In the U.S., there are 7.8 million COVID-19 cases with more than 210,000 deaths. Having initially praised the Chinese government’s effectiveness in tackling the pandemic, Trump made a “U-turn,” rejecting criticism of his handling of the fight against COVID-19 and describing it as the “Chinese Virus.”
Documents released on August 31 by the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus show that top Trump administration officials downplayed the pandemic. “The White House has known since June that coronavirus cases were surging across the country,” but the Trump administration has repeatedly called for a reopening of the economy. The administration’s stance has contributed to 58,000 more deaths.
Since he was elected in 2016, Trump’s top priority has been to win a second term in the White House. Even the pandemic and hundreds of thousands of deaths could not change his plan.
Trump projected himself as “tough” on China by raising tariffs on Chinese goods. The whole act of condemning China is to help Trump keep the voters and the interest groups that support him onside. Before the pandemic, the U.S. economy slowly climbed and the unemployment rate dropped. Trump bragged about the growth as his achievement. The big corporations and conservative interest groups that support Trump want a strong U.S. economy and a bull market. That’s why the president focused on stock market performance but downplayed the pandemic.
Trump refused to wear a mask in public and attacked Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for wearing one. But when the president finally put on a mask in July, he called himself a patriot. Trump has politicized the pandemic by blaming it on other nations and shifting his responsibilities onto political rivals. There is no magic cure available before November’s election. The only way to restart the U.S. economy is to first stop the spread of the virus.
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