Donald Trump probably could not have been a worse person to lead Americans through the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is a man who "fueled confusion and conspiracies from the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic," as PolitiFact recently documented in its annual "Lie of the Year" designation. The nonpartisan group gave its 2020 "award" to "coronavirus downplay and denial"— in which it said Trump had been the conductor of the "symphony of counter narrative" about the virus.During the course of the year, Trump mocked Joe Biden and a reporter for wearing masks to stop the spread of the virus, despite experts recommending face coverings as one of the most effective ways to save lives while treatments and vaccines were developed. In the fall, as virus cases jumped, Trump held numerous campaign rallies with his mostly maskless supporters jammed together in spite of reports tracing these events to spreading the virus.
Now, as unbelievable as it may seem, Trump has checked out on even paying attention to a virus that is taking the life of an American every 40 seconds. As the Washington Post reported Saturday after speaking to numerous Trump advisers, the President has given up on dealing with Covid-19 since Election Day. Instead, Trump is almost solely focused on spewing lies to overturn his defeat by Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
At this point Trump should resign and allow Vice President Mike Pence to serve as President through January 20. Despite Pence s numerous faults, at least he appears to be engaged in attempting to combat Covid, as evidenced by his effort to bolster public confidence in the new vaccine by getting his shot on live television Friday.While nothing at this point Trump does should come as a surprise, The Washington Post reporting is jaw dropping in documenting that Trump, since about the time he was declared the loser of the presidential election, abdicated his responsibility for managing the public health crisis. The Post quotes one of Trump s closest advisers as saying, "I think he s just done with Covid."
"Done" despite the alarming spike in Covid cases and deaths since Election Day. To give some perspective, on Election Day (November 3), the United States was averaging 847 daily deaths over a one-week period. Where are we now? More than three times that rate, with an average of 2,630 Americans dying every day during last seven days. In fact, our nation saw a gruesome new record set Wednesday with over 3,600 Americans dying from Covid—the most lost in a day from the virus so far.
Heartbreakingly, that was just one of several days in the past week where more Americans died from Covid in 24 hours than in the attacks of 9/11. Meanwhile, Trump is laser focused on one thing: Serving up lies about the election. And while Trump is no longer attending Covid briefings, he did find time on Friday to hold a meeting in the White House where he reportedly discussed imposing martial law as a possible way to remain in power. (He denied that he was considering martial law in a Sunday morning tweet.)For the most part, Trump s only Covid-related comments over the past month have been to pat himself on the back for scientists developing a vaccine. Trump also claimed that the vaccine s announcement was delayed to after Election Day to hurt him politically—yet another lie.
While it s true that the virus would have caused infections and deaths in America regardless of what any President would have done, many experts believe that Trump s failed leadership played a key role in the virus causing proportionately more infections and deaths in the United States than in most other developed nations.Trump s conduct surrounding the virus, especially his lies that misled the public about the actual dangers posed by Covid, is morally reprehensible. There must be an in-depth investigation into the administration and Trump s personal actions surrounding the virus when he leaves office to learn from their failures to protect us.
For now, if Trump has truly surrendered to Covid despite the record breaking number of hospitalizations and deaths, he should resign effective immediately. While we can t be certain how many lives would be saved with Pence as president for the final month of this administration, even one life saved by a change in leadership would be worth it.