Writing in The Atlantic this Monday, David Frum contends that while the first peak in coronavirus cases this April was due to Trump’s negligence, but now that on June 24 the number of infections surpassed the April 24 peak, it can no longer be blamed on simple negligence. This time it’s his own doing. “This is Trump’s plague now,” Frum writes.
“The city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been enforcing social-distancing rules, and for good reason,” he writes. “From June 1 to June 15, new COVID-19 cases in the state jumped from 67 in a day to 186. In advance of Trump’s rally in Tulsa on June 20, city employees affixed do not sit here please stickers to every other seat in the stadium venue. Trump campaign workers were captured on video removing the stickers so that Trump could cram attendees closer together. On June 26, Oklahoma reported 396 new infections in a single day.”
While there’s more than one factor involved in the resurgence of the virus, “Trump’s elevation of the needs of his own ego over the well-being of even his strongest supporters is profoundly implicated in the virus’s powerful June comeback.”
As Frum points out, from mid- to late April, the trajectory of cases in states such as Georgia, Florida, and Texas was relatively flat, not down, but Trump went ahead and cheered for states to reopen anyway — a line that was endorsed by his favorite media outlet, Fox News.
“Early reopening could only have worked if stringent safety measures, including the use of face masks and social distancing, were incorporated,” writes Frum. “Yet the president sabotaged the reopening he himself had forced. Throughout his presidency, Trump has subordinated rational policy in order to provoke virulent culture wars. And the mask has become a rallying symbol for his supporters.”
Read the full op-ed over at The Atlantic.