rice.
Trump also named Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, despite targeting Bezos for near constant criticism and personal attacks on Twitter over the last two years; and a couple of his buddies, Micky Arison of Carnival Cruises, and Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin.
The president seemed clearly to want to push back on California Governor Gavin Newsom, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and Oregon Governor Kate Brown for conspiring to spearhead their own reopening plan, as announced earlier Tuesday.
The reopening of the country, Trump said, "will be at a time that will be earlier than the deadline that we imposed, the end of April." And he said, "We think some of the governors will be in really good shape to open up even sooner than that," adding, "the governors will be very, very respectful of the presidency. Again, this isn’t me, this is the presidency. The presidency has such a great importance."
Oh, fuck off.
Photo: Virginia Johnson