Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
When Sen. Elizabeth Warren was surging in the 2020 Democratic primary, Sen. Kamala Harris attacked her during one of the debates for not wanting to urge Twitter to suspend President Donald Trump's Twitter account. But one of the best arguments against suspending that account is that Trump's tweets give Democrats ammunition to use against him — and Never Trump conservative Tim Miller, in a new article for The Bulwark, argues that Democrats could doom Trump's campaign with tweets from earlier this year: one from Trump, the other from Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
Warren and Harris, of course, have dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary — which now consists of only two candidates: Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden. And Miller (who served as communications director to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush) asserts that Biden, assuming he is the nominee, could use screenshots of a Murphy tweet from February 5 and a Trump tweet from March 9 to make the case that Trump let his country down horribly during the coronavirus pandemic.
On February 5, both Murphy and Trump were well aware of intel warnings about the deadly potential of coronavirus — which, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, had killed more than 45,000 people worldwide as of early Wednesday afternoon, April 1. But that horrifying figure is low compared to the figures that Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx (two key members of Trump's coronavirus task force) have stressed this week. Even with aggressive social distancing measures, they warned that coronavirus could, in the weeks ahead, kill 100,000-240,000 people in the U.S. alone. Without social distancing, the death toll could be even worse.
Bearing those figures in mind, it is obvious that Murphy knew what he was talking about when, on February 5, he tweeted, "Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren't taking this seriously enough. Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now."
On March 9, Trump tweeted, "So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!"
When those tweets are presented side by side, Miller asserts, the message is clear: Democrats were trying to warn Americans about the destructive power of COVID-19, while Trump downplayed its severity.
"That's it. That's the Democrats' case for November," Miller argues.
Miller goes on to cite the types of arguments Trump will likely use against Biden and other Democrats but stresses that if Biden successfully pillories Trump with his response to coronavirus, he will increase his chances of winning in November.
Trump, Miller writes, will "demonize immigrants and run Facebook ads attacking the free healthcare Joe wants to give to the caravan of Wuhan Flu-infected Chinese ISIS members about to cross the border any minute now. But in the end, this will be a country decimated by a pandemic. Tens of thousands of Americans will be dead. International travel will be a distant memory. If we are incredibly lucky, we'll have an economy that is slowly rebounding, but there will still be millions of people suffering increased financial hardship."
Miller adds, "With pain and devastation at that scale, nothing else is going to break through. The election will hinge on one question: did Donald Trump do everything a president should have done to keep America safe from the pandemic?"
However, Miller acknowledges that despite those tweets, Trump could win reelection because of a "rally around the flag effect." Nonetheless, Miller believes that Biden has a good shot at victory if his campaign can successfully use Trump's response to coronavirus against him.
"The campaign battle lines have already been drawn," Miller asserts. "The case against Trump is this: bottom line, they aren't taking this seriously enough."