“This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions.”
A group of economists and policy experts on Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to immediately lift the United States’ crippling sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries, warning that the economic warfare—in addition to being cruel in itself—is “feeding the coronavirus epidemic” by hampering nations’ capacity to respond.
“This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions to enable Iran and Venezuela to confront the epidemic as effectively and rapidly as possible,” Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs said in a statement just hours after the Trump administration intensified sanctions against Iran, which has been devastated by COVID-19.
“Economic sanctions, as the U.S. is applying against Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries, cause immense harm.”
—Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), said “there is no doubt that Iran’s capacity to respond to the novel coronavirus has been hampered by the Trump administration’s economic sanctions, and the death toll is likely much higher than it would have been as a result.”
Weisbrot warned that continued sanctions against Iran could have devastating consequences for other nations in the region as they work to stop the spread of the virus.
“There can… be no question that the sanctions have affected Iran’s ability to contain the outbreak,” said Weisbrot, “leading in turn to more infections, and possibly to the virus’ spread beyond Iran’s borders.”
“If the U.S. government is going to assist other countries, let alone provide some kind of leadership role during this global crisis, the first thing it should do is ’cause no harm,'” Weisbrot added. “Economic sanctions, as the U.S. is applying against Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries, cause immense harm.”
Why do Trump & co. have crippling sanctions on Iran, making sure that many more people die from coronovirus than otherwise would? Its collective punishment, this piece from Human Rights Watch shows what monsters Trump and Pompeo and gang are: https://t.co/aJcT8D2wP8 pic.twitter.com/xhdektCxab
— Mark Weisbrot (@MarkWeisbrot) March 19, 2020
Pressure on the U.S. to lift its international economic sanctions came as the official coronavirus death toll in Iran surpassed 1,100. Meanwhile, Venezuela remains on lockdown after dozens of people tested positive for the virus and Cuba confirmed its first cases of COVID-19 last week.
Economist Francisco Rodríguez, a leading expert on the Venezuelan economy, said that U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and other nations have severely hindered their ability to respond to the pandemic, which has infected nearly 220,000 people worldwide.
“This has dramatic consequences on the lives of their citizens and exacerbates a major global health risk,” said Rodríguez.
Stephen Colbert hilariously mocks Oklahoma governor ‘Stitt for brains’ for catching COVID-19 after ignoring masks
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) revealed Wednesday that he is positive for the coronavirus. It could have been the exposure he incurred at the Trump rally. Or it could have been all of those times he went out without a mask saying he was "social distancing." Either way, it was something "A Late Show" host Stephen Colbert found to be a hilarious example of schadenfreude.
"All the people in charge who told us the pandemic wasn't a big deal are looking big dumb right now like Oklahoma governor and chunky Dracula Kevin Stitt, cuz remember Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma full of unmasked open mouth screamers," said Colbert. "Lots of people called it a terrible idea, said it should be canceled. Not Governor Stitt."
The problem isn’t the campaign manager — it’s Trump: Republican analyst
Switching up the campaign manager four months before the election when the latest poll shows you 12 points down has nothing to do with the campaign's leadership, Republican analyst Amanda Carpenter explained on CNN Wednesday.
"The problem isn't that Donald Trump has a bad campaigner," said Carpenter in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon. "They're raising tons of money. They have a boatload of surrogates. The problem is that he has a bad presidency. And no one -- no one, no spin master, not Kellyanne Conway, not Brad Parscale can spin the most important number of this election, and that's -- at present, 137,000 dead and rising. And so what we need to see if Donald Trump wants to turn this around is to turn around his white house. And I have four words of advice: More Fauci, less Kayleigh."
Here’s what you need to know about Bill Stepien — the man who just took over Trump’s fledgling campaign
President Donald Trump announced that his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is being shoved out of his role given the failures the campaign has suffered over the past seven months.
In his place, for now, at least, will be Bill Stepien.
If that name sounds familiar, it may be because Stepien was part of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Bridgegate scandal, where, as punishment to Mayor Mark Sokolich, two of three toll lanes were closed during a Monday morning rush hour and weren't reopened until Friday.
The court case quoted Bill Stepien's name over 700 times, including an email in which he claimed, "It will be a tough November for this little Serbian." The mayor was born in Fort Lee, and his lineage isn't Serbian, it's actually Croatian.