As the U.S. tops 300,000 COVID deaths, President Trump is busy tackling what he deems as an equally important crisis: showerheads. On MSNBC, Brian Williams played the above video montage to highlight the current president’s ongoing obsession with water pressure (from toilets, dishwashers, you name it). It’s quite telling to watch Trump’s water-rants all in one go, and Williams added a sarcastic condemnation: “You still have to admire Trump’s determination, and you have to wonder would we have 300,000 dead if he had been this diligent, this persistent about our uncontrolled pandemic?”
Williams’ words follow the White House finalizing two new rules rolling back restrictions on water efficiency when it comes to dishwashers, laundry machines, showerheads, and other household appliances. It’s part of Trump’s crusade against the “problem” of water pressure standards (even though these rules have been in place for nearly 30 years). He made it part of his bid for re-election earlier in the year, criticizing industry standards at rallies in places like Wisconsin and even giving a bizarre monologue at a White House event focused on easing regulatory restrictions this summer.
“So showerheads — you take a shower, the water doesn’t come out,” Trump complained to reporters in July. “You want to wash your hands, the water doesn’t come out. So what do you do? You just stand there longer or you take a shower longer? Because my hair — I don’t know about you, but it has to be perfect. Perfect.” He made similar (and lengthy) remarks about dishwashers.
Right … anyway, the Energy Department explained that the new showerhead rule means each showerhead on any fixture can reach the two-and-a-half gallon-per-minute maximum water flow rate mandated by Congress. Previously, a fixture could only use that much water no matter how many showerheads were attached. The second rule Trump’s team pushed for concerns wash cycles on laundry machines and dishwashers, giving consumers the option for shorter cycles that use more water.
Obviously, these new rollbacks have upset environmental advocates who see them as worse than unnecessary: they’re potentially harmful to our current climate crisis. It’s likely Joe Biden will reverse these rulings as soon as he takes office, which makes the time the administration has poured into this particular Trump grievance all the more confusing, but his supporters will probably view it as a win anyway.
After all, “Showerheads over saving human lives” feels like a good fit for Trump’s 2024 campaign slogan.