Lifeless bodies pile on top of one another in refrigerated trucks. Families grieve the loss of their loved ones and can’t voice their last goodbyes. COVID-19 patients die in isolation without a final glimpse of their relatives.
As of Wednesday, 200,275 Americans have drawn their last breath under President Donald Trump’s watch.
Through the course of the pandemic, Trump has seemed to toy with the nation and fiddle his fingers, and his publicized conversations with Bob Woodward make that even more apparent.
In January, COVID-19 took its first infectious strides within United States territory.
As Trump addressed questions about the life-threatening virus, he claimed, “It’s going to be just fine.”
No one knew that the nation would be buckled down into a never-ending nightmare.
But recently, Woodward, the renowned journalist that toppled the Nixon presidency, came forth and released compelling audio recordings of Trump downplaying the virus.
As the popular saying goes, ignorance is bliss. Trump was practically convinced that the deadly COVID-19 virus will eventually disappear on its own, supported by his belief that it’s “very well under control in our country.”
Between December 2019 and July 2020, Trump had openly agreed to 18 interviews with Bob Woodward. This opportunity to be in the spotlight eventually set his actions ablaze with criticism.
In a Feb. 7 meeting with Woodward, Trump said, “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And, so, that’s a tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”
Days later, his optimistic idea to cement the Easter holiday as a “beautiful timeline” for reopening the country seemed like an attempt to mislead the country regarding the dangers of the coronavirus.
As Trump spilled the truth to Woodward, aware of the virus’ lethal nature, he continued to try and convince governors and millions of Americans that the coronavirus wasn’t as sinister as its effects have shown. Regardless of his plans to reopen, the states stood in solidarity with science as its driving force in finalizing how to effectively curtail the spread of the virus.
This act of deceit and coercion has had potentially severe negative effects on the response to the coronavirus across the country.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump said in Woodward’s March 19 recording. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
To put it in perspective, if restrictions including social distancing and mandated face masks were obeyed and in effect on March 1 rather than March 15, about 54,000 people would still be alive and a million COVID-19 cases would have been circumvented, according to an analysis by Columbia University.
Facing confrontation in all corners of the ABC town hall by uncommitted and on-the-fence voters, Trump defended himself when the Woodward tapes were touched upon, further intensifying the conversation.
“I actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action. My action was very strong,” Trump said.
To buttress his claim, he affirmed that his travel bans enforced on China and Europe in February and March protected countless American lives. Yet, the number of American deaths continued to climb to daunting heights. A month after the restriction was imposed, more than 27,000 Americans returned from mainland China, substantially muddling his ban.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. has surpassed other countries’ death tolls and COVID-19 cases with a mind-boggling 6,939,645 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
It wasn’t until mid-March when Trump stingily began to distribute personal protective equipment and ventilators to hospitalized patients and heroic nurses. Equally important, front-line medical employees were prioritized with masks, while the American public patiently waited to receive theirs.
In spite of a myriad of deaths, Trump tried to distract society by rerouting their attentiveness to the economy, while simultaneously neglecting the biggest national security threat to his presidency.
Former Vice President Joe Biden gave his two-cents on Trump’s oversight on the rampant virus, “It was all about making sure the stock market didn’t come down, that his wealthy friends didn’t lose any money … Think about what he did not do, and it’s almost criminal.”
All of this begs the question whether the administration is really making America great again when the U.S. is underperforming in scientific advances in its response to a global infectious disease.
Despite Trump’s notions, abandoning the facts and having faith while in limbo won’t propel us forward.