Rashid: It’s Like a Super Villain’s Plan, Except Real.

A member of medical staff holds a phial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine jab at Guy's Hospital at the start of the largest ever immunisation programme in the UK's history on December 8, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Victoria Jones - Pool / Getty Images)

By Qasim Rashid

December 21, 2020

Will we ever hold people responsible for how they handled the COVID-19 pandemic?

Will those who enabled the COVID-19 atrocity in the United States ever face accountability?

To date over 300,000 Americans have died, over 100,000 businesses have permanently shuttered, and over 17 million Americans have been infected. Well over a month after he’d been briefed on the seriousness of this virus, and even after he told Bob Woodward that this virus was “vicious stuff,” Donald Trump lied to the American people on February 26, downplaying its lethality.

“You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero,” he said. That propaganda campaign has now culminated in what PolitiFact calls the “Lie of the Year,” reporting:

President Donald J. Trump fueled confusion and conspiracies from the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic. He embraced theories that COVID-19 accounted for only a small fraction of the thousands upon thousands of deaths. He undermined public health guidance for wearing masks and cast Dr. Anthony Fauci as an unreliable flip-flopper

But, as PolitiFact also reports, Trump wasn’t alone in his propaganda campaign. His repeated insistence that it would “magically disappear” was amplified by right wing media and sycophants in the White House and Congress.

Appearing on Fox on February 25, Kayleigh McEnany boasted, “This president will always put America first, he will always protect American citizens. We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here, we will not see terrorism, and isn’t that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of Barack Obama?”

The reality was the exact opposite of this meritless claim.

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Politico just released a report that showed a top Trump appointee argued that “We want them infected.” “Them” referring to Americans and “infected” referring to COVID19, on the debunked “herd immunity” theory. This is like a super villain’s evil plan from a Bond movie—except it’s a real life atrocity against Americans. And it isn’t the first time the government has deliberately infected Americans.

The Vice President himself Mike Pence, in a June 16 OpEd in the Wall Street Journal lied that “There isn’t a Coronavirus second wave,” and blamed media hysteria. At the time of publication, 122,000 Americans had died of COVID19. That number is now well over 300,000 deaths and spiking.

Rather than warn Americans of the COVID-19 pandemic, Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler allegedly capitalized on insider information and bought and sold millions of worth of stock to better position themselves for the impending economic collapse post lockdown. Virginia Congressman Rob Wittman learned of the pandemic and bought himself pharmaceutical stock in COVID19 treatment, then repeatedly lied to Virginians that the virus was “low risk and not spreading.”

And now, these same politicians who once demanded President Obama resign because 2 Americans died of Ebola, instead sign on to a destructive lawsuit before SCOTUS to undermine our democracy and overturn the Presidential Election. Fortunately, the Supreme Court rejected their demands 9-0.

I cannot fathom the pain that millions of Americans are experiencing at the loss of a loved one due to this preventable atrocity. Several nations have eradicated the virus through sound leadership, mass testing and contact tracing, social distancing, and mask mandates. The Trump administration has adopted none of these policies. The Constitution affords Americans a right to justice against injustice by Americans or by the government. 

Which brings us back to the original question. What accountability should there be for those who have not only stood by, but actively profited off of and misrepresented a pandemic that has taken 300,000 lives, and counting? If we are a nation of equal justice, then those who enabled such atrocities need to face consequences at the ballot box, through media accountability, and through every legal measure the Constitution permits.

Anything short of that is quite simply un-American. 

Qasim Rashid is an attorney, author, and former candidate for US Congress. He resides in Stafford, VA. Follow him on Twitter @QasimRashid.

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