Economist Jeffrey Sachs unloaded on President Donald Trump for purposefully blocking measures that could alleviate suffering during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Columbia University professor appeared Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where he lamented that the president had abdicated his leadership during the public health crisis that has already cost more than 86,000 American lives.
“It’s hard with the death of the federal government,” Sachs said. “We have turned everything over to local action in a country where people move around, where the infections spread, where state and local governments don’t have [Centers for Disease Control], so we really have the death of the federal government right now.”
Sachs blasted the president for making thing worse by whipping up fear and division, instead of rallying Americans behind a common cause.
“As a president, we basically, the only analogy I can think of is if Joe McCarthy from the McCarthy era had become president,” Sachs said. “This man in his venom and paranoia makes claims, waves papers, says ‘worst crimes.’ He’s such a despicable human being, but he’s actually blocking the capacity for national action.”
Governors and mayors are left to handle the crisis on their own instead of relying on the president’s leadership, he said.
“What I would say to governors and mayors is, you’ve got to trace every case, every day,” Sachs said. People who are confirmed should be called. Are they safe at home or do they need to be moved to quarantine? The number of mistakes, by the way, being made at the state and local level is also shocking. Putting infected people from hospitals into nursing homes in my own state, it makes you cry because thousands of people are dying unnecessarily.”
“We’re so unequipped, and we have this vulgar fool who is blocking all the action at the national level,” he added. “We can’t really do this without a national government. Trump has to stand aside and let there be a serious response so that this country doesn’t have a great depression and this calamitous death toll. They go together. There’s no economic health trade-off. That’s the biggest lie. Unless this epidemic is controlled, our economy will stay in depression.”