If you were born in the 20th century then you already know the last four years of American history have felt like no other time in living memory. I say living memory, not history, because of course pandemics - and insurrections - have happened before.

If we learned anything from the pandemic it must have been this, that all human life hangs by the most precarious of threads and sometimes so does democracy.

In 2021 only science and learning have stood between us and unimaginable global collapse and so we should respect the brilliance of our medical researchers for making a human comeback possible at all. 

But we should also reflect on the catastrophic and incompetent response of the Trump administration to the growing pandemic, the greatest national security threat his administration faced. 

Beginning with the refusal of his White House to wear face masks or take the threat seriously, Trump was too slow to absorb the scale of the crisis that had arrived, with disastrous long term consequences for our national response. 

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As Trump dithered and dodged people were carrying the virus to every corner of the nation unimpeded. He went before the TV cameras to push absurd conspiracy theories and unworkable snake oil cures like the malaria treatment drug hydroxychloroquine. 

Where the virus came from is a subject of much debate of course, but it should never be confused with how the Trump administration responded to it once it appeared. Recall that Trump assured us for months that the virus would go away soon (in time for Easter Sunday he promised) and when the weather changed it would disappear. 

He also insisted a pandemic response was the job of state governments, not his administration. Other people could wear masks but he would not. We all saw how that worked out for him. 

We all saw how that worked out for America, too. There have been at least 33.4 million cases and 597 thousands deaths due to Covid 19, a provisional count that is nothing like the actual number of cases and deaths the nation has seen. 

So it seems, given the scale of the disaster and the administrations catastrophically incompetent response, that public hearings into the Trump health debacle are warranted. Between them and the lethal January 6 insurrection, there is a lot of material for investigators and historians to pick over in the hope of preventing a recurrence. 

We need to know the Trump White House convinced itself of its own Fox News like anti-science propaganda, because that led to their own cloth eared response to the threat, with fatal consequences for hundreds of thousands of Americans. 

We need to know why the short lived pandemic team that included Jared Kushner and Vice President Mike Pence was disbanded before it really began the task of fighting the pandemic in earnest. We need to know why Kushner cruelly dismissed the virus because “it only affects blue states” and received no push back for his utter callousness.

The head of the Trump administration's Covid-19 response team got his post by marrying Trump's daughter.

The head of the Trump administration's Covid-19 response team got his post by marrying Trump's daughter.

We need to recall that Trump's own disinterest in and contempt for the medical community and its far more sobering message about the danger the pandemic presented was seen by the former president as an attack on his presidency and himself. 

We also need to remember that November 3, 2020 the majority of Americas had seen enough, turning out in the highest numbers of the 21 century (and risking their own lives in a pre-vaccine nation) to vote him out of office.

Instead of receiving the help and guidance of the medical community, we now hear that Trump wanted to stage a show trial of Doctor Anthony Fauci in the manner of a developing world dictator, in an effort to shift blame and avoid the political consequences.

He had also planned to bill China for the virus, before securely ascertaining where or how it first appeared, for much the same reasons.

Remember too that almost all of Trump's missteps played out before the world on TV cameras, because TV is his lifeblood, so they are a part of the public record, not just hearsay. We need public Senate hearings to highlight Trump's mismanagement and prevent national security failures of this magnitude from ever happening again.

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