Updated Since the United States has had so much success flattening the curve (vertically), President Donald Trump has turned his attention to more pressing matters.
No, not rocketing unemployment. Shower pressure standards.
As part of The White House's deregulation crusade, which helpfully distracts from the pandemic and has made it look like Trump is doing something in the run-up to the election, the US government has proposed to change showerhead definitions to increase water flow.
Not because there's an issue with how they work or anything – today's showerheads "achieve high levels of customer satisfaction", according to the Consumer Reports organisation – but because Trump has publicly complained about how they supposedly affect his haircare routine.
In a South Lawn speech last month, the commander-in-chief railed against "job-killing regulations... a merciless avalanche of wasteful and expensive and intrusive federal regulation. These oppressive, burdensome mandates were a stealth tax on our people – slashing take-home pay, suppressing innovation, surging the cost of goods, and shipping millions of American jobs overseas – millions and millions and millions."
But taking a brief tangent, he said: "We're bringing back consumer choice in home appliances so that you can buy washers and dryers, showerheads and faucets. So showerheads – you take a shower, the water doesn't come out. 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."
A 1992 law limits showerheads to produce no more than 2.5 gallons (9.5l) of water per minute, but Trump makes it sound like Americans across the Land of the Free are routinely met with a trickle each morning.
Other outlets have deftly swerved the issue, but we're going to go right out and say it. Trump has the shittiest hair in the history of western democracy, followed closely by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and we fear that American showers able to blast muck off elephants would dissolve Donny's golden locks – or what's left of them.
Consumer groups and conservationists share similar concerns, with one telling the Associated Press that more nozzles could result in "10, 15 gallons per minute powering out of the showerhead, literally probably washing you out of the bathroom."
Reuters suggested that the proposals may never get the go-ahead anyway. The news wire said: "Trump is campaigning for reelection and trails in opinion polls ahead of the vote Nov. 3. If he wins and the proposal advances it could also face court battles."
This isn't the first weirdly personal deregulation fixation Trump has expressed. Last year, before an audience of Republican legislators in Baltimore, he accused energy-efficient lightbulbs of making him look orange, rather than, say, hypothetical gallons of fake tan.
Trump blames new energy efficient light bulbs for making him "look orange." pic.twitter.com/IZ6DmBBtgU— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 13, 2019
At another Republican rally in New Mexico, he raved: "They took away our lightbulb. I want an incandescent light. I want to look better, OK? I want to pay less money to look better. Does that make sense? You pay much less money and you look much better. And on top of that, with the new bulbs, if they break it's considered a hazardous waste site. It's all gases inside and you're supposed to bring it back to where you bought it in a sealed container. Give me a break.
"I asked the people, the professionals. Well, what do people do when it breaks, because they break all the time? What do they do? Nothing, they throw it away. So I owe – a lot of people didn't know, they didn't understand. You get a much better light at a much reduced cost, and it's much safer. Because when those other bulbs break they really are dangerous. The gases come out, they're dangerous."
The US nonprofit Fact Check explained how he's talking nonsense here, in case you were in any doubt.
Now, we're no experts, but isn't running a country about amending and creating policy for the good of all, rather than the strangely specific and narcissistic whims of the leader? Huh, just us then. The funniest thing is, he'll probably win the election too. ®
Updated to add at 1800 UTC
Somewhat more worryingly, President Trump has just now opposed a boost in funding for the US Postal Service in order to make it harder for more citizens to vote by mail. The President fears he will lose the November election if enough people vote for Democrat rival Joe Biden by post to avoid queuing up at polling stations in a pandemic.
Folks are encouraged to drop off their ballots in deposit boxes in person rather than rely on USPS to deliver their votes.