In both personal outlook and policy directives, science is not often a motivating factor in the decision-making process of President Trump, a man who chooses not to exercise because he reportedly believes it uselessly drains his body’s finite store of energy. And while Trump often downplays the importance of the field — including a comment last month in which he said “I don’t think science knows” the impact of climate change in California — rarely has he put his disdain on such obvious display as he did on Sunday night. At a rally in Carson City, Nevada, he told a crowd of unmasked supporters that Joe Biden will “listen to the scientists,” in a rigid tone and posture that suggested that only a sucker or loser would do such a thing.
The insult may not be as barbed as the president thinks it is. In the midst of a pandemic which has killed almost 220,000 Americans, voters still fear the threat of the virus and wish for a more competent and robust federal response. Two out of three Americans are concerned that they or someone close to them will contract the virus, while a similar number (65 percent) agreed that “Trump has not taken the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. seriously enough,” according to a poll taken shortly after the outbreak in the White House was made public.
The Biden campaign also picked up on the comment. “This is tellingly out of touch and the polar opposite of reality,” a spokesperson tweeted shortly after Trump made fun of the former VP. “Trump crashed the strong economy he inherited from the Obama-Biden Administration by lying about and attacking the science, and layoffs are rising.”
Trump’s peculiar insult wasn’t the only odd charge he lobbed at Biden at his Carson City rally. While the president has long trafficked in the conservative fable that Democrats are out to ruin Christmas, he directly blamed his opponent for any holiday interruptions this year. “The Christmas season will be canceled,” Trump said, describing a Biden win — without accounting for the fact that he will still be president either way come December 25. While the line is consistent with the president’s festive messaging for years now, it appears to ignore the recent audio leak from Melania Trump, who was recorded asking a friend, “Who gives a fuck about Christmas stuff?” Perhaps the First Lady’s vote is still up for grabs.