Of all the extraordinary headlines competing for attention this week — the excruciating video and verbal evidence being presented in the trial of George Floyd’s murderer, the amazing gains in the Covid-19 vaccine mobilization, new GOP voter suppression efforts nationwide, moves to end the filibuster in Congress, the impact of President Biden’s American Recovery Act and new $3 trillion infrastructure plan that he rolled out just yesterday in Pittsburgh — the item that cut to the quick most for me was the confession of former Trump “coronavirus response coordinator” Dr. Deborah Birx in an exclusive CNN interview that will air this weekend.
According to a CNN release in advance of the documentary, that first airs this Sunday night at 9 p.m. EDT, “Birx saw it (the response to the pandemic) most starkly, stating that the vast majority of America’s deaths could have been prevented, a painful interpretation of the last year for a nation still trying to come to terms with the ongoing loss of (over 550,000 to date) lives.”
CNN’s advance release of a video clip of Birx’s remarks showed her saying that the first 100,000 deaths from Covid-19, when it first began ravaging the nation a year ago, were probably unavoidable because no one was prepared for the first surge. After that, she said, mitigation efforts could have prevented most of the rest of the deaths.
In Birx’s words, “I look at it this way. The first time we have an excuse,” Birx says. “There were about a hundred thousand deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.”
She was saying that 450,000 deaths of American citizens were preventable.
Is everyone too emotionally numb by now to process what this means?
President Trump’s crimes are considered mostly in terms of financial misdeeds and, of course, a gross attempt to undermine America’s democratic institutions. He also turned lying into an acceptable behavior for politicians, and went overboard trying to discredit the role of a legitimate free press. Oh yes, and he is also accused of being a Russian agent, the agent of a hostile foreign power operating right in the White House at the highest level.
But no one has accused him of the mass murder of American citizens. So far.
The fact is, however, the blame for the 450,000 preventable deaths that Birx attested to has to go right to the top, right to Trump himself, and his dissembling and his misguidance of the American people.
We all saw him engage in overt attempts to treat the whole pandemic as a political attack on him personally. He made no secret of his desire to want to limit testing, for example, because the more tests the more positive results and that would make him look bad.
Then, he dwelled for months on a totally bogus solution, the use of the agent, hydroxychloroquine, which was proven to be of no benefit, whatsoever, and then, last April, he came into the press briefing room to tout the ingestion of bleach and other common disinfectants, which led to some deaths.
More sadly, later that same day, Birx was quoted on Fox News defending Trump by saying his remarks were “not sarcasm, but as part of a deliberate, if unorthodox, thought process,” according to the Washington Post. “When he gets new information he likes to talk that through out loud and really have that dialogue, and so that’s what dialogue he was having,” Birx said on Fox News Channel, as reported by the Post.
So one cannot exonerate Birx or other Trump officials. It is good that there is a formal Justice Department investigation now getting underway into attempts by government officials to impose partisan political demands over scientific data in the highest circles in the past year that could result in criminal charges.
Still, the bottom line is that 450,000 deaths of Americans is a stunning earth-shattering figure, especially when a top health expert engaged in the process says almost all of them could have been avoided.
Trump is guilty of mass murder because he had access to knowing better.
Nicholas Benton may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.