Donald Trump’s cruelty, corruption, and leadership failures are deeply connected to the anger and pain millions of Americans feel following the fatal anti-Black violence and police brutality against Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and others. It’s important to understand the ways that the pandemic – and Trump’s response to it – have disproportionately hurt the Black community. As Zinzi Bailey, a social epidemiologist, said, “The stories about the protests are also the stories about COVID-19 and racism.”
Even though Trump is not singularly responsible for the scope of systemic racism in this country, his dangerous lies and failures during the coronavirus crisis have undoubtedly inflamed anti-Black racism, and have exacerbated the disproportionate harm that the pandemic has caused to Black Americans.
This week, Trump’s falsehoods and failures continued:
- No list of Trump’s failures this week would be complete without noting the appalling events of Monday evening, when Trump tasked Attorney General William Barr with forcefully clearing peaceful protesters from Lafayette Park for a Trump photo-op in front of a church. (He did not wear a mask.) Trump described the images of National Guard and police forces enacting violence against the protestors as “a beautiful thing to watch.”
- Despite the high risk posed by packing an auditorium with 50,000 people, Trump pulled the nomination portion of the Republican convention out of North Carolina after the state’s Democratic governor Roy Cooper held firm that the GOP would need to limit crowd capacity to make it safe during the pandemic.
- In the midst of all his other bad actions this week, Trump continued to assail the legitimacy of voting by mail, despite its success in more states as their election security measures are expanded. Trump’s assault has been so forceful that the GOP has started to worry that his relentless criticism of and lies surrounding mail-in ballots might harm his reelection prospects in November.
- Trump appears ready to “move past” dealing with the coronavirus crisis, even though confirmed cases continue to rise across the country. On Sunday, Adm. Brett Giroir confirmed that he will be standing down from his pandemic-appointed role and that there is no plan to replace him as the head of coronavirus testing. Dr. Anthony Fauci also said on Sunday that he hasn’t spoken to Trump in weeks. The White House’s coronavirus task force has been “sharply curtailed” while millions of Americans still need unemployment and other assistance. Additionally, there is no plan to lessen the estimated $8 trillion cost of the pandemic through 2030.
President Barack Obama posted an op-ed in Medium on Sunday, in which he wrote, “These past few months have been hard and dispiriting … the fear, sorrow, uncertainty, and hardship of a pandemic have been compounded by tragic reminders that prejudice and inequality still shape so much of American life.” He continued to encourage Americans to channel our heightened emotions into concrete action, including “[electing] government officials who are responsive to our demands.”
Trump is not responsive to the demands of anyone other than his far-right base, and his actions this week have only highlighted the narrowness of his focus. He has no place in the next chapter of the American story.