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: 319115

Reported Deaths: 7353
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22246264
Hinds20612421
Harrison18342316
Rankin13855282
Jackson13666248
Madison10213224
Lee10050176
Jones8452167
Forrest7810153
Lauderdale7253242
Lowndes6488149
Lamar632288
Lafayette6295120
Washington5412136
Bolivar4833133
Panola4659110
Oktibbeha465898
Pearl River4591146
Marshall4571105
Warren4436121
Pontotoc424573
Union415576
Monroe4154135
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock385187
Leflore3514125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn323272
Scott319274
Yazoo313971
Adams304785
Itawamba304777
Copiah299666
Coahoma298283
Simpson297889
Tippah291168
Prentiss283361
Leake271674
Marion271280
Covington266683
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251851
Newton248563
Tishomingo230867
Winston229881
Jasper222048
Attala214973
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187454
Stone187233
Tallahatchie179941
Clarke178980
Calhoun173732
Yalobusha167740
Smith164034
Walthall135147
Greene131633
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite125942
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica107927
Jefferson Davis107633
Claiborne102930
Benton102225
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin84923
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50817
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547323

Reported Deaths: 11266
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson808021563
Mobile41925826
Madison35600522
Tuscaloosa26136458
Shelby25554254
Montgomery25067610
Baldwin21774313
Lee16234175
Calhoun14692325
Morgan14614285
Etowah14132361
Marshall12443230
Houston10748287
Elmore10295212
Limestone10180157
St. Clair10146250
Cullman9921200
Lauderdale9582248
DeKalb8955189
Talladega8441184
Walker7318279
Autauga7215113
Blount6925139
Jackson6900113
Colbert6394139
Coffee5616126
Dale4928114
Russell454441
Chilton4461116
Franklin430683
Covington4263122
Tallapoosa4117154
Escambia400280
Chambers3715123
Dallas3604156
Clarke352861
Marion3231106
Pike313978
Lawrence3121100
Winston283372
Bibb267364
Geneva256981
Marengo250565
Pickens236562
Barbour234559
Hale226578
Butler223371
Fayette217162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph186844
Monroe179141
Washington170339
Macon163051
Clay159559
Crenshaw155057
Cleburne152543
Lamar145837
Lowndes141953
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh112930
Coosa111129
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
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Columbus
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Oxford
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