On the same day that the World Health Organization officially decreed Covid-19 to be a pandemic in order to bolster public awareness of the seriousness of the disease, Donald Trump ordered federal officials to classify any discussions about it. That’s “classify” as in treating official news about the disease as if it was a nuclear top secret. It’s intended to prevent Americans for receiving critical news about the spread of the disease from our #1 health officials and to keep the public dumb and misinformed. But it does something else. It’s a ploy to intimidate leakers in the federal government, CDC and NIH from contradicting Trump’s so far horrifically dishonest and self-serving messaging about this growing public health emergency. It means they can be prosecuted under 18 U.S. Code § 798 for disclosing classified material and imprisoned for up to ten (10) years.
Unfortunately for Trump, and for all us, a virus can’t be cowed or silenced by his imperious orders. It will keep infecting and spreading, taking down the stock market and eventually the economy with it. The leading cause of it won’t just be the virulence of the disease. It will be a misinformed public not taking the precautions it must and a government refusing to act in good faith.
Trump’s failures with this public health emergency have stunned our allies, the UN and public health experts around the world. They are like his blunders throughout his long and sordid career: vain attempts to conceal his mediocrity and poor decision making with gaslighting, finger pointing and relentless, unabashed dishonesty.
As Election Day approaches, it’s shaping up to be Trump’s personal Chernobyl. It will be an election with a body count.
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