Just last week, researchers set the number of American deaths due to the mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic at 400,000. It might seem like this would be a good time for Trump to fall back on blaming everyone else. However, that would first require that Trump admit that he ever thought someone else knew more than he did on any topic, and it would require Trump to admit that he had done anything wrong.
So instead, Trump announced that it was “time to speak up” about Birx and Fauci. “They had had policy decisions,” wrote Trump, “that would have left our country open to China and others, closed to reopening our economy, and years away from an approved vaccine.” There may not be any truth in that statement, but that sentence really does deliver a message: Despite being off Twitter, Trump is still writing these things himself. If you want confirmation, just check out the next sentence. “We developed American vaccines by an American President in record time ...”
It’s safe to say that during the time it took to deliver vaccines, Donald Trump did not touch a test tube. He did, however, spend months promoting the idea that hydroxychloroquine was a “miracle cure” for COVID-19. It wasn’t. He also promised to provide every American with free treatment using monoclonal antibodies. He didn’t.
Trump then—and this is real—goes on to criticize Fauci, at length, for being unable to throw a baseball. Which, according to Trump, means that Fauci could not have been a high school athlete 60 years ago. Trump then claims that he only kept Birx and Fauci on because they “worked for the government so long.” Which … doesn’t that make them “swamp creatures”? Or “Deep State”? Or maybe deep swamp? In any case, Trump did spend some time pretending that Fauci said things he never said, which is an old habit for Trump.
But what Donald Trump wants America to know is that he didn’t listen to anyone. He’s responsible for all the big decisions that led the United States … to being right at the top of the leaderboard when it comes to COVID-19 deaths. He was absolutely not going to listen to the experts, and he didn’t.
Funnily enough, as CNN reported, that’s exactly what all the doctors had to say. Rather than listen to warnings like those Dr. Nancy Messonnier, who repeatedly warned the nation in February that COVID-19 should be expected to spread across the nation and that disruption to everyday life would be severe, Trump silenced those voices and put on a happy face. The day after Messonnier put out that warning was the day Trump insisted, “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
It took less than two weeks after that statement before the broad community spread of COVID-19 became evident and for the first spike of cases and deaths to set in across the Northeast. By the third week of March Trump was back, sitting in front of a chart that projected a possible 200,000 deaths. And at the end of March—one year ago today—Trump made this statement:
“It’s a horrible number,” Trump said, but "if we have between 100,000 and 200,000 [deaths], we all together have done a very good job.”
Honestly, the researchers who looked through the data for the U.S. last week agreed. Those would have been good numbers. In fact, the United States might have been expected to have somewhere just over 200,000 deaths had the government instituted national mask mandate, enforced social distancing guidelines, and taken responsibility for a program of testing and case management. At the same time, the nation might have saved $5 trillion by managing the pandemic more effectively and making the changes necessary to protect individuals through the crisis.
Instead the final toll is expected to clear 600,000. As for the day when cases of COVID-19 go down to zero, it may never come.
What’s almost soon to come sooner is reaching zero public interest in … that guy. You know the one. That Florida man.
And now, a moment of comedy from Blaire Erskine.