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    Trump Has Scoreboard Obsession. It Hasn’t Worked With Coronavirus

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    The Last Outlaw
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    PostThe Last Outlaw Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:53 am

    Trump Has Scoreboard Obsession. It Hasn’t Worked With Coronavirus IlWna

    From POLITICO

    Anita Kumar of POLITICO wrote:President Donald Trump is always keeping score.

    Sometimes it's a simple brag — boasting about the highest State of the Union TV ratings in history, trumpeting that he appointed more judges than George Washington, inflating the number of electoral college votes he won in 2016.

    But cherry-picked numbers are also central to how Trump comprehends a crisis and crafts a positive narrative. As the coronavirus raced around the globe and seized the world’s economy, he has cited numbers to suit his own story that the pandemic would quickly pass and that his administration was in control.

    It’s a playbook that hasn’t always worked.

    In late February, Trump claimed there were only 15 coronavirus cases in the United States — a vast understatement — and promised “within a couple of days,” the number would be close to zero. That number has now soared past 14,000 and is climbing exponentially. He seized on figures about how many people the seasonal flu killed annually — 37,000 last year alone — without the country needing to shutter most businesses. His own health officials categorically rejected the comparison.

    Then, Trump promised the administration would have 1.4 million coronavirus tests available by mid-March. But as of Thursday, only 100,000 people had been tested, causing one of the president’s top infectious disease experts to concede, “Clearly, more needs to be done.”

    Public health specialists say Trump’s use of misleading numbers to downplay the coronavirus outbreak — a challenge that could make-or-break his presidency — has had dangerous consequences, leading Americans to ignore official warnings about modifying behaviors to slow the disease’s spread.

    “He's a man that hears what he wants to hears … and he puts it through the lens of a marketer. He is a marketer,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “His image is, ‘I’m on top of this, I’m tough,’ and anything he hears that supports that theory of the case, he grabs and utilizes.”

    Those around Trump disagree. They say his numbers-focused mindset is a crisis asset. Trump’s specific obsession with the number of coronavirus cases is the right approach, argued former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who made headlines when he insisted — wrongly — that Trump had drawn the largest ever inaugural crowd.

    “Having a metric-based business mentality is what you need during periods of crisis,” said Spicer, who visited the White House at least twice this week. “Either people are getting better and it’s being contained or it’s not. It’s the only judge of success.”

    Trump is obsessed with records, ratings and statistics, mentioning them constantly on seemingly every issue as he talks about what’s best — often inflating the numbers, often failing to acknowledge the human aspect, often overhyping his own role. There’s interest rates and unemployment rates, crowd sizes and polls, stock markets gains and immigrant apprehension numbers.

    Before running for office in 2016, Trump had spent his five decades in the real estate, marketing and reality TV businesses. He sold himself to voters on that background, touting his ability to strike deals with countries and companies alike.

    Once in office, he talked about policy moves like one-off deals, often becoming preoccupied with certain figures.

    For example, he has constantly complained about trade deficits — when the value of what the country imports exceeds its exports — spouting off the amount with each country. $500 billion a year with China, $100 billion with Japan, $17 billion with Canada.

    Trump Has Scoreboard Obsession. It Hasn’t Worked With Coronavirus BB11udoF

    When Trump has struck new deals with China, Mexico and Canada and others, he’s always noted how much the agreement will reduce each trade deficit.

    “When you’re in the real investment business, the performance is only based on numbers and that’s all that matters,” said a Republican who speaks to Trump. “He spent a lifetime on it. He’s not going to think differently now. That’s how you judge real estate. That’s all they have. It’s all about the money.”

    But Trump has been accused of forgetting the people behind the numbers.

    In August, Trump touted the crowd size of a rally — held at the same time as an event of then Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke —- while visiting medical staff who had treated victims of a mass shooting.

    That criticism has resurfaced during the coronavirus pandemic.

    During the early stages of the outbreak, Trump mused about keeping coronavirus-infected passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship in the waters off California to keep down the number of U.S. cases.

    “I like the numbers being where they are,” he said. “I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

    Michael Caputo, who has known Trump for three decades and served as a campaign adviser in 2016, acknowledged Trump can be accused of being unfeeling, but compared it to how a statistician or economist might be criticised for being too focused on numbers and not people. But Caputo argued Trump has changed his approach as president.

    “That’s part of the learning curve,” he said. “He has embraced the human side.”

    Caputo said toying with numbers is how Trump processes his options and reveals his thinking.

    “When global society is melting around him, he leans back on what he knows. Data is what he knows,” he said. “He muses, thinking aloud. My experience with the president he verbalizes all the options on the table and discusses every piece of data.”

