By The Editorial Board
Forty-five’s incessant lying and overall cluelessness aren’t new: The Washington Post estimated in January, that Agent Orange has made more than 16,000 false statements across his three years in office. However, Americans are now facing the immediate and deadly consequences of Trump’s lies, as the nation struggles to contain the spread of COVID-19.
As of Friday evening, COVID-19 has been detected across all 50 states, and cases have topped 16,000. More than 200 Americans have already lost their lives. Experts paint a grim portrait of where our nation may be headed: The CDC has predicted that 210 million Americans may catch the virus in the next year, resulting in 1.7 million deaths. Economic forecasts only amplify these disastrous predictions: Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin warned that the unemployment rate could hit 20% in the absence of significant intervention.
The loss–of both life and finances– will be catastrophic. What’s most dizzying about our current plight? The fact that it didn’t have to be this way. Years of lying, poor leadership, and ignorance on the part of Donald Trump have led us all to this point. Even as the current administration deploys an emergency damage control plan, injecting more than one trillion into the economy and restricting the day-to-day activities of American citizens, our country will battle the ripple effects of Trump’s handling of this pandemic for years to come.
In May of 2018, the Trump Administration inadvertently provided COVID-19 with a clear path towards American families, when he allowed former National Security Adviser John Bolton to completely dismantle the Pandemic Response Team. While former President Obama previously established the Pandemic Preparedness Office in 2015 to bolster the nation’s biodefense, the Trump Administration single-handedly destroyed this taskforce just 18 months before we needed it most.
In late January, just a few days before the World Health Organization would declare the spread of the novel coronavirus a “public health emergency,” Trump offered little factual information or practical preventative measures to American health workers and citizens, saying, “We have it under control. It’s going to be fine.” Days later, he claimed air travel between the US and China had been “pretty much shut down” while his Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary admitted the restrictions were “incremental” at best.
In February, Trump pulled another theory, (one completely discredited by the WHO), straight out of his “stable genius” mind, saying the virus might just disappear when the weather warms up in April. He repeated the falsehood again earlier this month, claiming, “It will just go away,” just days after suggesting the deadly virus is nothing more than a political “hoax” engineered by Democrats.
Perhaps the most significant debacle relating to the coronavirus outbreak, has been the administration’s painstakingly slow start to issuing tests on a large scale. Weeks ago VP Mike Pence promised to deploy “1.5 million tests” would be available by the end of the first week of March. As of March 19th, just over 100,000 Americans have been tested for the virus.
Amid all of Trump’s fumbling and mishandling of this once-in-a-century global emergency, the American death toll has risen steadily. Millions of children and adults are out of school and work. Because of the lack of testing, we cannot accurately estimate how many Americans may have the virus, but the numbers are likely exponentially higher than those officially accounted for. Ohio representatives estimate that there may be more than 100,000 people with the virus in the state alone.
At the helm of it all is, (I say this reluctantly), our President Donald Trump. He addressed the nation just days ago with a somber tone. That’s new. We saw Obama shed tears over the loss of young life following the Sandy Hook shooting, but we’ve never, not ever, watched this current president address the nation with anything remotely close to a grave or somber demeanor. I don’t believe Trump switched up his tone because his heart goes out to suffering Americans. I believe he did it because he knows that this time he messed up so badly, we might finally be fed up with his bullsh*t, and it could very well cost him the General Election.