Did Trump Deliberately Let People Die of COVID-19?

Medical, legal experts say Trump is liable for half a million deaths

We just passed a grim milestone. Coronavirus deaths have officially hit the 500,000-mark. And according to The Lancet, a British medical journal, many of those fatalities could have been avoided.

“Many of the cases and deaths were avoidable. Instead of galvanising the US populace to fight the pandemic, President Trump publicly dismissed its threat (despite privately acknowledging it), discouraged action as infection spread, and eschewed international cooperation,” said The Lancet in its Feb. 10 issue. “His refusal to develop a national strategy worsened shortages of personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests. President Trump politicised mask-wearing and school reopenings and convened indoor events attended by thousands, where masks were discouraged and physical distancing was impossible.”

In an article I wrote almost a year ago, I talked about how 60,000 people had died from the coronavirus. Back then, I thought that number was shocking but now the number has just crept over 500,000. That’s hard to wrap your brain around but that’s the figure we’re at today. Let’s put that into perspective. I live in Moreno Valley, Calif. and the population here is about 300,000. The neighboring city, Riverside, has about 300,000 people too. The coronavirus death toll is like wiping both of those cities out.

But did Trump try to kill people or show criminal indifference to Americans? I’m leaning towards yes. According to Bob Woodward’s “Rage,” Trump gave up trying to contain the coronavirus once it was discovered that most of the people dying in the early stages were People of Color who lived in blue states.

But we can’t say that we weren't warned. Several medical experts I was listening to warned that the death toll was going to go up to about 400,000. Of course, when I heard that I couldn’t believe that number was right. It’s difficult to imagine that almost half a million people were going to be eliminated from America’s population. Right now, the coronavirus death toll is higher than casualties from World War II.

Last year, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading virologist, warned that we could see casualties of more than 200,000. But the current death toll is twice his prediction. It’s clear the Trump administration bungled handling the coronavirus. Trump, a reality show host and failed businessman, was in way over his head with handling a real crisis. He also refused to tell the truth and also tried to fudge the numbers to make his administration look better. He did all the things you shouldn’t do in a medical emergency.

Killing Americans

But did Trump try to kill people or show criminal indifference to Americans? I’m leaning towards yes. According to Bob Woodward’s “Rage,” Trump gave up trying to contain the coronavirus once it was discovered that most of the people dying in the early stages were People of Color who lived in blue states. Last year, Vanity Fair featured an account of an insider who witnessed the Trump White House’s seat-of-the-pants coronavirus strategy.

“According to another attendee, it seemed “very clear” (Jared) Kushner was less interested in finding a solution because, at the time, the virus was primarily ravaging cities in blue states: ‘We were flabbergasted. I basically had an out-of-body experience: Where am I, and what happened to America?’” said Vanity Fair.

Apparently, none of the geniuses in the Trump administration deduced that an airborne virus wouldn’t stay within state lines.

Is Trump liable?

In conversations with Woodward, Trump said that he tried to downplay the coronavirus because he was concerned about sparking a panic. What he meant was he was more concerned about the coronavirus numbers affecting the stock market. Trump’s weighed his success by how well the stock market did.

However, now several legal and medical experts say Trump should be held criminally liable for his handling of the coronavirus. Whether deliberately or because of his incompetence, he allowed thousands of Americans to die.

Writing in Foreign Policy, Laurie Garrett claimed Trump was guilty of “pandemicide.” (This word is an amalgamation of genocide and pandemic.)

“There is vast evidence of Trump’s negligence during the pandemic’s third wave. Had I been a member of the House of Representatives during the body’s impeachment deliberations, I would have added to Trump’s indictment the crime of pandemicide, naming him as responsible for most of the COVID-19 deaths that transpired while he, the nation’s leader, was preoccupied with damning Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump’s failure to, as he vowed in his oath of office, ‘faithfully execute the office of president of the United States’ promulgated a scale of lives lost exceeding anything experienced in the country since the Civil War, 160 years ago,” said Garrett.

Failure to prepare equals preparing to fail

Unfortunately, some questions will never be answered. Was the Trump administration trying to kill Americans they didn’t like? Were they trying to remove people from the welfare rolls who were seen as a drain on society? This opinion was stated by Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, two Republican dirty tricksters now facing election fraud charges. Burkman said COVID-19 was a chance to “clean out the stables.” Or was the Trump administration trying to eliminate People of Color?

If that opinion sounds shocking, remember Trump removed protections from meatpacking plants forcing employees to return to work at the height of the pandemic. Many of those employees are recent immigrants or migrant laborers.

We can only hope we find answers to these inconvenient questions. But the 500,000 death toll and The Lancet study are proof the coronavirus needlessly killed a lot of Americans.

The Full Story of Trump and COVID-19 | NowThis (YouTube)

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

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