We Want Him Held Accountable: Trump Lied and 300,000 Died
A timeline of Trump’s lies, ignorance, and vainglory amidst the worst crisis in a century
December 2020, over 300,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, more than in WWI, Korea, Vietnam, and all other American wars combined (excluding WWII and the Civil War). Trump’s responsibility in this failure is obvious to all but himself: New York Times, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, WaPo, USA Today, Nature, Vox, The Guardian.
Trump has always denied the importance of the pandemic, downplaying its human and economic impacts. Even more, a report published on December 16 showed that a Trump appointee demanded ‘herd immunity’ strategy in an email, writing: “We want them infected.”
Lest we ever forget his criminally negligent behaviour in a time of national crisis, here is a timeline of Trump’s lies and misrepresentations since January 2020.
“It’s under control.”
Since January, even before the first American death, Trump has been insisting that the pandemic was “totally under control.” He reiterated this claim that the virus was under control in March, June, July, August, and in September when he stated that Covid affects “virtually nobody.”
In October, after Trump had been himself afflicted by the virus, his administration finally admitted they were “not going to control” the pandemic.
“It’ll go away.”
At a rally in Lumberton, North Carolina on October 24, Trump stated that “That’s all I hear about now. Turn on television, ‘Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid. By the way, on November 4, you won’t hear about it anymore.”
On October 27, Trump piled up on his claim that Covid was somehow an electoral ploy, asserting that “Until November 4th., Fake News Media is going full on Covid, Covid, Covid. We are rounding the turn. 99.9%.”
On October 30, he tweeted again that “we are rounding the corner,” and again on October 31 in a tweet that needs to be shown, not merely linked, for how truly pathetic it is:
“We’ve done a tremendous job.”
It wasn’t enough for Trump to downplay the virus; he also had to overplay his contribution in solving it.
When it became obvious, in March, that Covid wouldn’t magically “go away.” Trump defined his year in office with the now infamous words:
I don’t take responsibility at all.
This came days only after he had claimed the US had “perfect” tests that anyone could get, while a few weeks later the New York Times reported that testing was so poorly organised the US was effectively “blind.”
In May, at the White House, a nurse confronted the president on the topic of PPE shortages and how they were affecting care in hospitals around the country. Trump not only dismissed the nurse’s statement, but he also had to pretend that he was doing a good job, stating that PPE supply was “sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people.”
Once again in May, at a mask manufacturing plant in Arizona, Trump stated that “Mike Pence and the task force have done a great job, but we’re now looking at a little bit of a different form, and that form is safety and opening. And we’ll have a different group probably set up for that,” implying the Covid task force would be dismantled.
In June, as cases were on the rise again, Trump insisted that the high infection rate was due to testing, and he suggested, of course, to slow down testing to improve the stats. As if we didn’t know that already, he reasserted his claim two days later by specifying that he doesn't kid.
In July, Trump once again said his administration had “done an incredible job,” as the number of new daily cases surpassed 50,000 for the first time.
In August, Trump, having claimed everything was “under control,” uttered another sentence that would come to define his 2020 and his presidency:
It is what it is.
On October 27, as total deaths reached 232,000, the Trump White House officially listed “Ending” the Covid-19 pandemic as an accomplishment of the administration.
On November 13, in a Rose Garden press conference, he reiterated the lie that his administration played a crucial role in developing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. He also vaingloriously celebrated the many successes of his administration and how “it would have been much worse” under any other president.
“I know science.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, all while downplaying it, Trump has been adamant that he knew what to be done, providing the world with his unfounded advice on medication and alternative medical treatments.
In March, he claimed Hydroxychloroquine was a miracle cure for COVID-19 and continued to promote it in April, without any scientific evidence to back his assertions. In May, Trump even said he was “taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent Covid-19.”
Showcasing his utter ignorance on the matter, Trump also suggested injecting disinfectants or using UVC light inside the body to kill the virus:
So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked because of the testing. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too.
Up until May, Trump actively discouraged the use of masks and refused to order a federal mask mandate. Leading by example, both him and the Covid-task-force leader, Mike Pence, infamously didn’t wear masks when visiting hospitals and factories.
In June, the FDA “revoked its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19,” a decision that was vehemently criticised by Trump, because of course, he had a scientifically-motivated opinion on the matter.
Ignoring the FDA, Trump continued to promote Hydroxychloroquine in July. The day before, Twitter had suspended Don Jr.’s account for spreading disinformation on the drug: he had shared a Breitbart video extolling the medication. The same month, the Trump administration also mysteriously disappeared CDC Covid data.
In August, in a campaign email, Trump told his supporters, at last, that they should wear masks. He himself ignored all safety guidelines during the Republican Convention and the Amy Coney Barrett nomination ceremony, both superspreader events.
In September, he walked back on the mask-thingy, and once again contradicted the head of the CDC on the importance of mask mandates.
“In the end, it’s all about me.”
Like everything else in Trump’s mind, whatever happens in the world must be about him. It’s always about him.
When Trump got COVID-19 in October, many hoped that it would provide him with an ounce of empathy. While at Walter Reed, Trump took a quick tour of the hospital grounds in his limo to wave hello to his supporters, endangering the lives of countless personnel and Secret Service agents.
After only three days in the hospital, Trump got out and immediately posed for a photo-op, of course without a mask. He boasted that people shouldn’t “be afraid” of the disease as he returned to the White House.
A few days later, Trump made a ridiculous, underhanded claim that the pandemic had something to do with the election when he stated: “That’s all I hear about now. Turn on television, ‘Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid. By the way, on November 4, you won’t hear about it anymore.”
Since the election, Trump hasn’t commented on the pandemic while over 3,000 American die every day. More than 9/11. More than D-Day.