This past week, it was reported that eleven Secret Service employees, a military valet to Donald Trump, and Katie Miller, an aide to Mike Pence and wife of Stephen Miller, had all contracted COVID-19. And while COVID-19 ravages the White House, Donald Trump refuses to wear a mask.
According to AP, Trump believes wearing a CDC-recommended face mask will “send the wrong message,” that rather than focused on reopening the country and the economy, he’s *gasp” focused on healthcare. Trump also feels that wearing a mask makes him look “ridiculous” and the image could appear in negative ads.
Welcome to Trump World, where nothing matters except Donald Trump. You may recall that when COVID-19 first appeared in the U.S., Trump downplayed everything about it. He compared it to the flu, bragged that it would be “gone” by April, and ignored experts. The Guardian has put together a timeline through mid-March, which you can find here, but let’s just take a quick look at some of things Trump has said about COVID-19.
January 18: Trump receives a briefing about COVID-19, but only wants to talk about vaping.
January 22: At the Davos conference in Switzerland, Trump begins his misinformation campaign, telling CNBC “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
February 19: While speaking to a group of governors, Trump says “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus.”
February 24: Trump tweets that everything is under control and the stock market is starting to look good.
February 25: During a CDC telebriefing, Nancy Messonnier the director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, says: “Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country” and “disruption to everyday life may be severe. But these are things that people need to start thinking about now.”
Trump complains later that Messonnier was “scaring the stock market.” That same day, Larry Kudlow is asked about Messonnier’s comments while appearing on CNBC, and says “We have contained this. I won’t say airtight, but it’s pretty close to airtight.“
Throughout the month of February, Trump continues to lie about COVID-19, calls any factual statement about the severity of the pandemic “fake news,” and repeats that COVID-19 will just “disappear.”
February 19: First confirmed U.S. death from COVID-19.
March 5: Trump tweets about the results of a Gallup poll.
March 6: Trump visits CDC labs, and calls COVID-19 an “unforeseen problem,” and whines “What a problem. Came out of nowhere.”
The month of March also brings multiple lies about testing and the availability of tests, the declaration of a national emergency on the same day Trump misrepresents a Google site being created to triage possible COVID-19 cases, and on March 13, Trump tells the press he doesn’t take any responsibility for the lack of tests.
Sadly, even as more Americans died, and as more cases of COVID-19 were revealed, Donald Trump continued his misinformation campaign. The most recent numbers are staggering: 1.32 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, with over 78,500 deaths.
COVID-19 has made its way to The White House. People close to Trump and his family have tested positive. Nearly 80,000 Americans have died. But Donald Trump refuses to wear a mask because it would make him look “ridiculous.” He refuses to admit his own culpability in those deaths. Donald Trump spent months downplaying the severity of COVID-19, lying about tests, spreading misinformation, and bragging about his administration’s response.
It’s May, Mr. Trump, and COVID-19 has not “disappeared.” We don’t have enough tests, health care workers do not have enough protective equipment, 78,533 Americans are dead. Well, now COVID-19 is in The White House. Maybe that’s what it takes to get you to care.