U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (left, probably) and singer Axl Rose
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (left, probably) and singer Axl Rose
Image: Getty Images

Axl Rose, the lead singer of legendary 1980s rock band Guns N’ Roses, is currently squabbling with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Twitter about the coronavirus pandemic. Why? Because that’s our reality here in the year 2020. Just spin the giant wheel of pop culture references, political incompetence, and dystopian sci-fi scenarios to figure out today’s headlines—a Mad Libs of shit.

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“It’s official! Whatever anyone may have previously thought of Steve Mnuchin he’s officially an asshole,” Rose tweeted on Wednesday night.

Mnuchin replied to the tweet with, “What have you done for the country lately?” followed by an emoji of a Liberian flag. Presumably, Mnuchin intended to post an American flag.

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Rose caught the mistake and shot back, first about Libera, then pointing out that the Trump regime has overseen the deaths of over 70,000 Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

“My bad I didn’t get we’re hoping 2 emulate Liberia’s economic model,” Rose tweeted. “But on the real unlike this admin I’m not responsible for 70k+ deaths n’ unlike u I don’t hold a fed gov position of responsibility 2 the American people n’ go on TV tellin them 2 travel the US during a pandemic.”

Rose was likely referring to Mnuchin’s comments from mid-March when he encouraged Americans to travel, something that was idiotic, even at the time.

“If I weren’t so busy working I would be going home to Los Angeles and I would be perfectly comfortable getting on a commercial plane this weekend. Despite the fact that we told people to shut down travel a little bit, people can travel in the domestic U.S.,” Mnuchin said on March 13.

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Mnuchin, who eventually deleted and republished his tweet with the American flag, has become one of the most powerful people in the country ever since the CARES Act was passed, giving him control over how trillions of dollars is doled out to both individuals and businesses across the country.

It’s not clear what prompted Rose to call Mnuchin an asshole in his first tweet, but the Treasury Secretary is an active participant in arguably the most inept American government in modern history. And almost everything has been made worse during this global pandemic as a result of both incompetent and corrupt leadership at the very top.

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The Trump regime’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has been one of the worst in the world, with over 1.22 million infections and 73,431 deaths, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. That’s the highest of any country, though admittedly lower on a per capita basis than the UK, which also has a failed leader.

Mnuchin made a number of predictions in March about both the economy and the pandemic that have proved to be wildly incorrect, but here’s hoping he’s right that the 2020 recession isn’t as bad as the 2008 global financial crisis.

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“When there was a financial crisis, people were concerned that was going to go on for years. This will not go on for years,” Steve Mnuchin testified on March 11. “I am highly confident, listening to the medical professionals, that the medical approaches will develop quickly.”

We’re still waiting on those “medical approaches” to fight the coronavirus. But here’s hoping Mnuchin is right about the economy. If he’s wrong, we’re in for a very rough decade—roughly the amount of time it takes for Axl Rose to put out new music.

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Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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