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Trump's resignation would save countless lives

Trump's resignation would save countless lives
President Donald J. Trump signs an Executive Order on Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence, Friday, June 26, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

by Tom Weis

According him more compassion than he has shown others who have died due to his malicious negligence, I wish President Trump a full recovery from COVID-19, even though he brought this on himself through his wanton recklessness. Most people did not. Most people who have contracted the deadly disease would not share Trump's view that it is a "blessing from God."

When faced with the biggest test of his presidency, Donald Trump failed the American people in just about every way imaginable. Despite being the wealthiest nation on earth, the United States leads the world in COVID-related deaths. Every day, more innocent Americans die from the coronavirus who didn't have to die, but it doesn't have to be this way. Donald Trump could perform a great public service and save countless lives by immediately resigning.

Almost seven months after the coronavirus outbreak was declared a public health emergency—with hundreds of Americans dying daily—we still have no coordinated national response to the pandemic. In fact, we don't even have empathy. Instead, we are served up shrugs ("It is what it is") and cold-hearted chaos by design. It's every state for itself, all in the myopic hope that the economy will somehow rebound just enough in time to re-elect Trump & Co. Donald Trump treats the American people—including his loyal supporters—as expendable resources to be exploited for his personal and political gain. He doesn't care about us. It's all about him. A president who values his own ambitions more than the lives and safety of the American people is not morally fit to lead.

No fan of former President George W. Bush, I am surprised to find myself quoting one of his former speechwriters, David Frum, but facts are facts: "That the pandemic occurred is not Trump's fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump's fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump's fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump's fault. Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump's fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump's fault again." And lest we forget, it was Trump & Co. that recklessly disbanded America's global pandemic response team, leaving us even more physically and economically vulnerable to this deadly disease. As if all of that were not enough, Trump is now pulling the United States out of the World Health Organization in the midst of a raging global pandemic.

Along with preserving, protecting, and defending the U.S. Constitution (which Donald Trump consistently refuses to do), there is no more important job of the president of the United States than defending the American people. When it comes to safeguarding the citizenry, the buck stops at the Oval Office. Yet President Trump just passes the buck. Time and again, he has displayed callous disregard for the health and welfare of the people he is charged with protecting. This is not an opinion. This is documented fact.

Let's review Donald Trump's botched response to the pandemic. His initial reaction was to try to wish it away. When it failed to "miraculously" disappear, he resorted to deadly delay (asked if he would accept responsibility for the delay in administering tests, he replied: "I don't take responsibility at all."). He claimed without shame that he directed a slowdown in testing to make himself look better. He fixated on hydroxychloroquine. He floated the idea of injecting or inhaling disinfectants (asked about the spike in calls to poison control centers because of his comments, he feigned ignorance, saying, "I can't imagine why," again refusing to take responsibility for the predictable panic that ensued). He encouraged armed protesters to "liberate" their states from public health measures. He buried a CDC report designed to help safely guide the reopening of the economy. He endangered the health and lives of our children, and teachers, by attacking the CDC's school reopening guidelines. He even asked the Supreme Court to strip away the health care coverage of more than 20 million Americans during a national public health emergency.

That's not all. He tried to fool us into believing a vaccine will be ready for wide distribution this fall, despite CDC Director Robert Redfield informing us it won't be ready until sometime in 2021. He disputed Redfield's finding that masks are the best way to keep the virus from spreading. He refused to lead by example by simply donning a mask in public until July, while denigrating Joe Biden for responsibly wearing one. He put the public at risk by holding campaign rallies with thousands of unmasked fans. He campaigned in front of 1,500 mostly unmasked supporters packed together on the White House lawn. He mingled unmasked with attendees at a crowded Rose Garden ceremony for his Supreme Court nominee. He hobnobbed with donors in New Jersey despite knowing he had been exposed to the virus. He went out for a joy ride while being treated for COVID-19 at Walter Reed, recklessly putting his Secret Service detail in harms way. Then fresh out of the hospital, he walked into the White House unmasked, selfishly endangering the lives of residence staff with his contagion.

What kind of president does this? For that matter, what kind of person does this?

Belying his public comments, President Trump admitted to Bob Woodward on tape that he purposefully played down the virus threat, and still does. Trump told Woodward during a February 7 interview: "You just breathe the air and that's how it's passed." He also admitted to Woodward during that same interview: "This is deadly stuff." Our president knew and failed to warn us. This is an unforgivable betrayal of the public trust. Trump lied and people died.

COVID-19 has now claimed more than 210,000 American lives, with the Trump Death Clock estimating that more than half those people died due to Trump's inaction. This is one of the worst derelictions of duty in the 244-year history of our nation. On top of the innocent lives lost, more than 7 million Americans are infected, many millions more have lost their jobs (and their employer-provided health insurance) and the economy is in tatters, with minority communities suffering the most. In fairness to President Trump, this is not all his fault, but much of it is. Any normal president, like, say, a President Joe Biden, would have rallied a national response to the pandemic, but Donald Trump refused. He still refuses. Instead of leading, he rampages. Like a human wrecking ball, Trump's callousness has wrecked our families; his incompetence has wrecked our economy; his crudeness has wrecked our global reputation; and he is determined to wreck the Republic. How many more of our fellow Americans must suffer economic misery, how many more must die, at the hands of this man?

It would take a bigger person than Donald Trump to step down to save innocent lives, but that does not absolve me of my civic duty to say he needs to. Too many Americans have needlessly suffered and died on his watch. Every day he remains in office, more will suffer and die. It is time to close the curtain on Trump's cruel carnival of carnage. It is time for him to resign.

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