The United States is closing in on 200,000 COVID-19 deaths and has surpassed 6.5 million infections—two bleak milestones in a battle that President Donald Trump, in important ways, chose not to fully fight. With the new revelation in Bob Woodward’s book, Rage, that the president understood how deadly the virus was on February 7th—and likely even earlier—but chose not to act in the manner one would hope with that information, there is little comfort to offer the families, friends, and loved ones of the tens of thousands of Americans who should still be alive today.
Instead of putting forth a national strategy to combat the pandemic or issuing guidelines for states on how to curb the virus’s spread, the president actively sowed confusion and downplayed the severity of the situation. Americans were left largely in the dark about the virus’s lethality. Accompanying this carnage is catastrophic economic fallout, which too can be attributed to the president’s inaction and misdirection.
The above excerpt was originally published in Just Security.
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