Donald Trump is getting impatient.
Less than a week after the president appeared to change his tune about the seriousness of COVID-19 in the United States, Trump tweeted this:
WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
Trump’s tweet echoed pundit Steve Wilson’s monologue on Fox News earlier Sunday evening. Hilton argued that fighting Covid-19 through social distancing isn’t worth the potential economic ramifications. Trump continued the sentiment Monday, “retweeting several accounts that proposed Americans return to work in the near future.” And a number of conservative pundits and media organizations offered up different versions of the same argument.
What does one call the “guess some people gotta die” stage of capitalism? pic.twitter.com/ZmufExsfGz
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) March 23, 2020
good morning pic.twitter.com/mbNweZeohW
— Christian Vanderbrouk (@UrbanAchievr) March 23, 2020
It’s likely no coincidence that conservative rhetoric shifted after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed relief bill—which included a secret $500 billion slush fund for corporations—failed miserably on the Senate floor. As several Senate Republicans quarantine and Democrats hold the line, it’s evident McConnell won’t be able to push through legislation without dropping corporate aid and addressing the needs of regular Americans.
They are absolutely going to try to force everyone to go back to work before they ever consider meaningful & substantive assistance to help people.
They are perfectly willing to let people suffer & die if it means the crushing gears of capitalism can continue to churn. https://t.co/l6mOQWzhkM
— jordan (@JordanUhl) March 23, 2020
The argument that American life simply “return to normal” after two weeks is beyond irresponsible. Health experts from the CDC, NIH, and across the globe have repeatedly explained that relaxing social distancing will only further the spread of COVID-19 just as healthcare systems in American cities are set to be overwhelmed by critical cases. Returning to work in two weeks could potentially extend the pandemic by months and increase the death toll by several hundred thousand. Easing social distancing measures to open things back up will also disproportionately infect average workers, not the white collar pundits or politicians who propose it.
Worried about unemployment and markets, Trump is increasingly inclined to consider reopening economy after 15 days. Inside the roaring White House debate that includes GOP senators, public health experts, top administration officials and outside allies: https://t.co/4emoIjahjD
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) March 23, 2020
But Trump simply doesn’t care about those numbers, or about getting relief to working-class Americans. The only figures he’s focused on are plummeting stock market futures and the coming surge of unemployment filings which threaten to send us into a full-scale economic depression.
The COVID-19 pandemic is laying bare the core philosophies of both conservatism and capitalism—that profits matter more than people. Trump would gladly trade a million or more American lives if it meant retaining any semblance of his former economy—and Congressional Republicans are right along with him.