Op-EdOpinion

FLETCHER: While You Were Paying Attention To COVID-19, Trump Slipped Something Past You

That’s right, he did it again. Just like a magician, while you are looking at his left hand, he pulls a trick with his right. In this case, while almost all of the news has been focused on COVID-19, the Trump administration dropped auto fuel efficiency standards. And to add insult to injury, the administration cannot defend the move with a straight face. They have no defense that makes sense.

The only argument for this maneuver that Trump’s spokespersons seem to be able to make is that they were overturning another Obama regulation and that deregulating is good because … it is deregulating.

So, let’s put this all together, because this column does not need to be very long. Approximately 99% of all credible scientists identify climate change as threatening humanity. Key to climate change is fossil fuel. Automobiles use … fossil fuel. Fuel efficiency standards have been aimed at reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases. Thus, the actions of the administration are, in effect, aimed at shortening the existence of human beings on planet Earth.

Let’s just be as direct as possible and stop beating around the bushes. The administration made a move while the entire country has been focused on the COVID-19 plague. They know that such a move is/will be very unpopular. But, at the end of the day, they could not care less. This was another gold nugget thrown to the fossil fuel industry, a segment of corporate America that has been very supportive of the Trump administration.

We should not blame ourselves for being focused on COVID-19. If Trump had been more focused on COVID-19 we might now be looking at a very different picture of the USA. Instead, we have witnessed two acts in this performance. First, regarding COVID-19, the administration cynically disregarded scientific recommendations and warnings and downplayed the danger until it has now emerged as a plague covering virtually the entire country.

Second, the administration made use of our concerns about COVID-19 in order to slip the fuel efficiency standards reduction right past us, thereby further ignoring solid scientific recommendations and warnings and, instead, servicing his supporters.

One cannot but wonder whether hanging over Trump’s bed are the immortal — and notorious — words of the French King Louis XV, offered shortly prior to the French Revolution: “After me, the flood.”

Fletcher is executive editor of globalafricanworker.com and former president of TransAfrica Forum.

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