As the United States’ death toll raced toward 100,000, Donald Trump went golfing.
The number of deaths never had to reach such a staggering figure — and it will surely climb far beyond it — but it did because in the early days, Trump made excuses for the Chinese response, dragged his feet on an American response, and repeatedly made statements that defied truth and science.
Trump put politics, his own political fortunes, over the lives of the American people, and the result has been catastrophic.
As CNN has reported, researchers at Columbia University created a model gauging transmission rates from March 15 to May 3, and found that if the United States had started social distancing just two weeks earlier, it could have prevented 84 percent of deaths and 82 percent of cases.
But Trump had spent the previous week downplaying the severity of the virus and blaming growing coverage of it and alarm over it on the media.
On March 10, when there were 959 confirmed cases and 28 deaths, Trump said to reporters after a meeting with Republican senators: “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
But, that may well have been too late. The virus wasn’t aware of the politics of the moment. The virus wasn’t aware that he had been lying and deflecting. The virus wasn’t aware that it should wait until the American president was cowed into correct action. It was doing what viruses do: It was spreading and it was killing.
Trump dragged his feet, trying to con his way through a pandemic, to rewrite reality, to pacify the public until the virus passed, and that has led to untold numbers of people dead who never had to die.
There is not only blood on Trump’s hands, he is drenched in it like the penultimate scene from the movie “Carrie.”
No amount of deflecting blame to China or Obama or the governors can change this. No amount of playing to people’s impatience about reopening and optimistic desires that the worst is behind us can change this.
In America, this is Donald Trump’s plague, and he is yoked with that going into the election in November.
Joe Biden needs to do little, despite what many pundits may think. He doesn’t need a daily presence in the news. He doesn’t need to “own the internet.” He doesn’t need large rallies or even that much sizzle.
In fact, his being stuck in his house and giving limited interviews from his basement may be the best thing to ever happen to his campaign.
Biden is a well-known gaffe machine. Every time he speaks, there is the very real chance that he will do more damage than good. America doesn’t need that. We just need a person to replace Trump who is, for one thing, not so cavalier about deaths connected to his poor response or poor policy — whether they be hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, children separated from their parents at the border or victims of a virus.
But, Biden continues to commit unforced error, like the hubbub he created and later apologized for when he said at the end of an interview with The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne tha God: “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
It was so cavalier and comfortable that it was shocking. Biden doesn’t get to define blackness nor excommunicate anyone from it.
But that wasn’t the only problem in the interview. He said just seconds after that statement that “The NAACP has endorsed me every time I’ve run.” That never happened, and the NAACP had to release a statement to clarify that it “is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates for political office.”
This is not the first time Biden has lied about his relationship to the black community. He has repeatedly lied over the years about marching in the civil rights movement, even though advisers warned him to stop it. And, he repeatedly said that he was arrested in South Africa trying to see imprisoned anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela.
None of this ever happened. What gives? None of this is necessary. Compared to Trump’s avalanche of lies, these may seem small, but for black voters, particularly younger, more leery ones, they are baffling and off-putting.
Black voters rescued the Biden campaign and likely delivered him the nomination. These kinds of Breakfast Club flubs have the potential to dampen enthusiasm among “the one that brung you,” as we say in the South.
Biden has a good chance to beat Trump in the wake of his disastrous pandemic response, if Biden doesn’t blow it.
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Source: NY times