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Americans are dying. Here are Trump's excuses

During an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, Iraq War veteran Paul Rieckhoff discusses the reports that the White House was warned about potential Russian bounties for killing US troops.

Posted: Jul 1, 2020 12:01 PM
Updated: Jul 1, 2020 12:01 PM

Two key stories in this week's headlines -- the resurgence of coronavirus and the Russian bounties on US forces in Afghanistan -- suggest that President Donald Trump does not think his portfolio includes actively working to protect as many American lives as possible.

Excuses will be offered. Justifications will be made. But Americans who should not be dying are dying.

Trump has taken a more active public role in recent weeks protecting statues of long-dead Confederate generals than either trying to stop the spread of Covid-19, which is clearly exploding around the country after he encouraged states to reopen early, or getting to the bottom of attacks on US service members paid for by Russia.

Russian bounties on US troops: Reports that Russians may have placed bounties on US forces in Afghanistan have been met with a shrug by the White House.

Excuses include:

  • The reports are unverified.
  • The President was not briefed.
  • "Rogue intelligence officers" are out to embarrass the President.

CNN and others have reported that Trump did have access to the information in a classified briefing he notoriously doesn't read. (White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Tuesday pushed back against the idea that Trump doesn't read his briefing, telling reporters "the President does read.")

Anything with regard to Russia is complicated by his friendly attitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin has had everyone from his former FBI director to the speaker of the House wondering if Vladimir Putin has something over Trump. And CNN's Stephen Collinson points out that Trump has seemed to use kid gloves with regard to Russia, to the point where it's a punchline:

There's one constant in each new twist of the drama over Russia that has overshadowed every day of Trump's term in the Oval Office.

Each time there's a damaging story on the issue, he makes exactly the same move -- dumping on the US intelligence that lies behind it. It was a similar story when the President used a Helsinki summit with Putin to throw US intelligence agencies under the bus over their assessments that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election to help him win.

Trump is equally dismissive of science when it comes to coronavirus. While the Russia bounty reports required Trump's attention, his refusal to lead Americans, specifically on the issue of face masks, requires willful indifference to obvious fact and disregard for the power he holds to help save lives.

At this point, his refusal to wear a mask to avoid giving the impression that anything is amiss might be self-defeating, because the unchecked spread of the disease is deepening the recession Trump originally feared would threaten his re-election.

Excuses include:

  • It's up to individuals to know how to protect themselves.
  • Trump doesn't want to trample anyone's freedom.

No stigma. It's getting very difficult for Trump's fellow Republicans to buy into the anti-mask stance. Even Sen. Mitch McConnell, Trump's ally in the US Senate, wants people to wear masks.

"We must have no stigma, none, about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people. Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting everyone we encounter," McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday.

Related: These are the states requiring face masks in public

A political debate that's costing lives. And Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who is retiring and so ever-so-slightly willing to speak his mind, nailed the mask debate on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

"Unfortunately this simple lifesaving practice has become part of a political debate that says: If you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask. If you're against Trump, you do," Alexander said.

Ergo: people will die when folks follow the President's lead. That's an undeniable fact as coronavirus runs rampant in the US, while other countries seem to contain it.

Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, used wartime language and said Trump had "surrendered" on coronavirus.

The excuses sound the same even when lives aren't at stake. The White House said the President didn't know the guy with the Trump sign in the golf cart yelled "White Power!" in the video he retweeted.

He never knows. It's always someone else's fault. And usually that someone or something is specifically trying to bring him down. Often, he'll blame Barack Obama.

Wash, rinse, repeat is a cycle that is getting very repetitive more than three years into the Trump administration. But now, with so many American lives on the line, it's a pattern that's harder to dismiss.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
Lauderdale11418297
Lowndes10249175
Lamar10048128
Pearl River8737209
Lafayette8078136
Hancock7324111
Washington6837147
Oktibbeha6820118
Neshoba6404201
Monroe6372158
Warren6326161
Pontotoc610393
Panola6071124
Bolivar6016143
Marshall5972118
Union564086
Pike5491133
Lincoln5232130
Alcorn520888
George457868
Scott451993
Leflore4401140
Prentiss437276
Itawamba436198
Tippah436180
Simpson4268111
Copiah425586
Wayne424863
Tate4234100
Adams4219114
Yazoo415886
Sunflower4088104
Covington407391
Marion4032100
Leake393185
Coahoma388198
Newton364474
Grenada3517101
Stone345657
Tishomingo324888
Attala321185
Jasper310262
Winston300391
Clay288273
Chickasaw282164
Clarke277487
Calhoun259739
Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
Claiborne125634
Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768301

Reported Deaths: 13209
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1093481727
Mobile699891179
Madison48418589
Baldwin35707452
Shelby35193291
Tuscaloosa33029512
Montgomery32582664
Lee21908204
Calhoun20140377
Morgan19351318
Etowah18583433
Marshall17272259
Houston16139353
St. Clair14956276
Limestone14129180
Cullman14069235
Elmore14010245
Lauderdale13128272
Talladega12399215
DeKalb11890229
Walker10231312
Autauga9493127
Blount9418149
Jackson9115136
Coffee8646161
Colbert8324169
Dale8284159
Escambia6456106
Tallapoosa6394168
Covington6313157
Chilton6243133
Russell591654
Franklin563597
Chambers5240132
Marion4628115
Dallas4626178
Clarke451471
Pike450091
Geneva4252106
Winston407987
Lawrence4046102
Bibb396177
Barbour338968
Marengo320981
Monroe311547
Butler309783
Pickens298769
Randolph294055
Henry293856
Hale286081
Cherokee279850
Fayette272271
Washington243545
Crenshaw232265
Clay221561
Macon214454
Cleburne209748
Lamar187839
Conecuh177139
Lowndes169056
Coosa163631
Wilcox154335
Bullock147142
Perry134235
Sumter123335
Greene119241
Choctaw72325
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Columbus
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Oxford
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Starkville
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Occasional areas of rain and some scattered thunderstorms will be in store for most of the weekend. However, good news by later sections of next week, as cooler and drier air will work its way into our weather forecast.
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