Donald Trump Doesn’t Care If People Die

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.