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Trump Sets Up 2020 Reelection Distraction Instead of Singular Focus on COVID-19 Response

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Blaming Immigrants and Foreigners Central to His Re-Election Narrative

President Trump is setting up a re-election narrative that will emphasize how his decisive actions against foreigners prevented Covid-19 from being even worse for Americans. He’ll tout that barring entry to travelers from China and his hardline policies at the southern border protected Americans and claim that he’s a tough guy that will keep Americans safe.

Like most everything with Donald Trump, it just isn’t true. His preferred re-election narrative is based on a pack of lies and is part of a transparent attempt to deflect attention away from his ongoing mismanagement of this pandemic. Witness:

  • 40,000 passengers have arrived in the U.S. from China since Trump announced a supposed travel ban: Regarding the ban on travelers from China, Trump recently claimed, “we were very early, but I also think that we were very smart, because we stopped China … That was probably the biggest decision we made so far,” and saying “We’re the ones that kept China out of here.” Yet as the New York Times reports, “Since Chinese officials disclosed the outbreak of a mysterious pneumonialike illness to international health officials on New Year’s Eve, at least 430,000 people have arrived in the United States on direct flights from China, including nearly 40,000 in the two months after President Trump imposed restrictions on such travel, according to an analysis of data collected in both countries.”
  • Trump and Stephen Miller use Covid-19 crisis to push long-sought anti-immigrant policies at the border: Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports, “President Trump has used emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic to implement the kind of strict enforcement regime at the U.S. southern border he has long wanted, suspending laws that protect minors and asylum seekers so that the U.S. government can immediately deport them or turn them away.” Keep in mind: while Trump and Stephen Miller advance their long-sought xenophobic policy goals under the guise of pandemic response, “Mexico has confirmed fewer than 1,500 positive cases of the virus so far, less than 1 percent of the number in the United States.” Meanwhile, they are pushing for $18 billion for border wall construction that could and should be used for Covid-19 response.

According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

Trump is prioritizing politics over the well-being of the American people. At a time when thousands are ill and dying, he is putting emphasis on his reelection divide and distract strategy that is built on the immigrant and foreigner blame game rather than having a singular focus on keeping Americans safe.

Trump’s claims that he acted decisively and made us safer by closing the southern border and stopping travel from China are simply not true. Trump wants to rewrite the narrative to make himself seem tough and deflect from his historic failure to prepare for and respond to this crisis. It’s all about appearances for Trump, but he isn’t tough; he is indecisive, weak and lashing out at the wrong target, immigrants and foreigners, rather than taking actions that would actually save American lives. Trump wants to congratulate himself for keeping foreigners out and relentlessly pursuing his sadistic policy agenda as part of a preferred 2020 storyline no matter the real facts: he downplayed the Covid-19 threat while playing golf; he failed to mobilize a testing and tracing regime that could have stopped tens of thousands of deaths; and he failed to federalize the production and distribution of masks, gowns, gloves, swabs and ventilators such that our healthcare workers and their patients face unnecessary death.

His priorities and his vision of ‘success’ at this moment are an indictment of his character and presidency.