The world has reached a grim milestone. As I write this, one million, two thousand, three hundred and eighty-nine human beings have died from COVID-19 worldwide. We are now talking about deaths in excess of a million, or holocaust orders of magnitude deaths from a disease that Donald Trump said would “go away like a miracle” just seven short months ago.
As I write this, 209,453 Americans have died from coronavirus. That’s more than 20% of the world’s deaths from a nation that contains only 4.2% of the world’s population. Meanwhile Donald Trump has given up on fighting this pandemic. Get ready for Trump’s stone-throwing-in-a-glass-house rationale. He’s trying to change the narrative to Joe Biden’s occasional verbal gaffs.
Back in the day when the United States “only” had 100,000 coronavirus deaths, Biden misspoke and called it 100 million. Trump frequently harps on this, among a few other things. Trump, a man who called herd immunity “herd mentality,” who thinks that hurricanes can be defeated by nukes, who stared directly into the sun during a solar eclipse, who used a sharpie to reroute a hurricane, who thinks there were airports (and hence airplanes) during the American Revolution, who believes Frederick Douglass is still alive, and who’s presiding over an admininstration that has, to date, witnessed more than 7 million cases and 200,000 deaths from a deadly pandemic which he still refuses to act on, thinks accidentally misspeaking a million for a thousand is proof of his opponent’s unfitness to replace him.
What has Trump done lately about coronavirus? Nothing, except mock people for wearing masks and refusing to wear them consistently, while showing visible irritation at reporters whose voices are marginally muffled because they wear masks. He also continues to crow about his partial travel ban from China. That’s right, back in late January he partially banned travel from China. To hear him tell it, when he made the decision, “everyone in the room” was against it.
Not true. In his book “Rage” by Bob Woodward, Woodward points out that in a meeting in January in the Oval Office, Trump was encouraged by several scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, to place a temporary travel ban on China. Not only does Trump now take credit for the idea, he also claims that the people who actually thought of it were against it and told him it wouldn’t work. Trump’s narrative now is that he alone held out for the idea. In any case, it was a prophylactic that was porous and ineffectual and solved nothing.
In fact these same experts told Trump about the dangers of coronavirus as early as February, and Trump lied about those dangers to the American people. We know this unequivocally because Trump says so on a digital recording provided by Bob Woodward.
This Keystone Cops approach to running the country is why the United States of America has more than 20% of the world’s coronavirus deaths. Trump’s only recourse is to change the subject. It is a vestige of his complete incompetence that one of his strategies is to try to change the focus to Joe Biden’s occasional and quite harmless verbal gaffs. On the subject I think Dr. Jill Biden says it best: “You cannot even go there. After Donald Trump you cannot even say the word ‘gaffe.’”
But as long as we’re reaching for whataboutisms, what about the fact that there’s an 8.5% unemployment rate? What about Trump referring to military personnel as “suckers” and “losers?” What about the thousands of children in cages and their mothers who have received forced hysterectomies? What about the rampant fraud revealed in Trump’s newly released tax returns? What about Trump’s extorting a foreign country for dirt on the Bidens then orchestrating a coverup to hide it? What about Trump’s campaign finance violations? What about Trump’s ten instances of obstruction of justice? Sure, once we’ve discussed those things, we can chat about Joe Biden’s occasional gaffes.
Meanwhile, a million human beings worldwide are dead, and more than 200,000 of those human beings were Americans. Trump, together with the corruption and incompetence of other failed world leaders, is the reason.
Just as there are a million dead, there are a million other reasons why Donald Trump is unfit to remain president of the United States. This has been a million more. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.