This should be the last straw

Soon after Donald Trump’s sham impeachment trial led to an acquittal, Trump ousted Purple Heart recipient Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council (NSC) for telling the truth at the House impeachment inquiry. Trump’s move was petty and vindictive, yet apparently insufficient. Trump felt he also needed to send Vindman’s twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, packing. Although Yevgeny shares his brother’s looks, he worked in a different capacity at the NSC and had nothing to do with Trump’s impeachment.

The idea of jumping to baseless conclusions because of a sibling relationship reached new perverse heights this week when conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh ramped up his coronavirus conspiracy theories another notch. Limbaugh began the week by warning that “the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump,” proclaiming: “Now, I have to tell you the truth about the coronavirus… it’s the common cold, folks.”

On Tuesday, Limbaugh attacked Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for stressing the inevitability and severity of the situation in contrast to Trump’s nothing-to-see-here attitude. Speaking with a highly suspicious tone, Limbaugh “outed” Messonnier as former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s sister and proceeded to connect some crazy conspiratorial dots, claiming Washington D.C. is “incestuous” and mostly “establishment-oriented or rooted, which means they despise Trump.”

In other words, Limbaugh wants us to believe that because Messonnier is the sister of the man who oversaw the Mueller investigation, her motive cannot be to help America but only to hurt Trump. Never mind that Messonnier has been working in public health for 25 years. Also, never mind that Rosenstein ended his tenure at the Department of Justice by standing proudly beside Attorney General William Barr while he gaslighted America about the Mueller report’s findings, then speaking publicly in praise of Trump for his supposed commitment to the rule of law and “courtesy and humor.”

If we wish to fight the coronavirus and minimize its harm to the public, we must listen to scientists—not cretins and crackpots. Not long ago, people with titles such as President of the United States and Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient commanded honor and respect by striving to meet a high level of responsibility and accountability. Trump and Limbaugh, however, only wish to downplay this public health threat while portraying Trump as the victim. We must focus on stopping the coronavirus as soon as possible. At the same time, we must also ensure that we put an end to this madness on November 3.

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