Where have we heard that before?
That's easy. It was only last week that Trump’s thugs waded into a throng of peaceful protestors in Washington’s Lafayette Park with flash grenades and tear gas, all for a photo op intended to make it appear that Trump was not cowering in the White House basement.
Ah, it is a recurring theme: American lives put at risk for Trump’s political self-interest and vanity.
Trump is now re-instituting his large MAGA rallies, and – get this – attendees at the opening Tulsa event will be required to sign a release absolving the Trump campaign of liability if they contract COVID. Hey, MAGAmerica! The coronavirus is ancient history! America is ready to re-open for business, and all you have to do is release us from responsibility if you die from the coronavirus!
Trump has insisted on moving the Republican Convention from North Carolina, where the Democratic Governor is steadfast that any public gathering must adhere to the social distancing guidelines issued by Trump’s own administration. Trump, however, is raging to stage his convention in a venue where his audience is packed like sardines in adulation – just like the good old days – even if this exponentially elevates the risk of coronavirus transmission.
What was that leitmotif for the day again? Oh, yes: a President who puts the health and safety of American citizens at risk for his own personal self-interest.
Trump, of course, has been aggressively pushing governors to re-open their states for commerce on the hope that he can restore the country’s economic momentum prior to election day. There is considerable evidence that Trump’s efforts to re-open the country too quickly are simply prolonging the period in which the virus spreads. Consider this stunning fact: the combined population of five largest countries in Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain) is roughly the same as the population as the United States – and yet the number of new cases reported last week in those five countries was 19,000 -- again, combined. In the exact same time frame, the U.S. – with the same population – reported 143,000 new cases. The leaders of all five of these European nations have been far, far more successful in containing the virus than Trump’s performance in the United States.
Donald Trump would likely argue that the fault for that horrendous statistic lies with the governors, who he claims have the responsibility for managing the pandemic response in their states. It’s an interesting point, as Trump has been more successful exerting pressure to re-open on Republican governors who generally give Trump their unquestioned fealty and who most fear his wrath.
Here is a statistic that should, well, sicken Republicans.
In the past week, states with Republican governors witnessed an increase in infections of 19%.
In that exact same time frame, states with Democrat governors experienced a decline in overall reported cases of 15%.
Vote Republican. Make America sick again.
Columbia University recently released a study that held that 54,000 of the deaths from the coronavirus would have been avoided had the Federal government implementing social distancing protocols just two weeks earlier.
Why did the Federal government not act earlier? Donald Trump’s behavior and actions regarding the pandemic in the month of February are a matter of public record. Trump radically downplayed the potential impact of the virus (predicting it would “magically go away by April”), he minimized its very existence (“15 cases, soon there will be none”), and he ignored the advice of the medical community to institute social distancing practices, sheltering-in-place, and masks.
He delayed for weeks any plan to exert the Federal government’s option to order private manufacturing organizations to shift production to medical supplies. He sat on the sidelines for roughly six weeks, doing nothing, until he finally abdicated any Federal responsibility and announced that the management of the global pandemic – including medical supplies and testing -- should be the responsibility of state governors.
Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the reality of the pandemic and to take action to contain it on a timely basis is widely viewed to have been based on his fear that bold steps to lock America down would destroy the economy… the sole justification for the re-election of a President who had failed miserably by virtually any other measure. Further, there was broad speculation that his refusal to institute broad scale testing was out of his concern that such a program would reveal that the extent of contagion was far, far worse than he had been saying.
Please, Mr. or Ms. Republican, do not hide in denial by shrieking that “Donald Trump did not cause the coronavirus.” You are correct. He did not. I am not holding him accountable for all 117,000 American deaths attributable to the coronavirus. I am, ah, merely blaming him for the 54,000 deaths that were caused by a failure to impose the measures that were already known at the time to retard the spread of the corona virus: social distancing and sheltering-in-place.
I am holding him accountable for failures that continue to cause disease and death today: the lack of a national testing program, his failure to model correct behavior by refusing to wear a mask, and of course for the actions he is taking now to eliminate social distancing practices at his mass political rallies.
