Right-wing political activist Ed Martin told readers of his email newsletter Tuesday, “The Left is doing everything they can to blow COVID-19 and the fluctuating economy out of proportion.” Martin, who runs Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, part of the late activist Schlafly’s splintered political legacy, ran for a seat on the Fairfax County board of supervisors last year and lost by about 30 percentage points.
“Let’s not forget that the stock market corrects itself all the time,” he said in his Tuesday morning email, downplaying the historic drops in the stock market that have accompanied the spread of the coronavirus and President Donald Trump’s not exactly confidence-inspiring public pronouncements about the virus.
Martin charged that Democrats “know Joe Biden can’t take down Trump, so they are hoping the Wuhan coronavirus will do the job for them.” Some conservatives have begun calling the virus by the name of the location where it originated, in a seeming effort to focus blame on China.
Martin is far from alone, of course. Fox Business host Trish Regan contributed an over-the-top performance Monday that achieved new heights of propagandistic self-parody, fulminating that Democrats are demonizing Trump and blaming him for the virus, calling it “another attempt to impeach the president” and blaming Democrats for the plunging stock market.
Not everyone on the right is trying to downplay concerns about the impact of the virus or portray them as a political ploy by Trump’s enemies. In National Review Tuesday morning, Jim Geraghty wrote, “Italy is more or less in lockdown. Japan is preparing steps to instruct residents to remain indoors. Major countries do not shut down their populations because of media hype or a desire to make the American president look bad.”