There are few things President Trump loves more than effusive, exaggerated praise to cover up for his own failings, and he put that tendency on chilling display today while visiting a personal protective equipment factory in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
While addressing the assembled factory workers, Trump proclaimed that it was a “beautiful thing” to see doctors and nurses “running into death” in a bizarre jumble of words that didn’t always make sense but reminded the viewer of an actor on television pretending to be drunk.
“From the moment this terrible virus reached our shores, each of you has worked relentlessly to get the vital supplies to our healthcare warriors — and they are warriors, aren’t they, when you see them going into those hospitals and they’re putting the stuff that you deliver, they’re wrapping themselves and the doors are opening and they’re going through the doors and they’re not even ready to go through those doors — they probably shouldn’t! — but they can’t get there fast enough, and they’re running into death like soldiers run into bullets! in a true sense, I see that with the doctors and the nurses and so many of the people that go into those hospitals, it’s incredible to see and it’s beautiful to see!”
Trump says doctors and nurses are "running into death just like soldiers running into bullets" and that "it's a beautiful thing to see." pic.twitter.com/UEHUi3gIhT
— The American Independent (@AmerIndependent) May 14, 2020
It is truly galling to hear the President shower hyperbolic praise on the doctors and nurses whose lives have been turned into hell on earth thanks to his deliberate negligence and mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis.
Our healthcare workers certainly do deserve every word of praise and thanks for their tireless efforts to save lives, but the president’s words take on a different tone when you remember that he and his Republican allies are largely responsible for the crippling shortages of personal protective equipment across the country.
While Trump’s words are garbled and half-formed, his reference to them “wrapping themselves in it” evokes images from just a month ago when America’s healthcare workers were forced to wear trash bags and use other household items to protect themselves.
Just this morning, the ousted vaccine chief Dr. Rick Bright testified before Congress that dire warnings from CDC officials about our nation’s low stockpile of PPE were ignored by the Trump administration. Investigations by Congressmembers have discovered that as late as February 2nd, the Trump team was encouraging American companies to export PPE supplies and ventilators to China while dropping the imports of such equipment.
Ousted vaccine chief Rick Bright: “I’ll never forget the emails I received from Mike Bowen indicating that our masks supply, our N95 respirator supply was completely decimated. And he said, ‘We’re in deep shit. The world is. And we need to act.’” pic.twitter.com/fQDy9BnL1L
— Axios (@axios) May 14, 2020
It is unknown how many healthcare workers have died from COVID-19 so far, but the toll is at least 1,000 people. To add insult to injury, Trump and the Republicans have done very little to improve the material lives of our healthcare workers beyond one meager $1,200 cheque — and they both deserve and could really use some help.
Buzzfeed reports that “More than 800,000 healthcare workers and almost 1.1 million of their children live in poverty across the US, according to a 2019 study published in the American Journal of Public Health. The researchers found that roughly 18.5 million people are employed in the US health industry. And nearly 10% of them — 1.7 million — earn so little that they get healthcare through Medicaid. Another 1.4 million have no health insurance at all.” Many are forced to work throughout this crisis without health insurance and must continue working even if they get sick.
But rather than doing anything to help the people on the front lines, Trump and the GOP are content to just fawn over them as “heroes” and lazily attempt to appease them with macabre displays of imperial might while refusing to spend a dollar of federal money to make their lives easier — just like they do with the soldiers on the front lines of their imperial wars.
when it come to preventable bloodbaths in this country we have just one script for everything: demanding the people on the front lines act as human sandbags, and paying them back in meaningless pieties and praise pic.twitter.com/TqOcVDDk5z
— inverted vibe curve: plunder mode (@PatBlanchfield) May 14, 2020
So if Trump really wants to help our healthcare workers out, he should sign off on the $3 trillion stimulus bill recently proposed by House Democrats, which would provide deserved hazard pay for America’s healthcare workers and another round of stimulus checks. And even if he does, he should spend every moment from now until November begging for forgiveness for all the lives that have been lost thanks to his greed and selfish ambitions.
He can save his empty praise and his nonsensical ramblings.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.