Mother Jones July/August 2020

Mother Jones is a nonprofit news organization with a bi-monthly magazine that delivers bold and original reporting on the urgent issues of our day, from politics and climate change to education and the food we eat. We investigate stories that are in the public’s interest. From revelatory scoops to deep-dive investigations, Mother Jones journalism is award-winning storytelling that informs and inspires 10 million monthly readers.

United States
Foundation For National Progress
6 Issues

in this issue

6 min
corruption kills

This issue of Mother Jones was going to look very different from what you’re holding in your hands—and at the same time, it hasn’t changed very much at all. Here’s why: We were planning a big package of stories on corruption, a major theme that has informed our reporting for the past year. We were digging deep on how the administration has prioritized self-enrichment for Donald Trump’s family and cronies, the only Americans he deems truly worthy of public assistance. We were looking at how profiteers have hijacked public education, and how fossil fuel companies have fought to kneecap renewable energy. We were investigating military and immigration contracting, offshore money, hedge funds, utility companies, dark-money spenders, and those who promote racism under the guise of white victimhood. But then the world changed—and then…

10 min
covid pro quo

The fundamental purpose of government is rather simple: protect the citizenry. Any deliberate perversion of this priority is an exercise of corruption—especially when that basic aim is supplanted by the goal of personal gain. That’s why Donald Trump’s slow, ineffectual, self-serving, and deadly response to the coronavirus has been the most consequential act of corruption in the history of American governance. It eclipses Watergate, Teapot Dome, Iran-Contra, you name it. It also happens to be the continuation—perhaps the culmination—of the corruption that Trump started spreading like a virus the moment he tramped into the White House. Corruption in government is generally thought of as an official exploiting power or position for personal benefit, often to line his or her pockets or those of a favored associate, relative, or corporation. There has…

10 min
the prince of ppe

On March 29, President Trump held a press briefing to tout Project Airbridge, his administration’s new effort to organize and pay for airlifts of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies from abroad. The first of the “big, great planes” from Asia had landed in New York that day, Trump said, bringing in “2 million masks and gowns, over 10 million gloves, and over 70,000 thermometers,” which would be sent to places across the country that had been hit hard by the coronavirus. He was joined at the podium by the heads of some of the country’s biggest medical supply distributors. “They’re big people,” Trump declared. Working with the White House, he said, they would deliver “record amounts of lifesaving equipment.” The public-private partnership was overseen by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner,…

22 min
failed state

On January 22, two days after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States, President Trump breezily declared, “We have it totally under control.” Over the next four months, more than 1.4 million Americans would become infected, nearly 100,000 would die, and 39 million would lose their jobs. While we don’t know what the months ahead hold, we have already witnessed the devastating consequences of the president’s attempt to spin, bluster, and blame his way out of a national emergency that will go down as the greatest scandal of a scandal-plagued presidency. 1. “IT WILL ALL WORK OUT WELL.” January 2017: Incoming Trump administration officials meet with Obama officials for an exercise about how to handle “the worst influenza pandemic since 1918.” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly dozes off during…

2 min

Rep. Matt Gaetz: The Trump loyalist showed up on the House floor wearing a gas mask as he voted on Congress’ emergency spending bill in early March. Less than a week after pulling this stunt, the Florida Republican went into self-isolation after discovering he’d potentially been exposed to the coronavirus at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Gov. Brian Kemp: In April, three weeks after Georgia’s first COVID-19 death, Kemp reluctantly issued a statewide stay-at-home order. At a press conference in Atlanta—home of the CDC—Kemp claimed he had only recently learned that the virus could be spread by people without symptoms. “We didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” Kemp said. (Warnings about asymptomatic transmission started in January.) Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: In March, Texas’ number-two elected official suggested to Fox News…

1 min
false positives

PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS agree that the country can’t safely reopen without massive testing—anywhere between 500,000 and 35 million tests a day. Getting there has been a slog, yet the president has been insisting for months that there are enough tests for everyone—when he’s not downplaying the importance of testing. 1. February 26: Trump: “We’re testing everybody that we need to test. And we’re finding very little problem.” 2. March 5: Pence: “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.” 3. March 6: Trump: “Anybody that needs a test gets a test.” 4. March 12: Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies to Congress about the testing system: “Yes, it is a failing, let’s admit it.” 5. March 13: Trump says drugstore chains are about to launch drive-thru testing. A…

false positives