Donald Trump doesn't care if you die
Over the years, we have heard many examples of bizarre conspiracy theories, including: The Holocaust never happened; American astronauts never landed on the moon; and September 11 was an inside job engineered by the CIA.
Now we can add one more: The coronavirus is nothing but a scam and a hoax, engineered by the "deep state" and the Democratic Party to take away our freedoms and keep Donald Trump from getting a second term.
Insane? Yes, but that's the nonsense spewed by brain-dead bozos showing up at state capitols every day, demanding an end to any protective measures to slow the spread of the pandemic, which has now infected over 1.2 million Americans and killed over 73,000, one death every 45 seconds during April.
Health professionals agree on two counts: Self-distancing and business lockdowns have dramatically slowed the spread of the virus; and easing those restrictions too early, before there's wider testing available and a marked downturn in the number of new cases, would be extremely dangerous. But don't tell that to the gun-toting, no-mask-wearing, "Trump 2020" sign-waving, MAGA-hat capped idiots in Sacramento, Lansing, Harrisburg, or other state capitals.
Referencing comments by Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, that members of those tightly packed, unprotected crowds could go home and infect their grandparents, one female rabble-rouser roared on Twitter: "You can call me a Grandma killer. I'm not sacrificing my home, food on the table, all of our docs and dentists, every form of pleasure, museums, zoos, restaurants, all my kid's teachers in order to make other people comfortable. If you want to stay locked down, do. I'm not." Think about how monumentally selfish that is. Translation: "I don't care if you die. I don't care how many more people die. I don't care if I infect my own grandmother, as long as I can go out for a burger and beer."
Please: Don't call these people "protesters." These people aren't your typical protesters. They're political agitators, today's tea party, organized by extremist right-wing organizations like FreedomWorks. They defy both state and White House guidelines about self-distancing. They threaten law enforcement officials. One security guard was shot and killed for telling people to wear a mask. A park ranger was shoved into a lake when he reminded park visitors to social distance.
And the worst part is, these goons pretend to be patriots by waving the American flag, chanting "USA, USA," and claiming they're out to protect basic freedoms. When, in fact, they're the opposite of everything America stands for. They're not patriots. They don't believe in the common good. They don't respect the rights enshrined in the Constitution. They put their own mindless "right" to go bowling or get a haircut over the most basic right of all: the right to life.
They don't care how many more Americans die. And, the sad fact is, neither does Donald Trump. This week, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation -- frequently cited by the White House as the most reliable source for coronavirus data -- almost doubled its forecast for COVID-19 deaths by August: from 72,000 (we've already surpassed that) to 135,000. And that's assuming current self-distancing guidelines and business lockdowns stay in place. Lifting those restrictions too early will only result in thousands more dead.
Yet, confronted with that reality this week, Trump's only response was: "Hopefully, that won't be the case. But it could very well be the case." No concern for victims there. But par for the course for Donald Trump. According to the Washington Post, out of 13 hours of remarks in his now-abandoned coronavirus briefings, Trump spent two hours attacking other people, 45 minutes praising himself for doing such a great job, and four and a half minutes expressing condolence for those who had lost their lives.
Meanwhile, Trump has, in effect, declared "Mission Accomplished! We Won the War," and pivoted from fighting the virus to pressuring states to reopen businesses, even though not one of the states to loosen up restrictions so far has met White House guidelines of 14 straight days of declining cases.
Trump's reckless rush to reopen the economy, putting profit over public health, means more people will get sick and more people will die. When it's over, Trump will be remembered -- and, hopefully, rejected -- as the man who was both too late to recognize the severity of the coronavirus and too soon to abandon the fight against it. But, for him, what's another 75,000 lives?
(Bill Press is host of The BillPressPod, and author of the new book, "Trump Must Go: The Top 100 Reasons to Dump Trump (And One to Keep Him)." His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may also follow him on Twitter @billpresspod.)