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Trump's Covid-19 Response in Two Words: Criminal Negligence

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In making the charge, it is important to understand how a person could be accused of such a crime. Criminal negligence refers to conduct in which a person ignores a known or obvious risk, or disregards the life and safety of others. Federal and state courts describe this behavior as a form of recklessness, where the person acts significantly different than an ordinary person under similar circumstances.

Now that we understand the legal definition, it's time to present the vast amounts of evidence that exists in this case.

A Delayed Response

Trump was first briefed on January 18 by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar while he was at his Mar-a-Lago Resort in Florida, presumably on a golf trip. No action was taken after that briefing.

On January 22, Trump spoke to the press with this pearl of wisdom, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

Azar briefed Trump again on January 30, and Trump responded by calling him an alarmist. It was only after Trump Trade Advisor Peter Navarro chimed in on the same day with the following, that any action was taken: "The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on US soil,...This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.”

The following day, Trump announced a travel ban on Chinese nationals coming into the United States. This was a full 11 days after the first case of Covid-19 had been reported in the United States.


Trump's Lack of Understanding of Science Leads to Him Downplaying the Virus

During the month of February, Trump would put out statements downplaying the threat and spread of the virus, falsely making Americans believe it was not a big concern.

Those quotes include, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China;" "I think the virus is going to be—it’s going to be fine” and “Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

By the end of the month, he was in full-on denial mode about how this virus could be spreading.

“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero” follwed by "This is a flu. This is like a flu." and then “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Then on March 2, Trump give his first false medical statement - “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don't think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?” A week later, “Just stay calm. It will go away.”

In his recent book, famed reporter Bob Woodward quotes Trump as saying, "You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call with Woodward. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu. This is deadly stuff,” he repeated.

So Trump admits to knowing how the virus is transmitted, and as another writer notes, despite that, he continued to hold six more rallies with thousands of people in indoor venues with no masks or warnings. He held one Feb. 10 in Manchester. Another Feb. 19 in Arizona. Colorado Springs on Feb. 20. Feb. 21 in Las Vegas. Feb. 28 in Charleston. And March 2 in Charlotte.

If that's not negligent enough, Trump continued to brazenly admit his thoughts later in March. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19, according to a copy of the book. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” In falsely playing it down, Trump helped the virus spread. To this day we still his followers ignoring mask wearing and social distancing guidelines when they attend his mini rallies at airports.


Trump Begins Promoting Dangerous Medical Treatments

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In mid-March, Trump begins promoting unproven treatments for Covid-19, starting with the drug hydroxychloroquine, despite research inconclusive on any positive results. By mid-May, Trump announces he is taking the drug. Trump's promotion of the drug continues through July when he posts a video of a group of fringe doctors claiming to have used the treatment successfully. Social media platforms pull the video as false and dangerous and even suspends Donald Jr.'s account for 12 hours over the issue.

On April 23, with the death toll in the United States around 40,000 people, Trump chimes in with his second medical diagnosis: "I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."

Right after the disinfectant suggestion, he states, “So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether its ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said, that hasn't been checked but you're gonna test it. And then I said, supposing it brought the light inside the body, which you can either do either through the skin or some other way…”

Both of these would lead to him being openly mocked in the United States and internationally, but it did not stop many of his supporters from experimenting with bleach and other disinfectants as a treatment for Covid-19, according to a survey done by the CDC that found that 4% of respondents had followed Trump's suggestion. One Trump supporter in Arizona even lost their life after mistaking fish tank cleaner for Hydroxchloroquine.


Right as Trump began prescribing his dangerous and deadly medical treatments, many states issued stay-at-home orders for their residents. Starting in mid-March to April 20, all but eight of the states had issued some form of the order.

These stay-at-home orders were having a very negative effect on the economy. The economy was something that Trump was hoping to use in his re-election bid as much of the country had felt he had done a good job with it.

Starting to see his number one selling point slipping away, on April 17, Trump took action.

Trump Begins Undermining Democratic Governors

On his Twitter account to the 80 million that follow him, he send out this missive:

"LIBERATE MINNESOTA!" Then, a minute later, the president tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!"

