The deep ideological roots of Trump's botched coronavirus response - 2020-03-17
This hermetic intellectual insulation created a movement scornful of elite credentials and basic ideas of expertise, a tendency that has led to disastrous responses to crises before. There's a reason President George W. Bush felt comfortable appointing Michael Brown — a man whose pre-administration work centered on Arabian horses — to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Brown proceeded to horrifically botch the response to Hurricane Katrina; despite that, Bush stood up with Brown at a press conference and told "Brownie" that he was doing a "heckuva job."
The Trump administration has escalated this hostility to a degree that puts Bush to shame. Trump's well-known hostility to people who challenge his authority or puncture his myth of personal greatness has led him to not only surround himself with political allies but personal sycophants — people who will tell Trump exactly what he wants to hear. Conservative cabinet members who challenged Trump in one way or another, like former Attorney General Jeff Sessions or Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, were pushed out.
This is not a bug in Trumpism, but rather a feature. The idea that all elites — not just intellectual elites, but bureaucratic ones too — are untrustworthy has been central to the president's political message from day one. "Drain the swamp" and the war on the "deep state" have served to position Trump as the ethical people's champion; he puts his unqualified daughter and son-in-law in the White House because it's important to have people who are, first and foremost, loyal to Trump.