The President’s Damned Lies Are Killing Us

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President Donald Trump walks to the White House residence after exiting Marine One. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

The electronic billboard along the highway between Flint and Saginaw in the 2020 election battleground state of Michigan recorded the ominous total of 150,000 Covid-19 deaths last week. This week it ticked past 155,000 and it is headed toward 160,000. Soon it will pass 170,000. Then 180,000. Then 190,000. Then we will pause, for a moment, to note that 200,000 of our fellow Americans have died because of a public health crisis for which—the billboard erected by the group Mad Dog Pac reminds us—the president says, “I don’t take responsibility.”
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If you have chosen to believe that the president is an idiot, you may imagine that he can get away with absolving himself of responsibility for the constant mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic that swept the country in March, seemed briefly to have been controlled by the urgent efforts of responsible governors, and then surged anew as Trump urged on a “reopening” strategy that history will recount as fatally flawed.

If, on the other hand, you recognize the reality that Donald Trump is a calculating egomaniac who cares about nothing save his own political success, then it is necessary to accept that the president is lying to the country that will vote on November 3. And that those lies are killing astronomical numbers of the people he has sworn to protect and serve by faithfully executing the duties of the Office of President of the United States.

Trump has never obeyed that oath, and he will continue not to obey that oath, even in an election year when, polls tell us, he is in political peril.

He will keep lying. And people will keep dying until he is removed from office in an election that, thankfully, he cannot delay.

He is already outlining the lies that he will tell as Election Day approaches.

It was a desperate Donald Trump who sat down July 28 with Jonathan Swan, the Australian political journalist who now works with Axios.

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And in his desperation, the president told all the lies that he will repeat and amplify as the election approaches. Most Americans are familiar with the line, popularized by Mark Twain, about how, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

In the 35 minute interview with Swan, Trump feverishly peddled all three.

He sought to diminish the memory of Representative John Lewis—refusing to even say whether he found the late congressman’s record of civil rights activism and congressional service “impressive”—and again claimed that “nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have.” He brushed aside New York Times reporting on how US intelligence agencies had concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit had offered payments for killing US troops in Afghanistan as “fake news.” He continued to rant and rave about “corruption having to do with universal, mail-in voting” and suggested that taking necessary steps to prepare for a safe and fair vote this fall could result in chaos where “this election won’t be decided on the evening of November 3.”

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