    Trump’s political fixation on favorable figures goes back to his campaign.

    While on the campaign trail, Trump often talked about having a statistician he frequently called to get numbers about whatever he wanted.

    “You know, I have a person. He's a statistician. He's so excited by his job. He loves it,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Albuquerque, N.M., in May.

    “I do like details and I do like statisticians,” he said at a Sacramento rally the following month.

    There was even a rally where he held up charts to illustrate what he said were the failures of President Barack Obama and his secretary of State, Hillary Clinton — Trump’s rival. There were charts on homeownership rates, the national debt, Syrian refugees entering the U.S., commuted prison sentences as well as hedge fund managers-turned Clinton campaign contributors and foreign donations to the Clinton family foundation.

    Trump’s rallies have continued during his presidency — until coronavirus, that is. And certain figures have become a recurring part of his stump speech.

    He describes the African-American and Hispanic unemployment rates are the lowest rate in history, though they have risen again. He claims seven million people have joined the workforce since he’s been president, though the gains are lower than Obama’s final three years. He said his administration has built 100 miles of new wall along the southern border, though most of that was simply upgrading existing sections.

    And he always talks about his 2016 electoral college vote total — which was 304, not 306 — without noting that Clinton won the popular vote.

    “We were not supposed to crack 220, you know that, right?” Trump told a crowd in February 2017. “There was no way to 221, but then they said there’s no way to 270.”

    Trump still talks about crowd sizes, boasting about the “record” numbers who have attended or watched from outdoor jumbo screens at the nearly 100 rallies he’s held as president.

    This less-consequential braggadocio has also surfaced during his near-daily coronavirus briefings.

    On Sunday, Trump touted a stock market surge that occurred late Friday after he declared a national emergency to free up funds to combat the coronavirus.

    “It went up 2,000 — almost 2,000 points,” he said. He wasn’t wrong, but by Monday the stock market plummeted again amid reports Trump had inflated the progress made fighting the virus — another fallout from his reliance on misleading figures during the coronavirus crisis.

    An outside Trump adviser said Trump feels the need to offer up his record because he needs to justify himself against what he sees as the constant media attacks.

    “Numbers matter,” the person said. “That’s how you judge the status of things. Numbers don’t lie. Numbers give you benchmarks to achieve.”

    But the adviser acknowledged Trump can go too far in his language, attributing that to Trump being from New York. He even had a number to express his thoughts: “I wish he said two-thirds less of the things he did.”

    Trump Has Scoreboard Obsession. It Hasn’t Worked With Coronavirus BB11tUBW

    Believe me. A lot of us wishes he said two-thirds less of the things he has said. Donald Trump has shown himself as insensitive because of his numbers-focused approach. Proof-positive came yesterday when an NBC News White House Correspondent asked in regard to Americans who are living in fear of this virus, "What do you say to Americans who are scared right now?" Trump's response SHOULD HAVE BEEN, "Stay home. Be safe. We are here for you." No, not Donald Trump. His response was to call that reporter "terrible", a "bad reporter." Seriously? He asks you to say something to scared Americans in regard to the COVID-19 virus outbreak which as of this post has 22,251 reported cases and a death toll of 282, and you respond that a reporter is "terrible"? Seriously?? Shows how focused you are. It's not about the people with Trump, as much as he would have you Trump marks believe it, it is now, and always will be about the numbers.

    Just Saying.
    Trump Has Scoreboard Obsession. It Hasn’t Worked With Coronavirus I6goy

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    PostSpice Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:30 am

    Trump only cares about one thing - TRUMP! That reporter asked a legitimate question. If anyone is a terrible person in this equation it is you President Trump.
    The Last Outlaw
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    PostThe Last Outlaw Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:53 am

    @Spice wrote:Trump only cares about one thing - TRUMP! That reporter asked a legitimate question. If anyone is a terrible person in this equation it is you President Trump.

    While I agree with you on that statement @Spice, the topic is how focused Trump is on numbers. He's so set on them he will inflate the figures just as long as it suits his needs. At the same time, he has not factored the most important part of the equation... the part that numbers can't crunch... THE HUMAN FACTOR!

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    PostNaiwen Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:25 pm

    Many and so do I think he has a narcissistic personality disorder and a hyper inflated ego.
    The Last Outlaw
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    PostThe Last Outlaw Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:02 pm

    @Naiwen wrote:Many and so do I think he has a narcissistic personality disorder and a hyper inflated ego.

    That's not news. Trump marks could care less. Trump is God to them.

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