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Former President Trump delivers remarks during a coronavirus update briefing.

Photo by The White House is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Trump's deliberate failure to protect the American public from the Covid-19 pandemic led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths — nearly half a million fatalities, according to a new study that's being ignored by the news media. It's the same press corps that's been demanding Trump receive more Covid "credit."

If Trump had shown leadership and used his bully pulpit to advocate Americans wear a mask, if he had issued a national mask mandate, had strenuously urged people to social distance themselves, hadn't demanded the U.S. economy "re-open" too soon, and if he had overseen a robust national testing program, America would be a stronger country today, the news study confirms.

The U.S. Covid death toll, which is expected to plateau at 670,000 at the pandemic's conclusion, would have topped out at less than 300,000 if we'd had coherent leadership, according to estimates from Andrew Atkeson, economics professor at University of California, Los Angeles. The new findings came from a study released last week at a conference sponsored by the Brookings Institute, the well-respected public policy think tank.

Atkeson's study did not mention Trump by name, but the ramifications surrounding the Republican's deliberate Covid sabotage remain inescapable. Fact: Trump spread more deliberate lies about Covid to a larger audience than anyone else on the planet, according to a study from Cornell University. "When it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away," he once predicted.

It's not just that Trump refused to provide national leadership in a time of crisis. He actively and purposely made everything worse, starting 12 months ago when he downplayed the risks by making misleading and false proclamations. ("Anybody who wants a test will get a test.") Trump actively contradicted established science and willfully endangered Americans. He virtually silenced the government's public health experts, while accusing hospital workers of stealing pandemic medical supplies, and lying to governors about national testing shortages.

From the moment he gave the stand down order for the virus invasion, to recklessly touting a miracle cure, through the embarrassing vaccine rollout, Trump's carelessness cost lives. At his daily pandemic briefings, Trump lied nonstop, unfurling a multitude of falsehoods about the virus, the government's response, and his own previous comments on the crisis.

That directly led to hundreds of thousands of American deaths, yet we never saw a parade of "Trump Lies about Pandemic" headlines, as the press remained intimidated by the GOP madman.

The new Brookings conference study, which estimates 400,000 Americans died unnecessarily on Trump's watch, has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media since its release several days ago. Reuters has been among the very few national outlets to give the findings any coverage. (Former White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx made news recently when she said U.S. Covid deaths could have been "decreased" after the first 100,000 fatalities, but Birx news coverage ignored the Atkeson findings.)

Note that the disturbing new Covid study comes in the wake of the Beltway media's bizarre, public push in recent weeks to get President Joe Biden to "credit" Trump for all the hard work he did on Covid, and specifically on the vaccination rollout. An annoyed ABC News announced that, "Despite calls for national unity and bipartisanship, President Joe Biden and his top aides have declined to give the Trump administration credit on the nation's COVID-19 vaccine rollout." The Washington Post insisted Biden's vaccine success was simply built "on the Trump team's work."

Under Trump, the U.S. vaccine rollout was seen as a national embarrassment. Under Biden, it's become a model for the world, with possibly 200 million shots being administered by the time of Biden's 100th day in office.

Instead of trying to make sure Trump gets his due for something he doesn't deserve, the D.C. press ought to be documenting his criminal negligence and the stunning indifference he showed to human suffering all through 2020.

Why were news consumers recently fed two weeks of Beltway news coverage about the fact Biden's first formal press conference was slightly late coming, yet there's been almost no coverage of how Trump's deliberate neglect led to nearly half-a-million deaths? How can that chasm of coverage inequity possibly be explained or reconciled?

Is it possible the press doesn't want to accurately label Trump a stone-cold Covid killer because they're anxious for his return to the political stage? If so, it's in their interest to portray him as a mainstream political player, not somebody who consciously turned his back on the country while a year-long public health crisis spun out of control.

All through the pandemic, the political press remained reluctant to address the bigger, darker questions about Trump and why an American president seemed willing to watch the country crumble and decay on his watch — why a president would wage war on his own people the way Trump did. The press preferred to explain the staggering Trump failures as him being "distracted," or not fully engaged in the once-in-a-century crisis.

We now know the staggering toll for his neglect — 400,000 dead Americans. That's more than perished in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, combined. The press can't keep looking away from Trump's criminality.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Photo by The White House

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