Minutes after that, he added in another message, "LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!"

All three states have Democratic governors and all three governors have faced criticism for actions they've taken to combat COVID-19. The stay-at-home order by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is in effect until June 10, one of the longest orders nationally.

Trump's tweets came the same day a protest took place against Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz's stay-at-home restrictions.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has faced opposition from Republicans and business groups that argue she went too far in her April 9 extended and expanded stay-at-home order.

Thousands of people gathered in Lansing to protest the governor's restrictions. Some of them carried signs and flags backing Trump, a Republican who is seeking re-election.

At the time, the number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan had reached 29,263 with 2,093 deaths. The state had the fourth most confirmed cases among all states when Trump encouraged people to resist the state's stay-at-home order.

Protesters in Michigan

Protesters in Michigan

National Testing Program Scrapped for Political Reasons

It has been reported that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was put in charge of forming a task force for developing a national testing program around the end of March and early April as the Coronavirus was ravaging New York, Washington, and California.

The program was scrapped and one of the task force's members went to the media in July to note that they believed the program was never implemented because the virus was in Democrat-controlled states and cities and those outbreaks could be blamed on their leaders. Testing was then abdicated to the individual states.

Trump Encourages States to Reopen

Now here is one of the biggest areas for criminality. Reports are now coming out that Trump's Coronavirus task force was reporting rising infection rates at the same time that Trump was encouraging those same states to reopen their economies and schools at the end of April. So, despite knowing a lot of these areas were not reaching White House and CDC guidelines for safely reopening, Trump was telling people it was the right thing to do.

Certain Governors in Southern states, notably Georgia, Florida and Texas, followed Trump's advice and were the first to reopen. As expected, the results were tragic as they became the new epicenters for Covid-19 by the middle of the August.


Trump Ignores CDC Guidelines and Holds a Rally in Tulsa

The CDC had put out guidelines which limited the number of people you could have in large gatherings during the pandemic. Trump decided he could ignore those guidelines and try and get back on the road and hold a rally for his re-election.

Even though turnout for the event was thwarted by Tik Tok teenagers, they still packed 6,000 supporters into the arena, all in close proximity, hardly any wearing masks. As expected, Tulsa saw a surge in cases after the rally as well as numerous Trump staffers test positive for the virus.

At the Tulsa rally, Trump also admitted that he ordered testing slowed down because having more cases would make him look bad, further explaining why his administration likely cancelled the national testing program Kushner worked on in April.

Trump's RNC is a Covid-19 Train Wreck

First, Trump opens the convention with an announcement that the FDA is promoting the use of blood plasma to treat those afflicted with the virus. They tout a statistic that says there's a 35% increase in survival rate. A few days later, when actual scientists look at the claim, they force the FDA to walk back their statement because they misrepresented the data.

Compound that with the fact that he trotted out Larry Kudlow to talk about the pandemic in the past tense, as if 1,000 Americans hadn't died the same day, and the false reality that they aimed to paint was criminal to say the least.

On the final night, Trump gave a speech to 1,500 assembled supporters. There were very few masks and social distancing guidelines were thrown out the window in support of better optics. It was the Tulsa rally all over again where Trump believes he can do whatever he wants and the virus will just ignore his followers and go away on its own.

Republicans at the White House

Republicans at the White House

Trump Continues Hosting Superspreader Events

As the country headed back into election season in September, Trump began hosting rally-style events at various airports. Then Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away and he rushed to nominate her replacement in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House on Saturday, September 26. As is the norm for Trump events, masks were discouraged for appearances and social distancing was ignored.

Three days later, Trump went to Cleveland for a debate against Joe Biden. Two days later, word went public that Hope Hicks, one of his close advisers had contracted Covid-19 and felt her symptoms on Wednesday aboard Air Force One. The next day on October 2, the White House announced in the middle of the night that Trump and his wife had also contracted Covid-19.

