Donald Trump is too busy insulting his critics to notice that he is not the story, the suffering American people are.
24,648 of our fellow New Yorker's have died of the coronavirus in the last two months, a staggering death toll by any metric
Over 68,505 Americans, more than all the soldiers killed in action in Vietnam and Korea, have passed from the virus. Over 1,154,340 (tested) Americans are now infected with it, but the actual transmissions numbers are likely to be many millions more.
It's incredible then, given the scope of this still-unfolding tragedy, which the Trump administration did almost nothing to prevent, that his nepotistic nephew Jared Kushner had the gall last week to speak of their response as a “success story.”
Success story? If ensuring America has at least five times the number of coronavirus cases of the second hardest-hit nation on earth, then I suppose you could call it that.
Reflect for a moment on how just one death can change a family. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands can be altered by a sudden passing. But 68,505 deaths in just two months? The mind blanks at the scale of all that national anguish, the grief, the completely unspeakable heartbreak.
Why does the richest country in the world, that spends the most on healthcare in the world, have by far the highest COVID-19 infections and deaths in the world?— John Oberlin (@OMGno2trump) May 4, 2020
You might think, given the scale of all that private suffering, that Trump would take ample time to express his condolences to the bereaved. As a former New Yorker himself, you would also think he would have real compassion and sympathy for the hardest-hit city and state in the nation.
He only has contempt, however. Today he taunted both the city and senator Chuck Schumer for not receiving more federal aid. They had failed to pay him ample tribute and their reward was what it always is, kindergarten invective and rage Tweeting instead of help.
NY's Covid death toll is 8X that of 9/11 & Trump is taunting them for not getting more federal aid. https://t.co/JXpDPPNl6R— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) May 1, 2020
Consider if George W. Bush or Barack Obama had sent their insults instead of federal aid to New York during 9/11 or Superstorm Sandy? What would the reaction have been?
This week, like last week and every week since this horror began, celebrities and local Irish community workers have been running Go-Fund me like operations to provide our health care workers with the personal protective equipment that they need to keep themselves safe from infection and transmission whilst on duty.
They are performing the federal government's role in the absence of leadership from the federal government. They are running whip rounds and pursuing handouts from strangers in the richest nation on earth.
And what of the dead? Trump is refusing to authorize FEMA to release relief funding. Families who cannot afford to bury their dead are being denied the funding for it.
Even the families of the medical staff who have died taking care of Covid-19 patients have been denied all help.
In Brooklyn this week fifty rapidly decomposing bodies were found on ice on four trucks, including rental trucks from U-Haul, outside a neighborhood funeral home. The owner told the press they were simply overrun with “bodies coming out of our ears.”
Gravediggers here are putting in fifteen-hour days, trying to keep up. But they simply can't keep up with the unprecedented numbers of the dead.
Families do not get to say goodbye to their loved ones in the hospital, then they often can't gather to attend their burials. This cruel virus seems to miss no opportunity to deepen the intolerable wounds that it inflicts. Nor does Trump ever seems to miss an opportunity to rub salt in those wounds himself.
The government easily could step in to help pay the funeral costs of all the dead in this time of national crisis, but Trump refuses to authorize it. He's too busy bitterly insulting his critics on Twitter to notice that he is not the story, the suffering American people are.
This morning Trump has tweeted about James Comey, Michael Flynn, Roger Stone and Brian Williams. He has not tweeted about the over 61,000 Americans that have lost their lives.— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) April 30, 2020
After Hurricane Katrina and after Superstorm Sandy under Bush and Obama they both stepped in. “It's the least we can do, to help families bury their loved ones in the most impacted communities in America,” said Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last week, referring to federal aid for burial costs to assist the bereaved. Her words went unheeded in the White House, however.
Given his lead role in the disastrous response that has led us all to this moment, you might think Trump would work to respond positively and quickly, particularly when the budget requested to offset burial costs would be a mere percentage of the funds he recently authorized (Trump could even sign the executive order himself).
But he did not and he will not.
Thirty million Americans unemployed, 1 million infected with coronavirus and 67,000 dead, and this is what you're tweeting in the middle of our worst pandemic in modern history? pic.twitter.com/b5MZlt4CvQ— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) May 2, 2020
Along with the dead and the grief of the bereaved, there is the despair of the 30 million workers have found themselves (thanks to Trump's utter recklessness and refusal to prepare or to treat this pandemic as anything other than a “Democratic hoax”) unceremoniously dropped from the payrolls.
Meanwhile, Trump has nothing to offer any of us except the same self-congratulatory showboating of his son-in-law Kushner. He never did and he never will. This crisis has exposed who Trump really is and there's no cure for that either.