Oh, yes, I still hear you, Mr. or Ms. Republican: how can I hold him accountable for government failure when so many other nations experienced the exact same human carnage? Well, that is simply and scientifically not true. We can cite chapter and verse of other nations that acted more rapidly, acted on the basis of scientific evidence and medical expertise, and have been able to mitigate the long term impact of this disease far more effectively than Trump has in the United States. The numbers cited above from large European democracies alone speak emphatically and directly to that point. And New Zealand – led by a strong, brilliant, scientifically grounded young leader – has eliminated the coronavirus completely. You say you want to throw away your mask, freely stroll down Main Street, shop, grab a latte, and have an intimate chat with a group of friends? Move to Wellington. It is 100% open for business and back to normal.
Ah, your final retreat in defense of the indefensible: you disagree when I say that Donald Trump’s actions were willful and that he fully understood that his decisions would result in mass death. You refuse to believe that he made the decisions that caused 54,000 deaths because of political calculation.
Here’s the problem with your argument: the only way to justify your position is to claim that Donald Trump was appallingly lazy, actively ignored a torrent of scientific information that was broadly available in late February and March, or perhaps was simply too stupid to understand the implications of the information at his fingertips. Either he acted with the full knowledge that mass death would result, or he was so stupid, lazy, and ignorant that he was unable to grasp the carnage that would be wrought by a global pandemic..
So, Republican, which do you choose?
Don't get me wrong, I find your reasoning compelling… because I agree with you: Trump is appallingly lazy, ignorant, and stupid.
But in this case, I’ll give him more credit than you do. I think he knew what the consequences would be, and he went ahead anyway.
Which means that 54,000 people died needlessly because Donald Trump was more concerned about his re-election than about the science of the virus and the health of the American people.
In our column today, we have listed a series of actions on the part of Donald Trump that have one thing in common.
In each of the instances cited, Trump has put American citizens in risk of harm and, yes, death, all for the purpose of satisfying Trump’s ego and his political needs.
Wait, I’m not done. There is more.
On July 28, 2017, Trump addressed a political rally in Long Island, and he spoke specifically on the topic of how police should act while they are apprehending people suspected of crime:
“Now, we’re getting them (criminals) out anyway, but we’d like to get them out a lot faster, and when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody. Don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay.”
Yes, that was Donald Trump encouraging the police to be rougher with the people they are arresting, essentially endorsing the idea that it is fair game for suspects to experience physical abuse at the hands of the police. Donald Trump overtly encouraged police violence against American citizens to score political points.
We will never know how many Derek Chauvins in towns and cities all across American happened to see that news clip of his President urging that law enforcement be more brutal in their handling of suspects, and that cops should mete out their own form of street justice as they transport suspects who have not even been formally charged with crime.
All we know is that George Floyd is dead, and all Donald Trump can talk about now is that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
We have a President who has prioritized his ego and political needs over and above the health, safety, and lives of its citizens. By reasonable count, 54,000 Americans died needlessly because of this morally bankrupt self-involvement.
And that does not count one George Floyd, the latest in a long and ugly history of barbaric behavior on the part of our police toward Blacks in America.
Make that at least 54,001 lives lost, needlessly, callously, shamefully, willfully.
You see, it’s not just one questionable action. It’s not just one flawed decision. It’s not just one horrific misunderstanding or action taken in ignorance. It is a pattern of behavior. Patterns suggest willfulness.
Cognitive awareness of consequence. Prosecutors have a word for it: pre-meditation.
Yes, when at the very least 54,001 people die as a direct result of an intentional pattern of actions taken on a premeditated basis, there’s a word for that.
When a President orders men and women in our military into harm’s way to defend our nation against a clear and present danger to the United States of America, that’s called being the Commander in Chief. But when a President intentionally, knowingly, and repeatedly places the health, safety, and lives of citizens of the United States in jeopardy for his own political gain or vanity, there is a different word for it entirely.
When Donald Trump was running for President, he talked a lot about how he couldn’t stand all the “political correctness.”
You know what?
Neither can I.
There’s a word that describes the most horrific crime a person can commit against humanity.
The word describes willful, intentional, pre-meditated action that results in the mass deaths of innocent victims.
It is time to start saying out loud the crime that Donald Trump is guilty of committing.
It is a word that is defined as "the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation."
We are witnessing Donald Trump’s American genocide.