By the end of the day on October 2, it was also announced that Senator Thom Tillis, Senator Mike Lee, Kellyanne Conway, and the President of Notre Dame, John Jenkins had all gotten positive test results. Along with a journalist, all seven had attended the Saturday nomination of Barrett at the White House.

From photos and reports, the entire Trump family entered Tuesday's debate in masks, but once seated, all took them off. By that point, they had likely all had contact with Melania during the trip. And after Hicks had been isolated during the Wednesday campaign trips on Air Force One, Trump still held a rally and then attended an indoor fundraiser at his Bedminster, New Jersey club.

The circles are those who tested positive for Covid

The circles are those who tested positive for Covid

Trump Administration Promoting Herd Immunity

The latest news to come from this inept administration is that the new hire, Scott Atlas, has proposed that the country adopt a herd immunity strategy. Many dispute that would be an effective model since over 25,000 citizens under the age of 65 have died from the virus. And with news arriving that people can get the virus a second time, in a worsened state, and herd immunity doesn't seem to be a viable theory.

Trump is Endangering his Protection Detail

As reported by Rolling Stone, apparently dozens of Trump's protective detail have either tested positive for the virus or had to be quarantined due to Trump's campaign events and golf schedule. In the middle of a pandemic, it must still be important for Trump to grift money from the government at his golf properties.

The Protective Detail

The Protective Detail

In Summary

Based on all we know about Trump's response to this pandemic, there is a mountain of evidence to show how he has contradicted the data that existed to sell a false narrative about the safety of the American people - most of it to keep the economy healthy in order to increase his chances of re-election.

His reckless actions, from Tulsa to his Republican National Convention speech to his constant addiction to golfing, have put the citizens of the country in further danger to the spread of this virus.

The absolute failure to follow CDC guidelines in terms of mask wearing and social distancing is pure negligence. And his campaign's attempt to paint this pandemic as a thing of the past will lead to many others contracting this disease.

It would have been great if we had a leader who took the right actions. Even a leader who had the best intentions and made some mistakes would be acceptable. But what this country has is a leader who continues to look at what should be the right choice and then does the exact opposite. He has definitely done more harm than good when it comes to fighting the Coronavirus.



Annie Poe from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India on October 03, 2020:

I didn't believe that the President had been affected by COVID 19, then again, he never really took safety precautions like wearing a mask in public, so this would have occurred sooner or later.

Rago on September 02, 2020:

Yes, we've talked a few times. Shar is tough to get through to, but then, so are most Trumpsters. LOL!

HP banned me from commenting on any articles except mine, and that was the final straw for me. At any rate, it's not worth my time any longer since they took the affilates out of the picture.

My last payment from the HP Amazon program stunk to high heaven. Over $2500 in products sold and a paltry $55 for the effort. Chump change, in other words. The in-house Google program sucks as well.

I've noticed some are just learning this.

JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on September 02, 2020:

She is persistent, I'll give her that, in her personal criticisms. She said she's got your e-mail, Randy. Look out.

JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on September 02, 2020:

Hey Randy, good to see you. Yeah, Sharon whined to management twice and got me banned. So instead of mixing it up in the forums, I have to post my thoughts to hubs - and I can delete much of the false info that she posts here - which actually works better.

And recently, since posting articles critical to Trump, my profile rating has dropped from a 96 to an 81. I guess there's some very sensitive snowflakes in the Hubpages command structure.

JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on September 02, 2020:

Sharon, great job picking out the parts that only fit your narrative. I liked how they waited until Dr. Fauci was going into surgery for the task force's approval, meaning he did not actually approve of the final version. And multiple people noted how it was a political move, made by Trump officials, and makes zero sense from a scientific standpoint.

Randy on September 02, 2020:

Great article, JOC! Are you banned from the forums yet?

Sharlee on September 02, 2020:

Politico -- "he new guidelines are a CDC action,” Giroir said. “As always, the guidelines received appropriate attention, consultation and input from Task Force experts, and I mean the medical and scientific experts, including CDC Director [Robert] Redfield"

This is the protocol. Do you feel due to trump being president the CDC should not take information from the Taskforce?

The question from Dr. Gupta Do you have any concerns about the changes in the guidelines?

