This revelation itself is not new news, but it does help inform a recent news story that is difficult to wrap your head around. The EPA released a report that created loopholes for companies to introduce asbestos-containing products back into the market. Asbestos itself as an insulation is not making a comeback, but it is trickling back into America’s bloodstream through other products. The main reason? More money for rich people, as always with government decisions in America, and especially under this administration. But a secondary rationale could be that President Trump genuinely thinks that asbestos is magic. On October 17th, 2012 he tweeted the following:
If we didn’t remove incredibly powerful fire retardant asbestos & replace it with junk that doesn’t work, the World Trade Center would never have burned down.
Fact check: the Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that 300 to 400 tons of asbestos fibers were used to construct the World Trade Center. This isn’t the first time Trump has made this argument either. In 2005, he testified to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, making the case for asbestos as a physics-defying material.
Asbestos began to be removed from American buildings in the 1970s because it’s literally a carcinogen. Lung cancer is the most common side-effect of this kind of insulation simply being near humans. The New York Times obtained e-mails from career staff at the EPA which demonstrated a uniform opposition to the Trump administration’s new directive that will surely kill people.
Asbestos in its base form is actually remarkably flame retardant, but when converted into the insulation packed into American buildings en masse during the mid-20th century, it clearly is much less so. If you need proof, look no farther than the thousands of first responders who developed cancer while standing in a cloud of asbestos, fiberglass, mercury, benzene and other carcinogens in the wake of 9/11. Our president has always been a titanically stupid person, and now his brain is rotting at the peak of his powers. We are all the famous cartoon of the dog sitting in flames while inhaling the “incredibly powerful fire retardant asbestos.” This is fine.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.