Donald Trump knew. He knew in February how dangerous, how deadly coronavirus was going to be and he deliberately played the severity of it down. Some of the revelations from the Bob Woodward interviews now surfacing are old news. Everyone watching knew he's been lying through his teeth from January onward about the disease and the crisis surrounding it.
No one knew better than the people closest to Trump, including Republican senators. When they voted to acquit Trump on February 5, they knew. They knew that he had obstructed justice, they knew that he was a liar and a cheat and they knew this epidemic had reached our shores and that Trump was likely the least capable person imaginable to deal with what was coming. They let this happen. And now that it's all out in public, not a one of them wants to talk about it. Especially Mitch McConnell. "I didn't look at the Woodward book," he told MSNBC's Kasie Hunt. "I will later. But I haven't even seen what you're referring to yet."
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That must have been the talking point sent out to the conference. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Kennedy and Shelley Capito and Rob Portman—not a one of them would comment. They "haven't seen" it, "haven't read it," practically stopped up their ears when it was read to them. Florida man Sen. Rick Scott is the only one ready to make himself complicit by willfully burying his own head in the sand: "I have not read it. I don't want to read it. I think the president did the right thing by stopping flights from China."
You won't be shocked to find out that the Republicans up for reelection in a matter of weeks haven't been rushing out with statements. Remember what Sen. Susan Collins said in April? She said "the president did a lot that was right in the beginning." That's what she said. In the beginning, when he was telling Bob Woodward that he understood the disease was transmitted through the air, that he knew how deadly it would be, that he was deliberately downplaying its dangers. That he was setting up the deaths of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Americans. He "did a lot that was right," she said.
Here's what she said last week. Last. Week. "[H]e has also done some things right. […] On January 31st, he ended travel to and from China, where the virus and the pandemic originated. He was roundly criticized for that, but it saved lives." She said that. Just like Rick Scott. We haven't heard from her today, though. We haven't heard from most of them.
All these deaths, they're on Trump's head. But not on Trump's head alone. Every single one of those Republican senators who voted against his impeachment bear responsibility. They could see what was coming. They knew Trump would be just as likely to do precisely what he did—try to figure out a way to profit from it, lie about it, blame everyone else for it, and fail to protect the people who elected them.