President Donald Trump’ brazen indifference to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic “is the greatest dereliction of duty in the history of the U.S. presidency,” Allan Lichtman, a professor of history at American University, told CTV News Channel on Thursday.
Recordings between Trump and Bob Woodward, that will be featured in his upcoming book, Rage, were released on Wednesday, and have caused a firestorm.
Trump told Woodward that the coronavirus is “more deadly than even your strenuous flus” and “scary stuff,” despite declaring publicly that the virus was “going to disappear” and things will “all work out fine.” They have not.
On March 19, shortly after declaring a national emergency, Trump confessed to Woodward “I wanted to always play it down,” and that “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
“Donald Trump thinks he’s smarter than everyone, he thinks he’s more cunning than everyone,” said Lichtman, a Democrat.
Lichtman said that Trump’s only priority is his own reelection and Trump’s “alternative reality has killed hundreds of thousands,” and there was, as Trump predicted, no panic.
“What is Trump’s whole campaign based on? Causing panic,” Lichtman said. “‘Elect Joe Biden and your streets are going to burn. The criminals will be attacking your houses. The suburbs will be abolished.’ This is a guy who’s worried about causing panic? Come on. How could you possibly believe that?”
Similar denouncements were made by Carl Bernstein, who shared the Pulitzer Prize with Woodward in 1973 for breaking the Watergate Scandal and helped end Richard Nixon’s presidency. Bernstein accused Trump of “homicidal negligence.”
Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) lobbed the same damning allegation at Trump this week, tweeting that Trump’s actions meet the “reckless homicide” statute.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.