People For the American Way

Falsehoods and Failures: Trump During COVID-19 (8/21 Update)

News and Analysis
Falsehoods and Failures: Trump During COVID-19 (8/21 Update)

After a month of over one thousand COVID-19 deaths per day, it’s particularly galling for Donald Trump to have said that the U.S. has done “phenomenally” during the pandemic. Every week Trump uses a new, rosy adjective to refer to the way he has responded to the coronavirus pandemic; his language never reflects the grim reality that he’s created.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., behind only heart disease and cancer. Of the 83 countries in the world considered to be higher-income industrialized nations, 75 percent of all coronavirus deaths that have been recorded occurred in the U.S. And because Trump still has no national testing strategy, a staggering forty percent of COVID-19 tests in the U.S. are returned too late to be clinically meaningful.
  • One of Trump’s strangest lies this week came when he accused Congressional Democrats of refusing to fund the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) – despite the fact that almost three months have gone by since House Democrats passed the HEROES Act, which included $25 billion in funding for USPS. The current funding stalemate is due to Trump’s attacks on the postal service and Senate Republicans enabling him.
  • Trump has latched onto a new “miracle cure” for coronavirus that he wants to push to the public despite the absence of evidence proving that it has any effect on COVID-19: extract from the oleander plant.
  • Once again pursuing his political agenda at the expense of public safety, Trump held in-person rallies in Wisconsin and Arizona this week, both of which showed attendees flouting social distancing guidelines and not wearing face masks.
  • The true danger of Trump’s overzealous push for students to return to in-person classes this fall is starting to come to light. In order to quash fresh outbreaks, schools nationwide and at all grade levels are closing down again after only a few days of classes. Researchers say that the absence of a comprehensive record of school outbreaks on a national level will hamper future efforts to improve teacher and student safety. And a new CDC report confirms that COVID-19 rates in children are “steadily increasing” across the country.
  • The CDC was blindsided by Trump’s August 18 statement that his administration is “ready to deploy CDC teams to support schools that are opening,” leading to a scramble at the already stretched agency to act on the president’s whim.
  • Showing an increase over the numbers in the previous month’s survey by The New York Times, almost six in ten Americans who are out of work due to the pandemic no longer expect to return to their old jobs, which does not bode well for the economy that Trump had been determined to “reopen” – at great risk to workers – this spring.

At the Democratic National Convention on August 18, Kristin Urquiza – whose father died this summer in Arizona – spoke about Trump’s response to the pandemic that took her father’s life: “My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump – and for that he paid with his life.” This is what matters most: That Trump’s missteps have cost and will cost more lives.

Urquiza spoke eloquently on her father’s behalf, but not everyone is given that kind of opportunity. At PFAW, we will continue to shed light on the ways that Trump’s botched response to the pandemic is harming Americans, and we will commit to holding Trump accountable for all the damage he has caused.