Press: COVID-19: Blame Donald Trump

Press: COVID-19: Blame Donald Trump
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We live in two worlds: the real world and the world of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' MORE. In the real world, the coronavirus continues its deadly grip on the United States, infecting more people and taking more American lives every day. In the world of Trump, the coronavirus no longer exists. Just ask him. He’ll tell you. He’s done “a phenomenal job” fighting the pandemic. In fact, he says, the coronavirus is “fading away.”

And that is, by far, the most outrageous and dangerous of more than 19,000 lies, according to The Washington Post, that Trump has told as president. The coronavirus is not fading away. Thanks to prompt action by some governors, it has slowed down in some states. But it’s spreading alarmingly in many other states, especially among younger people.

Don’t listen to Trump. You can’t believe a word he says. Consider the facts. On Feb. 26, Trump boasted: “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” He was only off by a factor of 2 million. As of this writing, the total number of cases in the United States is 2.3 million, more than any other country. More than 120,000 Americans have died from the disease. At this rate, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, the death toll will reach 200,000 by Oct. 1. And that’s “if we do things almost perfectly” -— which is clearly not the case, starting with the maskless president himself.

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Again, consider the facts. It’s not over. New cases are on the rise in 23 states. Since Friday, June 19, according to the COVID Tracking Project, 12 states — Florida, Texas, Utah, South Carolina, Nevada, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, Arizona, California, Tennessee, and Oklahoma — have seen record new highs of cases. At the same time, the number of hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients spiked for 17 states. You’re worried we might someday experience phase two of the coronavirus? We’re not out of phase one yet!

Even Trump’s defenders now acknowledge it’s more serious than he first thought. They finally admit the coronavirus is not just the flu, or a hoax, or a Democratic plot to embarrass the president. But, they insist, you can’t blame Trump for it. Nonsense. Trump deserves all the blame. True, he didn’t invent the virus. It came from China. But, because of his ham-handed response, he is 100 percent responsible for the tragic toll COVID-19 has inflicted, and will continue to inflict, on this country.

For two months, Trump denied or minimized the threat of the virus. Even when he started taking it seriously, he refused to set national guidelines, refused to wear a mask himself and mocked those who did, refused to self-distance, promised a vaccine within months, promoted a bogus drug cure, actually suggested people ingest Lysol or some other disinfectant, and encouraged supporters to ignore White House guidelines by joining protests against governors who were trying to do the right thing. Then, suddenly, he stopped holding briefings and commenting about COVID-19 — as if, if only he didn’t talk about it, it would all go away.

All of which led up to last Friday’s disastrous Tulsa, Okla., campaign rally, where Trump flouted every measure recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect Americans and boasted (not joked, boasted) about doing less testing, not more. In his response to the virus, Trump has shown ignorance, inaction and indifference. Everything but leadership.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus rolls on. October. Four months from now. 200,000 COVID-19 deaths. Blame Trump.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”