Ted Lieu: Donald Trump Guilty of ‘Reckless Homicide’ for Downplaying Coronavirus Threat

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) has accused President Donald Trump of “reckless homicide” for intentionally misleading the public about the severity of COVID-19, which has killed 191,000 Americans since March.

Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Reckless homicide “is the killing of another person by a reckless act. In some states, involuntary manslaughter committed by use of a motor vehicle is called reckless homicide. Laws governing reckless homicide vary by jurisdiction,” according to USLegal.

“In general, ‘recklessly’ means that a person acts recklessly with respect to circumstances surrounding the conduct or the result of the conduct when the person is aware of, but consciously disregards, a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur,” USLegal states. “The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the accused person’s standpoint.”

On Wednesday, more than 20 hours of conversations between Trump and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward were released ahead of Woodward’s latest book, Rage, that chronicles the calamatous Trump presidency through the president’s own words.

In the recordings, Trump tells 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.”

After the tapes were released, Lieu published a series of tweets in which he ripped the president for “derelection of duty on an epic scale.”

“Over 190,000 Americans have already died from #COVID19. MUCH OF THIS WAS PREVENTABLE. Many other world leaders successfully suppressed the virus. @realDonaldTrump did not. And he is still mocking mask wearing,” Lieu wrote Wednesday afternoon. “This is dereliction of duty by @POTUS on an epic scale. #TrumpKnew

A little while later, Lieu expanded on his condemnation of Trump’s callous indifference to human life, accusing him of “reckless homicide,” which at face value meets the criteria laid out above.

“This is the height of condescension. @realDonaldTrump didn’t trust Americans to act in our best interests if we knew the truth, so he lied to us. But it’s even worse. @POTUS took actions that he knew would result in many more deaths,” Lieu said. “Essentially reckless homicide. #TrumpKnew

Trump willingly took actions (or inactions, depending on how you view it) that has led to the slaughter of nearly 200,000 Americans.

“This is the height of condescension. @realDonaldTrump didn’t trust Americans to act in our best interests if we knew the truth, so he lied to us. But it’s even worse. @POTUS took actions that he knew would result in many more deaths. Essentially reckless homicide. #TrumpKnew

On Thursday, Lieu tore into Trump for attacking Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president, as talentless and politically inept, for Trump dismissing intelligence that the Kremlin paid bounties to the Taliban to kill American trooops, and the massive unemployment crisis triggered by the pandemic.

“-Over 190,000 Americans have died from #COVID19, which @realDonaldTrump knew was far worse than the flu. -Putin paid money to the Taliban to kill US troops,” Lieu tweeted. “-Millions of Americans continue to be unemployed. But the below is what @POTUS is focused on.”

Carl Bernstein, who shared the Pulitzer Prize with Woodward in 1973 for breaking the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency, similarly accused Trump of committing “the greatest presidential felony” and “homicidal negligence” on CNN Wednesday night:

This is one of the great presidential felonies of all time, maybe the greatest presidential felony and we have the smoking gun tape of the president committing the felony.

He added:

This is a kind of homicidal negligence – thousands and thousands and thousands of people have lost their lives because the president put his own reelection interests, as we hear in the tapes and see through Bob’s book, that he is putting his own narrow presidential reelection efforts in front of the safety, health, and wellbeing of the people of the United States.

Rage is set for public release on September 15.

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