Total chaos

President Donald J. Trump departs Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and boards the Presidential motorcade en route to the helicopter pad Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Bethesda, Md. Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian/Official White House.

Is the president a super spreader? President Trump’s doctors say he can resume public events soon — certainly what President Trump prefers, as he trails Joe Biden in the polls less than a month before Election Day — but is that really safe? Should Americans consider and judge Trump’s diagnosis and the fact that the virus spread among his staff and close contacts? Michael Brendan Dougherty says that’s fair. 

This week, President Trump appeared trapped between doing things to please his base and doing the right thing — largely viewed as favorable by the public — about the pandemic. Jamelle Bouie says the president has set himself up to be in this position: unable to do the politically smart thing, and that includes responding to the cluster of cases and his own illness in a smart way.

Science journalist Christie Aschwanden discusses the cluster of cases at the White House and the treatments the president says cured him (though he also says he would have gotten better on his own), noting that even the limited information we have about the president’s condition and treatment points to a more severe case and that he may not be out of the woods yet.

At Wednesday’s vice presidential debate, Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence argued over the Trump administration’s pandemic record. But would a Biden administration handle everything so differently? 

Finally, what’s with President Trump’s on-again, off-again push for a new stimulus bill. Does he actually want one, and why hasn’t he gotten it done, since it could help him get re-elected?

Credits

Guest:
Christie Aschwanden - FiveThirtyEight - @cragcrest

Hosts:
Jamelle Bouie, Josh Barro, Michael Brendan Dougherty

Producer:
Sara Fay