MAGA’s Ugly, Hateful Response to Bridge Horror Is About to Get Worse

If they can try to turn the tragic Baltimore bridge collapse into a culture war, they’ll go anywhere—hurting their own people in the process.

One of the ugliest features of MAGA politics is the eagerness to seize on large scale accidents, disasters, and pandemics to spread conspiracy theories, invent new culture-war obsessions, and pit one region of the country against another.

As Covid-19 raged in 2020, President Donald Trump sneered that “bailouts” for Democratic states were unfair to Republicans and mused aloud about using quarantines to protect red states from diseased blue state residents. Last year, when a train hauling toxic chemicals derailed in eastern Ohio, MAGA personalities transformed it into an insidious parable about woke Democratic elites supposedly scheming to abandon the virtuous white heartland.

Now, after the disastrous collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, MAGA figures and some GOP politicians are reviving that playbook yet again, in some cases with hateful, conspiratorial gusto. But this time the absurdities are of a next-level sort. That’s because the disaster, by severely hampering Baltimore’s port operations, is impacting regions and industries that rely on the port to export goods. Those include areas sometimes called “MAGA country,” places in the agricultural and industrial heartland throughout the Midwest.

In short, the Baltimore collapse demonstrates with unusual clarity that when it comes to calamities of this sort, we really are all in it together. That, of course, is exactly what the MAGA worldview seeks to deny at all costs—and is once again trying to do here.

This week, Pennsylvania GOP Representative Dan Meuser slammed President Biden for calling on Congress to fully fund the response to the Baltimore collapse. Meuser insisted it’s “outrageous” that Biden wants to fund repairs in their “entirety,” and even demanded that some of this money must be taken from “ridiculous EV expenditures.”

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