Public affairs strategist and all-star panelist Clint Brewer joined The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Wednesday morning on the newsmakers line.
During the second hour, Brewer described that he saw President Trump tuned to the American people by attempting to balance a public health crisis with the economy through his Easter timeline. He noted that he was seeing a type of groupthink that may have resulted in overaction and noted that the pendulum needs to swing back as every town in America is not a hotspot like New York or Miami.
Leahy: We are joined now by our very good friend and our newest all-star panelist. Public affairs strategist Clint Brewer.Good morning friend.
Brewer: Hey good morning.
Leahy: Well, the President yesterday was interviewed by Bill Hemmer in a virtual town hall at Fox News. Did you happen to catch that?
Brewer: No, but I’d certainly caught all the coverage in the wake of it.
Leahy: So I thought Bill Hemmer was actually not good at all in his interview. I thought he interrupted the President. I thought he was unnecessarily aggressive and accusatory in some questions. Have you see any of that out there or was it just me?
Brewer: I’m sorry I haven’t. I think that’s sort of typifies a lot of the press’s relationship with the President. But I did not see that particular interview no.
Leahy: It was surprising for that to come from Bill Hemmer. Maybe I was over reading into it. I think not. But perhaps. The big headline there was when the president said he thought it was absolutely possible that the country could open up again by April 12th Easter. The reaction has been very mixed on that. What are you seeing out there?
Brewer: The President is incredibly attuned to what many Americans are thinking. I believe that’s why he is the President. That’s why he has such a unique political story because I think in some way he really gets what average Americans and regular folks are thinking about and feeling.
We all want to get out of our houses. We all want this to end. I think he’s taking an approach that balances the need for caution and social distancing with this disease from the medical community.
But he’s also facing the reality of what this is doing to people’s livelihoods and to the economy. And it’s very difficult to tell many Americans that you’re safer at home if they stay there too long they won’t have a home. People need to go to work. So I believe that he’s trying to balance those two things.
Leahy: I think that’s exactly where we and I can tell you that the signals are that we’re coming back and we’re going to have I think a more targeted approach to this. Instead of an across the board and shut everything down.
His advisers have said look, this is focused in a couple of key hotspots. It is growing into certain other hotspots. But the big ones are New York City and Westchester County. Seattle. San Francisco and Sacramento.
And some urban areas like Detroit and New Orleans now seem to have it. But for a rural county, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to shut everything down though. I think that’s the direction they are going. What do you think?
Brewer: I think exactly that’s the direction they’re going. And I think that’s the direction your seeing with some governors in the heartland come to that conclusion. There’s this sort of groupthink that’s taken place. It’s understandable. Certain elected officials and health officials and government officials want to protect the American public. I don’t think it’s done out of any ulterior motive.
But there is a sense in some circles that we’ve swung too far. And the pendulum needs to swing back here a little bit. The federal government is doing this huge stimulus but it’s not enough to keep people in their homes and keep them with healthcare, insurance, and food and keep businesses running indefinitely. It’s enough to keep you floating for a month or so. You’ve got to be realistic.
Leahy: And I think that’s it. I think the reality is that the president is looking at this balance and saying OK. We’ve probably overreacted in some areas and we cannot let the cure be worse than the cause of the problem. And he’s saying, OK America’s going to go back to work.
I think the reality is that this is a dangerous dangerous disease, Clint. If you get it and people that have had a severe case have said they have never been sicker in their life. But people under 55, the highest rate of mortality is five-tenths of one percent. People over 55 its much greater. Three or four, five percent.
Brewer: Well that’s correct. I think the biggest threat is really to our healthcare system.
Leahy: Clint, I’m seeing some evidence of partisanship here in this national crisis. I’m going to tell you one thing you haven’t heard yet. (Chuckles)
Leahy: Listen to this. The Democratic governor of Nevada Steve Sisolak issued an executive order last night banning the use of the anti-malaria drug chloroquine from the treatment of coronavirus patients in Nevada. What do you make of that?
Brewer: And I thought we were worried about unqualified government officials getting too far into medicine right? (Leahy laughs) I just read from a peer in San Francisco that they are using it in hospitals on the west coast.
Yeah, I mean that and you look at the things that went into the negotiations of the Senate. People trying to pack on amendments for things that had nothing to do with the coronavirus and the economy. (Chuckles)
I mean yeah, we’re losing our way a little bit here. We need to stay focused on the real problems and what Americans are facing and keep these agendas out of the response on every level.
Leahy: The Democratic governor of Nevada has an absolutely opposite approach to chloroquine. And the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo who has requested and received tens of thousands of doses of chloroquine and related products like hydroxy-chloroquine being the big one.
And they started yesterday’s clinical trials in New York City. By the way, the way it works is its not been approved by the FDA for use in coronavirus but it had been approved for use in treating arthritis and malaria. And the doctor has the right to make that decision.
Now the governor of Nevada is just violating medical protocol and telling doctors they can’t do that. That’s so very very partisan and not very helpful in my view. Listen to this. And I think Clint, I really want to get your response to this.
I think we have a coming ideological division over the President’s signaling that he’s going to open up the economy in areas that are not hot spots by April 12th Easter. So Donna Shalala. Remember her? Donna Shalala.
Brewer: Oh of course.
Leahy: Former Health and Human Services Secretary under Bill Clinton and Former President Cronie Capitalist Clinton Foundation. Now a member of Congress from Miami. Here’s what she said yesterday about the President. And I’m just going to read this and wait for your reaction.
It’s a long quote but listen up, this is something. Shalala said, “I think that what the President has been saying getting back at Easter time is both dangerous and immoral. And let me say that I know of know, he defies ethical standards.
No Americans believe that we should choose the economy over human life. And that’s what is at stake here. And the president is putting human life at risk because he wants the economy to get back it’s simply literally immoral for him to do that.” What do you say to Donna Shalala?
Brewer: Sounds like Donna Shalala is about as out of touch with the rest of America as she was when she was with the Clinton Administration. Here’s the bottom line. We don’t have one single version of America. Every place is not Miami. Every place is not New York.
You get out into the middle of the country and just think of any mid to small-sized town in America that’s not really been affected by this virus. People are staying at home. Their places of work are shut down and to them for no apparent reason. Do you really tell those people they can’t go to church on Easter? I mean you know, let’s be real.
Is that really something the government should be doing if you’re not in a hot spot? If you’re not seemingly at risk? I think we’ve got to make these decisions state by state. Community by community.
And this one size fits all, I think it was the right reaction up at first but as we get more data and get more information and learn more about how to control the virus. How to treat it. As we make strides towards a vaccine I think we’ve got to be reasonable.
Listen to the second hour here:
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