Governor Hutchinson has had plenty of opportunities to spin local media on his strategy to put business ahead of lives in managing the growing coronavirus pandemic in Arkansas.
That makes him a popular guest on Sunday morning TV shows for again today the stock headline:
Arkansas Gov. defends decision not to shut down state
Today the headline followed the governor’s smile-and-shoeshine routine on CNN this morning with Dana Bash. “Absolute right decision,” he said.
Arkansas is no different than other states, he said. It is, but never mind that.
“You can’t shut down the economy,” Hutchinson said for approximately the umpteenth time.
He continues to insist there’s no correlation in rising cases and restrictions he’s listed. Just magic that they happen all over, I guess. The notion that our tracking program can say anything definitive about sources of infection, given how badly it is overwhelmed, is laughable on its face.
He also did his old soft shoe when asked about Donald Trump’s scary talk about delaying an election.
“It’s not helpful for the president to think out loud in a public fashion,” he said. But he said he understood Trump’s concern about election manipulation. Really? Absent any proof of any significant election manipulation (except by Russians.) He said he thought Trump would accept election results.
Bash played a portion of the awful video of Lionel Morris screaming he couldn’t breathe to Conway police officers, shortly before he died after being Tased, hit and held down on a suspected shoplifting offense.
Hutchinson was asked if he was confident justice was done.
“I’m confident that the review by the State Police was thorough.” He added that Bash failed to mention that Morris was “high on methamphetamine” and that was a “large part” of the reason he died in custody. An autopsy did show drugs in Morris body. But the prosecutor quoted the medical examiner as saying the cause was “methamphetamine intoxication with a combination of exertion, struggle, restraint and conducted electrical weapon deployment.” Notice how the law enforcers list drugs before struggle, restraint and “electrical weapon deployment.”
Not yet clear is what moved Conway police officers to arrest Morris. He had an open package for a drone in his shopping cart, apparently the source of suspicion. He ran when they ordered him to submit to handcuffs.
Hutchinson also rolled out a familiar tactic for Bash. He said he has a — wait for it — task force working on police procedures.
PS: Separately, but on the same program, Bash talk with Dr. Deborah Birx, an adviser to Donald Trump. She said the pandemic had become more widespread and particularly mentioned the need for southern states to do more to stop the spread.
She also said:
Bash on Sunday asked Birx if schools in states with a 5% positivity rate should remained closed or have distance learning only.
Arkansas’s rate is about double that. It has hovered around 10 percent recently and is much worse in some areas, including rural towns. Hutchinson has been adamant about reopening in-class school the week of Aug. 24 and Friday added high school sports to the reopening lineup.