People For the American Way

Falsehoods and Failures: Trump During COVID-19 (7/31 Update)

News and Analysis
Falsehoods and Failures: Trump During COVID-19 (7/31 Update)

Donald Trump resumed his daily coronavirus press briefings last week – and they continue to serve as a platform for self-aggrandizement while falling woefully short with regard to accurate and useful information on the pandemic. This week, more of his allies have acknowledged what the Washington Post calls Trump’s “almost pathological” unwillingness to admit his mistakes and refusal to accept the pandemic’s realities, which forms the foundation of his mismanagement.

As Trump continues to ignore the advice of public health experts, including his own, more Americans are suffering and dying.

  • This week, the United States surpassed 150,000 deaths due to COVID-19 – almost 25 percent of the world’s recorded deaths – and the worst death toll in the world, by far. More than 1,400 Americans died in a single day on July 29. Health experts listed 21 states as being in the “red zone.” Yet Trump continues to insist on a national reopening and threaten states that refuse to do so. On July 27, he said: “I really do believe a lot of the governors should be opening up states that are not opening, and we’ll see what happens to them.”
  • Trump continues to lie at every turn about the scope of the pandemic, about his failure to manage it, about the severity of the crisis, and about treatments for the disease. This week, Trump took to Twitter to share factually incorrect posts that claimed that Dr. Anthony Fauci lied to the American public. He also shared a Breitbart video dismissing the benefits of face masks and promoting hydroxychloroquine. Trump’s endorsement of this video caused enormous controversy when it emerged that the doctor in the video had also made outlandish claims about humans having sex with demons. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube removed some of the posts and videos Trump shared for violating their pandemic misinformation policy. Trump defended sharing these posts during a July 28 press briefing and insisted that most of the U.S. is “corona-free.”
  • After months of delay, Trump’s Republican allies in the Senate unveiled their next COVID-19 relief proposal. The proposal lacks critical funding for election security or for support for local and state budgets, and slashes unemployment benefits by 43 percent for the average worker, even though last week was the nineteenth straight week in which over one million people have filed for unemployment benefits. It also includes a provision that limits two-thirds of the $70 billion in funding for schools that plan to physically reopen. What the proposal does include is $377 million for a remodel of Trump’s current home, the West Wing.
  • Meanwhile, the Senate’s senseless delay has already left millions of Americans in limbo, as existing pandemic unemployment benefits will expire by the end of today, July 31. As for Trump, he foreshadowed the possibility of ongoing delays when he described the Senate’s proposed legislation as “semi-irrelevant.”
  • During this prolonged period of national turmoil, Trump’s response to the COVID crisis continues to center around his own ego. On July 25, on a day when more than 1,000 people died, the White House tweeted a picture of Trump golfing with NFL star Brett Favre. At the July 28 press briefing, Trump complained that Dr. Fauci’s approval rating is higher than his. After Dr. Fauci threw the opening pitch at last week’s Washington Nationals game, Trump claimed he was invited to throw a pitch at a New York Yankees game that had never been scheduled.
  • Trump announced his latest attempt to disrupt our elections on Twitter on July 30 when he raised the possibility of delaying the election. This latest distraction technique – posted shortly after the Bureau of Economic Analysis revealed that the U.S. economy had experienced its worst drop in recorded history during the pandemic – was met with mixed reviews from even his staunchest right-wing supporters. Additionally, his lies about voting by mail seem designed to breed distrust in a safe and secure voting method and are deeply troubling. If Trump truly cares about the security of our elections, he should insist on a national vote-by-mail mandate and on the election security funding necessary to ensure that every eligible voter can safely cast a ballot.

For nearly six months, Trump’s corruption and abdication of his duties as the leader of our country have led to more and more American deaths. On July 29, about one American per minute died due to COVID-19. Our lives and well-being are on the line, and we need to hold both Trump and Senate Republicans accountable for the consequences of their failures at the ballot box this November.

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