Trump Has Declared the Coronavirus—Which Has Killed 200,000 Americans—Affects ‘Virtually Nobody’

Jack Holmes-Tue, September 22, 2020, 11:06 AM EDT

It remains singularly infuriating that we all sat inside for weeks and weeks on the pretense that we were all sacrificing months of our lives for the greater good—to get the virus under control—and the president and his administration squandered that time. On a basic level, the federal government never ramped up testing capacity to a level necessary for it to serve as an effective tool in fighting the pandemic. And you can forget about developing a surveillance-testing plan to catch outbreaks earlier and contain them immediately. The president dragged his feet on invoking the Defense Production Act, and when he did, according to a Washington Post report out Tuesday, the Pentagon funneled $1 billion in taxpayer money meant for masks and swabs to defense contractors to make “jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms.” Because the $686 billion we spent on defense in 2019 wasn’t enough. The White House even intervened in April to stop the Postal Service from sending masks to every household.

The result is that the United States has the worst record on Covid-19 of any major nation: 200,000 deaths, or a little less than 21 percent of the world’s total spread across four percent of the world population. This, in the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world. An Exceptional Nation, indeed. The cause is not hard to identify: the president is incompetent, because he does not read and he does not give a shit—at least about whether you, an American citizen, live or die. A staffer who was in meetings of his Task Force just two months ago came out publicly last week and said he has “a flat out disregard for human life.” As if eager to drive the point home, the president took the stage in Ohio Monday night and said this:

It affects nobody, except all the dead people and their families and their friends. And not to mention that we have no idea what this thing might do to survivors in the long term. Personally, as someone who had it, I can’t wait to find out! Not that I was under any illusion that the nominal leader of the country in which I reside would care about any of that. It’s not clear he even acknowledges that other human beings truly exist and have internal worlds of their own. Certainly, they are not inherently worthy of dignity and respect, to be treated as anything more than means to his ends. Solipsism is a hell of a drug.

Of course, the polling back in 2016 indicated that even many of Donald Trump’s fans did not harbor the delusion that he actually cares about them. People aren’t that dumb—they can see what’s right in front of them. What they like about him is not that he cares about them, but that he hates—and bashes—all the right Enemies. He said all those Covid deaths in Blue States shouldn’t count, and one suspects his fans largely agree. Unfortunately, however, the virus has not spared Real America—the area of the United States of which the president considers himself the president—though it is still disproportionately affecting people who tend to vote for Democrats. They aren’t much use to his ends, and so they might as well be nobody.

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