People For the American Way

Falsehoods and Failures: Trump During COVID-19 (6/5 Update)

News and Analysis
Falsehoods and Failures: Trump During COVID-19 (6/5 Update)

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.”

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.


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