The most basic principle by which the current administration operates is that they have no obligations of any kind to the public they purportedly serve. They reject the notion that because their power is derived, nominally, from the will of the people, that they owe those same Americans an explanation when the administration does things in the name of the United States of America. They reject the notion they should be held accountable for what they say and do as officials in a representative government, whether by protesters in the street or by the free press in the White House Briefing Room. This is not the first administration to operate this way, but it's certainly the most blatant.
That is what's beneath all the lying and deceit, including about the deadly pandemic. It's why they're willing to manipulate scientific reports and intelligence, downplaying real threats and inflating others. It's why they stonewall Congress when it exercises its oversight powers as outlined in the Constitution, and why inspectors general are forced out along with anyone else who might serve as an independent voice for the public interest. They're not interested in the public interest.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was determined to spell this out properly in a briefing Wednesday, as the topic of the president's Definitely Real Healthcare Plan came up. Once upon a time in July, the president promised to produce a plan with which he'd replace Obamacare—which would be destroyed by a lawsuit the administration is currently signed onto—in two weeks. Like pretty much all things the president promises will appear two weeks from now, it never happened and the political press basically forgot about it. When Ellesia Blaque asked him about it at the ABC town hall last night, he still didn't have a plan. This is because, again, the president does not give a shit about the public or their access to healthcare. This is also why he cooks up insane lies about how it's really Joe Biden who wants to nix protections for preexisting conditions. The consequences for actual American human beings are not part of his calculus.
When CNN's Kaitlan Collins asked who was drafting up this Definitely Real Healthcare Plan, considering a number of Trump administration health officials have denied any knowledge of this effort, here was the response from the White House press secretary.
"I'm not going to give you a readout of what our health care plan looks like and who's working on it. if you want to know, come work here at the White House" -- Kayleigh McEnany pic.twitter.com/wjGyKalfX0
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 16, 2020
This is confusing until you remember the basic principle: they do not feel accountable to the public at all, and in fact, they resent any attempt to hold them accountable. That's how you get this response from the White House press secretary—nominally tasked with informing the White House press about White House policy—when a White House reporter asked about White House policy. They don't acknowledge the legitimacy of Collins' role here at all, which is to represent the American public in attempting to hold people in power accountable for what they're doing. You may not think the White House press corps or the political media at large do a particularly good job of representing the broader public or the average citizen, but that is their role here.
Because this is not about some food-fight feud or outrageous statement. It's not Joe Biden's cringey "Despacito" thing. It's about whether people will be stripped of their access to healthcare—during a pandemic, no less—and left to go bankrupt or die as a result. Obamacare has a number of serious flaws, but the Republican replacement plans were catastrophes by comparison when the party had control of Congress and went after the Affordable Care Act in 2017. There was no plan at all in June 2019, when Trump announced he'd have a "phenomenal" plan in "two months." There was no plan this July, when Trump said he'd have it in two weeks. This only came up again because a town-hall questioner had the courage to challenge him on it, so now they're scrambling to crap out some half-assed thing that they can point to and lie about until Election Day. There is no regard for what actual effect this will have on Americans' healthcare because, again, they do not believe they have any obligations to Americans. They don't care!
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