The coronavirus death toll surpassed the 100,000 mark Wednesday afternoon, leading to an immediate flood of statements from politicians of all stripes issuing condolences to those who have lost loved ones in the pandemic.
Rather than immediately marking the moment, however, Donald Trump instead spent the next 17 hours angrily tweeting nearly 50 times about the Russia investigation that ended more than a year ago, as well as vowing to retaliate against social media companies that attempt to fact-check his lies before finally tweeting a message about the dead.
"We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000," Trump tweeted at 9:37 a.m. Thursday morning. "To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!"
Shortly after the death toll reached the 100,000 mark, Trump tweeted a video from right-wing Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, in which Dobbs called Trump the "greatest president in our history."
"Thank you," Trump tweeted, along with a video of Dobbs' comment.
- Tweeted a veto threat.
- Attacked social media companies by falsely saying they were censoring him.
- Celebrated a Texas Supreme Court decision to limit who can vote by mail in the 2020 election.
- Retweeted praise of conservative talk radio show host Rush Limbaugh, who has made racist, sexist, and offensive comments for years.
- Once again mocked presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden for following the Trump administration's recommendation to wear a mask in public spaces when unable to social distance.
Biden, who lost two children and his first wife to tragedies, released a video Wednesday evening, shortly after the death toll climbed past 100,000.
"There are moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they're forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief," Biden said in the video. "Today is one of those moments."
Biden went on to offer his condolences, and talked about how he has coped with grief.
"I know there's nothing I or anyone else can do to dull the sharpness of the pain you feel right now, but I can promise you from experience, the day will come when the memory of your loved one will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes," Biden said.
Other Democratic lawmakers also made statements soon after the milestone was reached.
"100,000 Americans are gone. They were our brothers and sisters. Our friends and neighbors. They were more than a number. They were people we loved," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who lost her brother to the coronavirus, tweeted. "And too many of them could have been saved if our federal government had just done more."
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) tweeted, "Learning that our nation has now lost 100,000 lives to #COVID19 is a moment I will never forget. I'm holding each family and friend who have lost a loved one in my heart. Together, let us honor their memory and never forget this tragic loss."
It wasn't just Democrats marking the somber moment.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, tweeted Wednesday evening, "As the death toll of lives lost to #COVID19 tragically reached 100,000 Americans today, I joined @SenBrianSchatz, Sen. @MarshaBlackburn, & Sen. @ChrisCoons in leading a bill to pay tribute to the victims of this pandemic with a moment of silence at 12pm on Monday, June 1, 2020."
"Our nation has been hit hard by the #coronavirus and today we passed a sad milestone of 100,000 deaths. I'm convinced that if we had not engaged in aggressive mitigation practices the number would be much greater," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, normally a staunch Trump ally, tweeted Wednesday night, referring to the social distancing and lockdown measures many states implemented earlier this year.
"The sacrifices we made as a nation has saved lives. To those who have lost a loved one, may God provide you comfort."
Trump has long refused to take responsibility for his administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more people than all United States military conflicts over the past 44 years, according to the BBC. Experts said that Trump wasted valuable time in responding to the pandemic, and that, had he acted sooner rather than downplay the virus, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved.
It's unclear whether Trump will say anything more about the milestone on Thursday, as his public calendar does not include any events dedicated to the coronavirus victims.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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