The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) launched a new set of television and online advertisements featuring healthcare workers slamming Donald Trump for his March 29 statement, which implied nurses and other healthcare workers were stealing masks. This was just one of the almost relentless lies Trump has told in hope of deflecting his administration’s complete failure to stem our country’s current public health and economic crises.
At the time, Trump made this somewhat incoherent, and conspiratorial, statement: “For years 10 to 20,000 masks. Okay, it’s a New York hospital. It’s packed all the time. How do you go from 10 to 20 to 300,000 masks, 10 to 20,000 masks to 300,000, even though this is different. Something’s going on, and you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? How do you go from 10,000 to 300,000, and we have that in a lot of different places. So somebody should probably look into that, because I just don’t see from a practical standpoint how that’s possible to go from that to that, and we have that happening in numerous places.”
It was deeply offensive to most people with even a glimmer of intelligence, and the AFT is filled with educators who have helped people like me turn that glimmer into a bright fire—in my case, maybe just more of a bright glimmer. The video spot below begins with Trump’s dumb comments, followed by self-recorded video from nurses and other healthcare workers responding to those comments. The numbers grow and the screen shows the faces of people who are actually working under dangerous conditions to save American lives.
The voices intercut to form a singular voice:
President Trump suggested that nurses like me.
Are possibly stealing masks.
Wait a minute.
The anxiety we face every day is unbelievable. We don’t have the protective equipment. We’re gonna run out. It’s scary.
But still we are doing our job.
It’s time for the president to do his. Stop making states compete against each other. Do your job Mr. President, and give us the equipment we need to do our job. To save lives.
Lives are on the line.
And if you feel masochistic, you can watch Trump’s original statement below.