By now you’re aware of the revelations made in Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage, based on 18 interviews with Donald Trump, and have probably heard the most damning excerpts from those interviews regarding COVID-19.
That Trump knew how deadly the virus was, and chose to lie about it, claim the virus would magically “disappear,” and that young people were “immune” to it, or that it was the Democrat’s new “hoax,” even as disease spread was filling hospitals to capacity and claiming lives, shouldn’t be a surprise. Anyone who can proudly boast about being able “…kill someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it,” or molest women with impunity, or call Nazis “…very fine people,” or cage children, among other acts too corrupt, depraved, and numerous to cite here, is showing an ethical emptiness that is bottomless. A person like that is capable of anything.
Trump had an obligation to warn the public about COVID-19, and be as clear as he could about those measures the public needed to take to contain it, as soon as he knew. He further had an obligation to test everyone, particularly when he learned that it was possible for asymptomatic carriers to spread the disease. And, he had an obligation to do whatever was necessary to protect healthcare and essential workers, and first responders with the equipment they needed. But he didn’t…
…and here we are, coming up on 200,000 dead, and over 6,000,000 people infected.
Is he to blame for these numbers? Yes. As the tapes demonstrate, he knew in early February, but lied to the public, and then continued to lie as he learned more.
There’s no circle of Hell low enough for him, for the deaths and misery he’s caused.
But then there’s Bob Woodward, who is still an Associate Editor at the Washington Post, and his decision to withhold vital information that could have saved lives.
It takes a colossal ego and staggering degree of greed to choose the allure of book sales over the public’s health and well-being, not just on the part of its author, but the queue of people who had their hands on this material prior to publication, and who never thought to say, “Shouldn’t the public know?”
And it takes a Trumpian moral bankruptcy to shirk one’s responsibility as a journalist, and withhold life-saving information from the public, simply because it furthers his ambitions.
I’m old enough to remember Woodward and Bernstein’s reporting that exposed Nixon’s crimes. And perhaps Woodward was also remembering it—the rush of glory and fame that came with ending a Presidential career, and was desperate to relive it by ending another. But there is a crucial distinction between that time and now. COVID-19 is not the Watergate break-in. People are dying, or facing a lifetime of debilitating medical conditions. With Trump intent on deceiving the public about the truth, Woodward, as a journalist, had a duty to report it.
What an irony that Woodward’s employer bears the subtitle, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
Democracy is not all that dies in darkness. Donald Trump may have flicked off the switch illuminating COVID-19 for the American public, but Bob Woodward stood there, and watched him flick it, and did nothing.
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