Once again, Donald Trump has demonstrated that he cares far more about his own personal political interests than the welfare of the Americans he swore to protect.
Upset that a new report from Principal Deputy Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services Christi A. Grimm revealed yesterday that hospitals are struggling with “severe” and “widespread” shortages of the medical supplies necessary to fight the coronavirus, Trump has decided to smear and dismiss the report.
Yesterday, Trump was asked at a press conference about the report, which surveyed 323 hospitals nationwide to build its data. Presumably afraid that acknowledging the report properly would mean tacitly admitting that his government failed to do enough to provide adequate supplies, Trump stated without evidence that it is “just wrong.”
He bulldozed over reasonable followup questions, implied that “politics” might have something to do with the report, and generally conducted himself like a complete animal. It was a transparent and shameless decision to deny facts not because they’re untrustworthy, but because they’re inconvenient from a PR standpoint.
To be absolutely clear about what is happening here: the President of the United States is spreading disinformation and downplaying the severity of this pandemic in order to make it seem like his administration is performing better in this crisis than it really is. It’s not the first time Trump has tried to paint a rosier-than-accurate picture of the COVID-19 disaster, and it likely won’t be the last.
The result of the president’s lying is that it becomes harder for medical professionals to do their increasingly difficult jobs and makes it harder for the federal government to rectify the mistake it’s been making. If we as a country can’t even honestly talk about what’s going on, we can’t effectively fight the spread of this deadly virus.
Trump dismisses HHS IG report critical of federal coronavirus response: “It’s just wrong. Did I hear the word ‘inspector general’? Really … what’s his name? … could politics be entered into that?” pic.twitter.com/SMsHlgKMI4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 6, 2020
This morning, Trump decided to attack the report again by accusing the I.G. without evidence of failing to report on the H1N1 outbreak during the Obama administration and claiming (again without evidence) that Grimm failed to consult with the appropriate military and government officials before releasing the report.
Since it’s Trump, one can safely interpret the random Obama reference as yet another pathetic attempt to act as if he’s a superior president to his predecessor despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary.
“Another Fake Dossier!” he concluded, sinking into the kind of brainless, low-effort conspiratorial muttering that average Americans immediately see through but which his MAGA fanatics can’t seem to get enough of.
For simply doing her job and trying to provide the country with much-needed information, Grimm is now likely to find herself the target of all manner of right-wing attacks and death threats.
It cannot be stressed enough how dangerous the president’s rhetoric has become. The coronavirus requires us to take a clear-headed, nonpartisan look at our healthcare system and federal government apparatus. The harder Trump makes that, the more he endangers the lives of every single one of us.
Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report. Another Fake Dossier!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2020
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.