This item from Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddoqwBlog) ties these other stories together.
Benen explains Why ‘DNA from aliens’ made it into a White House press briefing. Trump’s found a doctor who’s made claims about alien DNA and the effects of having sex with demons while dreaming. He thinks her voice is “important.”
The latest presidential nonsense began – where else? – on Twitter earlier this week, with Trump aggressively pushing weird conspiracy theories and a video that falsely claimed hydroxychloroquine can “cure” people of COVID–19. That video was taken down by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, each of which agreed that the content was false and potentially dangerous misinformation, but the president was eager to endorse it anyway.
Yesterday, during a White House press briefing, Trump doubled down, not only ignoring the FDA’s judgment on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, but touting someone he saw touting the drug as a “cure.”
In case this isn’t obvious, what’s important here is not that some fringe figure peddles fringe beliefs. The internet is filled with obscure voices saying strange things to modest audiences. As a rule, the American mainstream largely ignores those voices, leaving them inconsequential.
What matters now, however, is that the sitting president of the United States would like the public to take fringe voices seriously, even as they peddle bogus public-health claims during a pandemic. I don’t care what Stella Immanuel has to say; I care that Trump is telling Americans that Stella Immanuel is “very respected,” “very impressive,” and has “an important voice.”
In early March 2016, several months before Trump’s election, Vox’s Ezra Klein wrote something I found memorable: “Among the most important tasks the president has is knowing what to believe, whom to listen to, which facts to trust, and which theories to explore. Trump’s terrible judgment in this regard is one of the many reasons he’s not qualified for the office.”
More than four years later, it’s among Trump’s single most important flaws. He simply lacks the wherewithal to know the difference between good information and bad, which in turns leaves him incapable of making sound decisions.
*Update*: During a brief Q&A this morning, the president again said, twice, that he was “very impressed” the Immanuel.