I saw the Fauci quote."Fauci said he is “concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations” and is “worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern."

Fauci was clear in regards to concerns not concerns over the new guidelines may be inappropriate.

Fauci worked on the new guidelines...

:"We worked on this all together to make sure that there was an absolute consensus that reflected the best possible evidence, and the best public health for the American people," Giroir also said earlier in the call, pushing back on the notion that the new guidelines were the result of political pressure. "I worked on them, Dr. Fauci worked on them, Dr. (Deborah) Birx worked on them. Dr. (Stephen) Hahn worked on them."

JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on September 02, 2020:

Like I said, you either understand the political motivations for this fabrication or you don't. I listened to the announcement, then I watched them walk it back. Then I noted when the action was taken. I was able to form a conclusion about what had happened.

It's called critical thinking.

The way you defend all action Trump and post topics in the forums about every one of his claims, my guess is that you gave up your own critical analysis skill set long ago. And my article is no place for your own self-promotion.

Sharlee on September 02, 2020:

Youn listed examples with any real facts only opinions. No real evidence but maybe this happened.

JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on September 02, 2020:

Sharlee, I just listed multiple examples of the CDC being pressured by the Trump Administration in my last post. Did you ignore them? And stop asking for proof, you wouldn't believe any proof I supplied any way. Either you understand why the CDC misrepresented the data about blood plasma THE DAY before the Republican National Convention or you don't.

And you know who was praising China's handling of the virus on January 24 - Trump. Not surprising that his CDC would mirror those comments prior to any facts getting out about them not being truthful.

I'll allow a link here or there, but if you're going to flood my hub's comments section with links, I will deny those comments.

JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on September 02, 2020:

What you have are example after example of Trump pressuring the people working under him to support his narratives. Recently, the FDA misrepresented data to try and give Trump something positive to talk about prior to his convention on Covid-19, which they then had to walk back. And just recently, the CDC was pressured to change the testing guidelines because as Trump has publicly stated, more positive tests makes him look bad.

Dr. Fauci has been phased out for speaking the truth for Dr. Atlas who is promoting herd immunity so that Trump can try and revive the economy, even though herd immunity is ineffective as people can get the virus a second time, with much worse health effects.

Sure, you can say the WHO downplayed the virus also in the early stages, but the WHO is not responsible for protecting Americans. And the CDC is still part of the Trump Administration last I checked. And there's no denying that Trump officials have been pressuring them for political purposes.

As for the border, Trump only closed the border for Chinese nationals, some 40,000 people still came to the US from China after the ban. It still took him another month and half to close travel from Europe and it was done so hastily that many people were exposed to the virus while being herded through eastern airports because there was no process in place prior to the policy going into effect. One of my own friends contracted the disease during this, so I know it from personal experience his failures.

Sharlee on September 02, 2020:

Jan 31 2020 President Trump (even though told by CDC and WHO that the virus had a low possibility of causing a problem in America POTUS proclaims a travel restriction on China for entering the United States. Just a fact... Trump quickly stopped travel from China. I realize you will not post my comments. But truth just matters. And I know I offered facts and you are now aware of these facts.

Sharlee on September 02, 2020:

"DR. REDFIELD: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Let me give you an update on the current situation of the novel coronavirus. First though, I want to emphasize that this is a serious health situation in China, but I want to EMPHASIZE that the RISK to the American public currently is LOW. Our goal is do all we can do to keep it that way." Jan 31, 2020

Same Press conrence Jan 31 Dr A. Fauci

"If you put all these things together, I underscore what Bob said: We still have a low risk to the American public, but we want to keep it at a LOW risk. And because there are so many unknowns here, we’re going to take the action that the Secretary will describe, in a temporary way, to make sure we mitigate, as best as we possibly can, this risk. Thank you."

President Trump had already gathered a Taskforce and was listening to them... Just a fact. He was told the US had a very low risk of seeing a problem with COVID... Please read the entire transcript, and hopefully, you will retract your allegations to what was done very early on in regards to what the president was told and what he did. Facts matter

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