Alan Zendell, October 29. 2020
When a president, particularly one as unsuited for the job as Donald Trump uses personal loyalty as his sole criterion for selecting Cabinet and staff positions, we will invariably wind up with a government comprised of three kinds of people: sycophants, career professionals who recognize the president’s failings but choose to do their jobs in silence, and those whose commitment to their oath to the American people forces them to speak out.
That last is not easy to do. It requires courage, fortitude, and a willingness to subject oneself to vitriol and vicious personal attack. For high-ranking military and cabinet officers, it is even more difficult because of long-standing traditions that prohibit political attacks on a president by former subordinates. Yet, this year, we have heard former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, former White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly, and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley all speak out publicly against the president.
It is without precedent in the modern era for people at that level of government to describe Donald Trump as “unfit to be president,” “the most flawed individual I’ve ever known,” “unfocused,” and “a threaten to national security.” Now, they are followed daily by public health experts on the Coronavirus Task Force. Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, and Admiral Brett Giroir have all decided that telling the truth and trying to save hundreds of thousands of lives takes precedence over loyalty to the president. They are pulling the curtain back to reveal that the Wizard is a fake, that he has lied to the American people about the pandemic and the need to wear masks and remain distanced from each other. They have acknowledged that up to 90% of the pandemic-related deaths in this country can be laid at the president’s feet.
People have attacked Trump for having no plan to combat the pandemic. He’s been called incompetent at managing it, but that never made sense, and we now know it’s wrong. Presidential son-in-law and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner told us as much in his own words, which journalist Bob Woodward recorded back in April. Thinking he was praising the president, Kushner made it clear that Trump never had any intention of managing the spread of the virus. His only interest was political, being re-elected. His plan was evil and immoral, but incompetent only in the sense that he misjudged the virus and it backfired on him.
We now know Trump had no intention of increasing testing or contact tracing. He had no interest in managing the manufacture millions of units of personal protective gear, and his only interest in the death counts of innocent Americans was deflecting responsibility away from himself to the State Governors. After the carnage, when vaccines became available, he intended to take full credit for revitalizing the economy. That’s downright sinister. It’s sick, and by itself ought to result not only in his defeat but in criminal charges.
As the election neared, we heard, among others, Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and former RNC chairman Michael Steele refuse to endorse Trump. Former senior government people like Olivia Troye and Miles Taylor, have been speaking out publicly about the White House horror show they lived in for three years. The consensus of everyone but the sycophants who still prop Trump up is that he has no interest in anything except his own personal power and enrichment.
We’ve heard all that before, but in the final days of the campaign it has become a tsunami. Trump has no response except to call everyone who ever worked for him a disgruntled employee, which is probably true, but in no way invalidates their universal condemnation of him. And Trump continues to make it worse by campaigning in super-spreader rallies that show no concern for his most loyal supporters and spread the virus everywhere as infected attendees return home.
Let’s be clear. Trump understood from the start that there were two ways to achieve herd immunity. One is to follow the advice of infectious disease experts until a vaccine is available and minimize disease and death among the general population. The other is to allow the virus to spread throughout the population hoping that when most people have been infected they will be immune. There are problems with that approach. It costs many hundreds of thousands of lost lives, and there is no guarantee that immunity resulting from a previous infection is permanent. The latest studies show that it may be short term, only a few months.
Knowing all that as early as February, Donald Trump chose the latter because he calculated it was his best chance to be re-elected. At the very least that amounts to a few hundred thousand counts of negligent homicide.