Conservative political commentators are coming to Trump’s rescue. Again.
Fox News host Sean Hannity and GOP political strategist Karl Rove were doing damage control on Hannity’s primetime show Wednesday night, a job typically reserved for White House press secretaries, after unbecoming revelations about the inner-workings of President Donald Trump’s thinking on key election issues were brought to light in the forthcoming book of famed investigative journalist Bob Woodward.
In a series of 18 interviews conducted over the course of eight months, Woodward lays bare the President’s thinking on a wide range of issues from playing down the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to Trump’s hardly-secret pleasure of rubbing shoulders with authoritarian leaders.
Rove delivered a lengthy rant on Hannity’s show condemning not the nation’s President, but instead laying blame on his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Rove pulled out his signature whiteboard and performed impossible acrobatics to attribute Trump’s negligent leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic to Biden — a Democratic presidential candidate who has played no role in the Trump administration’s decision-making during the coronavirus pandemic.
After Hannity revisited a tired claim that Biden is a media favorite who hides in his “basement bunker,” Rove listed off a series of Biden’s scathing comments dating back to January when the Democratic presidential nominee first wrote an op-ed that suggested Trump was not prepared to handle a potential outbreak of coronavirus.
Rove tore into Biden’s speech from hours before, criticizing the 2020 candidate for suggesting that Trump had intentionally failed to do his job.
“That is to say, the President wanted people to die, he wanted them to get sick, and he did it on purpose,” Rove said, adding: “I mean, that is really over the top.”
Woodward had quoted Trump in the book suggesting that he “wanted to always play it down” to the public even after admitting in private that he knew the virus was “deadly stuff.”
“So, he deliberately attacks the President in an over-the-top way,” Rove said, before suggesting that Biden has taken the attitude that “President Trump did everything wrong, I’m a genius, if you would only listen to me, if I’d only been in charge.”
More interested than he was in Trump’s own leadership during the pandemic, Rove was fixated on what Trump’s rival — who has, obviously, held none of the political reins during the public health crisis — has said about the pandemic.
“What did Joe Biden know, and when did he know it, and what was he thinking at the time this coronavirus came on?” Rove said.
Rove’s comments stood on the foundation laid by an equally dramatic declaration in Trump’s defense made by Hannity earlier in the show.
“Did President Roosevelt fan the flames of misery? Did he call for panic and anxiety?” Hannity said. “No, he actually rallied a nation in a time of need and focused on making Americans stronger by staying positive, and he got to work and rolled up his sleeves.”
The host went on to draw a wildly off-base comparison between Trump and former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who during the Great Depression instilled confidence in an aching nation by saying in his inaugural speech, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ Hannity incorrectly suggested that the remarks were delivered during WWII and said that the press had not attacked Roosevelt during those “brutally tough times.”
“Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, President Trump has never misled or distorted the truth about this deadly disease,” Hannity said.
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