The Report is a superb piece of work. It lays out a detailed blueprint for future pandemic preparation. For that reason alone, it is a valuable contribution to U.S. public health planning.
But that is hardly the only item of interest in the Report. It also itemizes in painful detail the lies, misinformation, failings and shortcomings that comprised Donald Trump’s mishandling of the crisis and the resulting life-altering tragedies caused thereby. In addition to the extraordinary loss of life resulting from Trump’s deceit and incompetence, his administration’s botched oversight of the multi-billion dollar relief programs encouraged predatory actions by private actors, massive economic suffering disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable individuals and businesses, and colossal waste, fraud and abuse. This was the biggest failure of leadership in American history. Trump’s actions and inactions during the crisis amounted to nothing less than extreme criminal negligence.
Given its fatal repercussions, his Covid-19 criminality far exceeds even his theft of highly classified documents and his treasonous fomenting of the January 6 rebellion that attempted to overthrow the government. While five people died as a consequence of the storming of the Capitol by Trump’s revolutionary militia, hundreds of thousands perished due to his abysmal performance during the coronavirus crisis. Spurred on by the lies and misinformation he peddled during his daily chaotic television appearances in the early months of the crisis, millions of Americans refused to take the rational, life-saving measures healthcare professionals advised—mask-wearing, social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and most importantly, getting vaccinated. Instead, they responded defiantly to Trump’s politicization of these reasonable actions.
Trump’s Covid criminal negligence cries out to be added to the litany of criminal investigations of his despicable conduct in other areas. He and his enablers must not be allowed to avoid accountability for the suffering they imposed on the nation they were charged with protecting.
December 16, 2022