From the Left



'Having a fantastic time' leading to more sickness and death

Susan Estrich on

In the post on Twitter, Herman Cain was surrounded by four grinning Trumpers, presumably members of Black Voices for Trump, which Cain co-chaired. They were crowded together at the Tulsa Trump rally on June 20, a maskless audience in the front rows of a mostly empty hall. Seat signs that intended to enforce social distancing -- an easy mission when there are more empty seats than occupied ones -- were removed by President Donald Trump's staff.

Within two weeks, the man who managed to beat stage 4 cancer, was hospitalized for the coronavirus. On Thursday, nearly six weeks after he was "having a fantastic time" at the rally, he died in the hospital due to complications from the coronavirus.

Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather Pizza and former presidential candidate, was famous for his "9-9-9" tax plan (9% individual income tax, 9% corporate income tax and 9% national sales tax). He greatly contributed to the liveliness of the 2012 debates, if not to the results of any primary.

At the time he was hospitalized, aides recognized that attention would be focused on his attendance at the rally but added that he had also done a lot of traveling. Eight members of the president's advance team and eight Secret Service detail were also infected with the virus in the same time span, as were a fast-growing number of Oklahoma residents, contributing to the major spike in cases that the state has experienced.

Even so, in a Twitter post now deleted but widely reported, Cain (or whoever tweets as him) appeared to condone, and certainly did not condemn, the no-mask-needed policy for Trump's 4th of July event at Mount Rushmore: "Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump. PEOPLE ARE FED UP!"

"FED UP" with what?


On his website, Cain argued that social distancing, sanitizing and hand-washing would allow us to open the economy safely. But he also endorsed the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which, by June, had been shown to be totally ineffective in treating COVID-19.

Wednesday, the day before Cain's death, another Trumper, who had actively participated in House hearings the day before, confirmed that he had tested positive. Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican known for his maskless appearance in the Capitol, was supposed to travel with Trump on Air Force One and said he was suffering no symptoms when lined up on the White House lawn for testing.

Lest there be any doubt: The president's seemingly superhuman resistance to the virus around him is mostly the product of the very sort of comprehensive testing he has denounced -- for fear it would drive the numbers up -- when it comes to protecting others.

In a video recorded in Gohmert's office after he tested positive, the Texas Trumper blamed his diagnosis of the "Wuhan virus" on the fact that he had been wearing a mask for the past week or so.


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