On Jan. 24, 2017 — less than a week after President Donald Trump took office —– I wrote a blog post that described him in one word: psychopath. I expanded on that assessment after Trump announced in April of this year that the United States would suspend its financial support to the World Health Organization in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now more than 210,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19-related causes and almost 1,000 people are dying each day. Tens of thousands of new cases are being reported across the U.S. each day. President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and scores of White House staff personnel and national politicians have suffered coronavirus infection after attending White House events where guests disregarded medical guidelines about social distancing and wearing face masks. President Trump was hospitalized for three days due to serious COVID-19 symptoms.
Despite that history, Trump and his sympathizers continue to issue dissembling statements about the dangers facing people in the U.S. due to Trump’s dishonesty and incompetence surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The dissembling was on full display during the Oct. 7 televised debate between Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris.
During that debate, moderator Susan Page asked Pence why the coronavirus infection and death rates in the U.S. are so much worse than suffered by other industrialized nations. Pence replied that the Trump administration trusts Americans to decide how best to protect themselves rather than impose governmental measures.
That reply was dishonest.
Pence heads the task force that is responsible for overseeing the national response to the coronavirus threat. The national response cannot depend on unguided, separate decision-making by more than 300 million U.S. residents.
Trump’s dishonesty and incompetence failed to protect himself, his wife, White House staff and untraced other people from the worst viral infection in a hundred years. His sociopathic narcissism has been on full display. When you and I believe we have been exposed to people who tested positive for coronavirus, we self-isolate. When people test positive for coronavirus, they self-quarantine.
Trump refused to remain in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus and requiring hospitalization. Pence refused to self-isolate after being exposed to Trump. Members of their families have refused to wear face masks. After the Presidential Debate Commission announced that the Oct. 15 debate between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden would be a virtual event, Trump refused to participate in it. He would rather expose others to the risk of contracting a deadly infection than follow sound medical guidelines about remaining in quarantine and protecting public health.
“Loving people do not deliberately expose their neighbors to the risk of lethal infectious disease.”
Plainly, Trump’s behavior does not square with the divine mandate to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Loving people do not deliberately expose their neighbors to the risk of lethal infectious disease. Loving people do not lie about whether they are infected with a lethal infectious disease. Loving people do not lie about whether they have been “cured” after having been infected with a lethal infectious disease. Sociopaths do such things.
Yet despite Trump’s incompetence and dishonesty, the religious nationalists and white supremacists who make up his base continue to support him. They will vote for Trump’s re-election and believe his deceitful claim that the only way he can be defeated is through widespread voter fraud.
The 2020 presidential election involves a choice between whether voters will sign on for four more years of incompetent and dishonest leadership. The rest of the world is watching whether voters will do so. The world is also watching whether people who claim to be followers of a Palestinian named Jesus will vote to retain a vicious idiot whose decisions and conduct have produced tragic results for so many people in the U.S. and across the world. The world is anxiously watching to see if followers of Jesus know what Jesus meant when he used the word “neighbor” in the New Testament Gospels.
The world is not anxious about the teachings of Jesus. It is threatened by so-called “evangelical conservative Christians” who empower and enable Donald Trump, a vicious idiot whose dishonest and incompetent leadership has sickened almost 8 million and killed more than 210,000 Americans.
God is watching, also.
Wendell Griffen is an Arkansas circuit judge and pastor of New Millennium Church in Little Rock, Ark.