A furious denunciation of America’s coronavirus criminals
Hundreds of thousands of deaths were caused not by the vicissitudes of nature but by the callous and opportunistic decisions of powerful people, as revealed here by John Nichols in Coronavirus Criminals and Pandemic Profiteers.
On March 10, 2020, president Donald Trump told a nation worried about a novel coronavirus, “We’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” It has since been estimated that had Trump simply taken the same steps as other G7 countries, 40 percent fewer Americans would have died.
And it was not just the president. His inner circle, including Mike Pence and Jared Kushner, downplayed the crisis and mishandled the response. Cabinet members such as Betsy DeVos and Mike Pompeo undermined public safety at home and abroad to advance their agendas. Senators Ron Johnson and Mitch McConnell, governors Kristi Noem and Andrew Cuomo, judges such as Wisconsin Supreme Court justice Rebecca Bradley all promulgated public policies that led to suffering and death. Meanwhile, profiteer Pfizer (and anti-government propagandists such as Grover Norquist) fed at the public trough, while the billionaire Jeff Bezos added pandemic profits to a grotesquely bloated fortune.
John Nichols closes with a call for a version of the Pecora Commission, which took aim at what Franklin Delano Roosevelt called the “speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, and profiteering” that stoked the Depression. There must be accountability.
John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation as its national-affairs correspondent. Nichols is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and dozens of other newspapers.
He is the author of several books, including The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party, The Genius of Impeachment, The "S" Word, Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, Jews for Buchanan, and Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President.
John Nichols photo courtesy of the author