I’m trying to find a word that would best describe Trump’s withholding of vital information on the deadliness of the Covid-19 virus. But before I get to that, let’s look at some of his statements:
27 February 2020 (CNN) “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear. And from our shores, we — you know, it could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows.”
10 March 2020 (CNN) “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
19 March 2020 (in recorded interview by Bob Woodward): “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic” “Now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob. But just today, and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older,” …”young people, too, plenty of young people.”
30 March 2020 (CNN) “Stay calm. It will go away. You know it — you know it is going away, and it will go away. And we’re going to have a great victory.”
Fact: As of 30 March 2021, 552,000 Americans have died of the Covid-19 virus.
Can you appreciate the irony that the most untruthful president in our history decided, on his own, that Americans could not be trusted with the truth?
But it gets worse. Not only did he downplay the severity of the threat, he exacerbated the problem in showing by example that defenses like mask-wearing and social distancing were unnecessary. Further, anyone in his administration contradicting him would jeopardize their jobs.
Consider the math of virus spread. A linear progression is one that increases at a constant rate, like 1,2,3,4,5, whereas an exponential progression is one that increases at an ever-increasing rate, like 1,2,4,8,16. A virus such as Covid-19 spreads, or can spread given the opportunity, at an exponential rate. Thus, the best time to arrest the rate of spread is as early as possible. This is the most critical time when people need to hear the truth, and this is the time when our president utterly failed us.
How many people could have been saved if our leader had given us credit for intelligence? There’s no way of knowing, but I think any reasonable person can see that it would be a very large number.
How can I characterize the subterfuge that resulted in so many unnecessary deaths?
It’s not homicide because homicide does not have to involve multiple killings.
It’s not genocide, because his killings were not intentional.
Could it be manslaughter, the killing of one or more people without malice aforethought? Perhaps, but if so, what type? It’s not voluntary manslaughter, where the killer is momentarily mentally disturbed; Trump is mentally disturbed all the time. It’s not strictly involuntary manslaughter, where the killings are unintentional. Could it be criminal negligence, allowing killing by willful omission of acting to prevent it? That seems close, but doesn’t exactly fit.
I believe we need a new word for Trump’s actions. It must combine the magnitude of killing with the idiocy behind it. I thought stupogenocide had too many syllables, so I’ll just call it his commission of stupicide.
I am not trying to be funny. I am deadly serious. Of all the presidents I have seen in my 82 years, Trump was the most harmful to our people, our democracy, and (in regard to climate change), our planet.
I hope for accountability in the future.
Bob Moores retired from Black & Decker/DeWalt in 1999 after 36 years. He was the Director of Cordless Product Development at the time. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University.