The apocalyptic revelation that Bob Woodward had tapes of Donald Trump confessing that he lied to America about the coronavirus rocked the nation. Surely, the story of a president deceiving the country while 200,000 citizens died would be hugely impactful news, especially when his falsehoods may have significantly contributed to many of those deaths.
Indeed, it was an overwhelming story. For one night.
Woodward, the famous Watergate reporter coaxed Trump into privately revealing on February 7 that the coronavirus was much more deadly than even particularly virulent strains of the flu. Yet merely a few days later, the president told Americans, “This is a flu. This is like a flu.” It was one of many times Trump publicly compared COVID to a garden variety flu, intimating that the nascent virus was less threatening than a common strain of influenza when he knew this was patently untrue.
Just imagine how many lives could have been saved if Trump had simply told U.S. citizens what he had Bob Woodward on February 7. People could have taken appropriate precautions, and thousands might have been spared. Regrettably, Trump’s inaction has undoubtedly caused an overwhelming number of fatalities instead.
A few days later, at one of his rallies, Trump implied that the coronavirus was almost completely inconsequential when he referred to it as a Democratic hoax. Republican lackeys Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott joined Trump on stage and egged on a cheering crowd, marking them as two of many GOP enablers who blissfully lied about COVID for Trump. Indeed, Republicans across the country joined Trump in minimizing the coronavirus. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick suggested that elderly people would gladly lay down their lives to bolster the economy during the pandemic; Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz mockingly wore a gas mask while his constituents suffered; and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul tried to berate infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing. All in support of Donald Trump. All while Trump knew how devastating this activity could be. All while the death toll continued to rise.
Trump then admitted in a March 19 interview with Woodward that “young people” are also in danger of catching the coronavirus, despite the belief at the time that it would almost exclusively affect seniors. But there he was, a month later, pushing for schools to reopen when he knew that it could place millions of students, teachers, staff members, and all their families at grave risk.
He explained to Woodward that people catch COVID by breathing it in. Now, common sense would tell you that if you can catch a deadly virus by inhaling it, you should cover your mouth and nose to protect yourself. It would also tell you not to get too close to other people for fear of catching it from them. Indeed, wearing masks and social distancing have been recommended by the CDC and the NIH for months and have been mandated in many states.
Yet, the president continues to defy such orders time and time again, not only displaying a stunning lack of leadership, but perhaps even breaking the law while he does so. He held a large rally in North Carolina without wearing a mask, even though the state required using face coverings and limited gatherings to no more than 50 people. Of course, there was no social distancing at the rally. The same was true at rallies in Minnesota, Michigan, and other states. Nor were mask or distancing measures in place at the Republican National Convention, or at a Tulsa rally before that. The Tulsa rally is noted as the site where former presidential candidate Herman Cain likely contracted the coronavirus. Cain subsequently died of the disease about two weeks later.
With the staggering number of deaths already seen in the United States, and projections that ANOTHER 210,000 U.S. citizens might die before January, one would think the bombshell of a president lying about this disease should be the first, second, and third story of every newscast on every station. After all, the overblown story about Hillary Clinton’s emails was covered ad infinitum by the press, and we should remember that despite the GOP cries to “lock her up,” she was never charged with any crime, much less tried or convicted. Yet the negative coverage about her emails could well have cost her the election – thus giving us Trump.
To put this in perspective, if, G-d forbid, 410,000 Americans die from the coronavirus by the end of the year, that would be more than the number of all U.S. troops killed in World War II. How can any news organization refuse to focus on such colossal malfeasance by a commander in chief?
But that is exactly what the major networks have done. MSNBC and CNN quickly shifted from the main thrust of the story – the lies and the unconscionable, preventable deaths – to squabbling over whether Trump admitted he lied. Instead, they made an issue of the story Trump’s team tried to sell that it was Woodward’s fault for not sharing the information. At no time was there any real expectation that Trump would take responsibility for his own lies and mistakes. They still react to Trump’s outrageous tales like a clowder of cats following a moving laser pointer.
In the case of Fox, they tried to ignore Trump’s misconduct altogether by instead publishing stories to completely divert their audiences, like whether messages on the cell phones of the Mueller team investigating Trump’s potential collusion with Russia should have been deleted. This reporting conveniently overlooks the fact that Trump’s campaign deleted or encrypted messages so they could not be discovered. As Mueller noted, the Trump teams’ campaign messages may have proven they committed crimes, but of course, that doesn’t fit the Fox narrative that the Trump election effort did not coordinate with Russia. Regardless, Fox has unsurprisingly given Trump’s COVID lies short shrift, and even less surprisingly, some of their hosts have vehemently defended Trump.
It is true that there are many important issues facing the country right now. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the death of the Supreme Court. The continuing fight for racial justice. Climate change and the deadly wildfires out west.
But Trump’s conduct is monstrous. There is no other way to phrase it. He callously hid vital facts from American citizens, and as a result, tens of thousands of people have perished unnecessarily. If Trump is allowed to continue along his current path, many thousands more may die. This must be THE story. It should be the ONLY story.
We owe it to 200,000 Americans – and counting.
DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.