Earth Day marks the meeting of COVID-19 and climate change

Earth Day marks the meeting of COVID-19 and climate change
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Earth Day on Wednesday is a celebration of the planet but it’s also a warning that the coronavirus crisis isn’t the only threat to the survival of humanity. The world is so focused on the COVID-19 pandemic that many people ignore the devastating consequences of climate change.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE’s hesitation to aggressively fight the pandemic is symptomatic of his refusal to confront climate change.   

Denial is not a river in Egypt — it is the president’s response to the dangers that COVID-19 and climate change pose to humanity. The Trump administration playbook is to deny the threats and then to not do much to fight them.

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Donald Trump has questioned the validity of COVID-19 and climate change. During his presidential campaign in 2015, he described climate change as a Chinese hoax. On Feb. 28 of this year, the president claimed Democrats had politicized the coronavirus outbreak and it was “their new hoax.”

The president’s seeming dismissal of both emergencies as hoaxes flies in the face of expert opinions on the dangers posed by the coronavirus and climate change.

The Trump administration’s failure to deal with the ravages of climate change contradicts the near unanimous belief among climate scientists that climate change is manmade and a threat to the planet.  

The administration has eliminated many of the environmental protections put into place by the Obama administration. For example, last week, the president eased restrictions on the use of mercury, which many scientists and medical experts believe are health and environmental hazards. 

The same cavalier attitude applies to the virus outbreak. The Washington Post reported on Sunday that beginning late in 2019, Americans at the World Health Organization were sending reports on the pandemic to the Trump administration. In January, U.S. intelligence agencies had warned administration officials about the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in China and its potential as a worldwide pandemic. 

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Last week, the president called for the liberation of Virginia, Michigan and Minnesota from the restrictions that Democratic governors of those states put in place to protect people from the ravages of the pandemic — despite the fact that medical experts believe social distancing is necessary to limit the spread of the pandemic. 

Protests against social distancing erupted in Michigan and a few other states last week. If the protesters have their way — follow the president’s advice to “liberate” the state and mount a successful coup d’état against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — they can change Michigan’s motto to “Live Free and Die.” The governor’s response to the pandemic deniers was “Better to be six feet apart right now than six feet under."

The president is like the mayor of the beach resort in the movie “Jaws” who wants the tourists and their wallets and pocketbooks back on the beach and in the water despite the shark attacks. Fearing the political fallout from a recession, President Trump wants Americans back in offices and factories even though there are people dying every day from the virus, and even though there are not nearly enough COVID-19 testing kits available to ensure peoples’ safety when they return to the workplace.

Donald Trump can build all the border walls he wants but they will not stop the pandemic or climate change. His America first and America only approach to problem solving underscores his utter disregard for science and globalism.

One of Donald Trump’s first acts as president was to withdraw the United States from the Paris Environmental Accord, which bound almost every nation of the world to take measures to fight climate change. Recently in the face of the worldwide pandemic, the president withdrew millions of dollars of financial support for the World Health Organization.

In contrast to the president’s half-hearted approach to fighting the pandemic, his advisers plan to mount an Biden-coronavirus-false-travel-ban-wuhan.html">aggressive China bashing campaign to win a second term. 

Administration officials refer to COVID-19 as the Wuhan Flu and released a TV ad that accused former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden chips away at Trump's fundraising advantage The Memo: Trump grows weak as clock ticks down Nina Turner addresses Biden's search for a running mate MORE of coddling the regime in Peking. The president’s willingness to blame thousands of deaths in the United States on China is just one part of his strategy to absolve himself of responsibility for the fatalities here.

So, to celebrate Earth Day, let’s hope we don’t continue to make the same costly mistakes about climate change as we did on the coronavirus outbreak. The president refused to heed the warnings from medical experts about the pandemic and his indifference cost thousands of Americans their lives. Better late than never won’t bring back the people who died. Americans can only hope that the same thing won’t happen when it comes to climate change.            

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Dateline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.