Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. has reopened the school’s campus in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, according to a report from the New York Times, “nearly a dozen” students at the evangelical school have developed symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 as of this Friday, with at least one student testing positive for the virus.
Falwell, an avid Trump supporter, has consistently downplayed the severity of the pandemic, even insisting at one point that attempts to control its spread are nothing more than a plot to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency. Writing in the Washington Post this Monday, Michael Gerson contends Falwell Jr’s response to the crisis “indicates the staggering level of ignorance” that informs his leadership skills, as evidenced by the “constant churn of mixed messages that Falwell has contributed to our national debate.”
“Who is Falwell serving instead of students, parents, staff, his board and the Lynchburg, Va., community?” Gerson writes. “Let’s see. Falwell has contempt for the weak. He is dismissive of experts. He traffics in conspiracy theories. He attacks his critics with infantile putdowns and demeaning names. And he refuses to admit when he is dangerously wrong.”
“Falwell has laid down the cross to follow Trump,” he concludes.
Read Gerson’s full op-ed over at The Washington Post.