Trump’s Crime against Humanity

Trump LIES on COVID … Needless DEATHS Follow … A FASCIST Advance – Part I




Imagine if someone knew that some arsonists were planning to burn down a crowded apartment building that he owned and managed—an apartment building that was not only crowded with people inside, but did not have adequate sprinklers and fire extinguishers.

Further imagine that this person decided to not only keep that information to himself, but to consciously give the tenants false information to cause them to stay in that building and take no precautions against fire, in the name of not “causing panic.”

Then imagine that in fact a great many residents of that house needlessly died.

In any just society, such a person would be and should be condemned and prosecuted for a crime against humanity.

Yet that is exactly what Donald Trump admitted that he did with his knowledge that COVID-19 was extremely virulent and certain to cause death and suffering on a huge scale. He not only did that, he allowed the entire society to walk into this crisis with absolutely inadequate preparation—most of which was his responsibility. More than that: Trump suppressed and attacked scientific knowledge and actively spouted and spread ignorance instead, from the authoritative podium of the White House.

This is more than—far worse than—incompetence. This is vicious, conscious criminal negligence.

Think about it. You hear the statistic of nearly 200,000 people dead. But think about the people behind the statistics. Think about the stories of the health care workers and professionals, heroically working double shifts, who died from inadequate protective gear... the transit workers and meatpackers and grocery clerks who died from contact with people when they had no foreknowledge and no protection and when their choice was to risk their lives or starve... think about the older people, left to die in nursing homes, alone and afraid and suffering. How many of those were needless?

This came out in the new book Rage, by Bob Woodward. The accompanying article digs into the facts that have come to light and analyzes what was driving this. One thing is very clear: This monstrous crime is yet another reason why this fascist regime must go.


“He had faith in Donald Trump. He voted for him, listened to him, believed him and his mouthpieces when they said that coronavirus was under control and going to disappear, that it was okay to end social distancing ... My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that he paid with his life.”

Kristin Urquiza, whose father died of COVID-19 on June 30.

On September 9, journalist Bob Woodward released excerpts from taped interviews with Donald Trump from February 7 and March 19. Back then the COVID-19 epidemic was raging in China, with thousands infected—the Chinese government had locked down the major city of Wuhan to stop the spread. But in the U.S. there were only a dozen confirmed cases and no deaths. Most Americans were only dimly aware of the emerging threat.

In these interviews, Trump is acting the big shot, “letting Woodward in on” the knowledge that he had as head of the world’s most powerful government1:

  • On February 7,Trump said: “It goes through the air, Bob ... You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed.” And “This is more deadly [than even “your strenuous flus”]. This is five percent vs. one percent, and less than one percent. So this is deadly stuff.”
  • On March 19,he made the specific point that it’s not just older people who get sick, but “Plenty of young people too.”

So Trump understood back then that coronavirus was highly contagious, at least five times deadlier than the flu, and that both older and younger people were at risk.

Given that the virus was not yet out of control, the potential damage could have been dramatically reduced through systematic education, and by implementing public health policies, like “testing, tracing and isolation”2; mask-wearing; social distancing; and closing non-essential businesses. Such measures were very effective in many other countries.3 But that didn’t happen in the U.S. as a whole, even if it did happen in some states like New York later.

Instead, Trump turned around and publicly lied, spreading disinformation and disarming people in the face of grave danger. This is what Trump said publicly:

  • On February 10Trump said, “you know, a lot of people think that [the virus] goes away in April with the heat—as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April.”
  • On February 26, it was “people die from the flu.... It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.” (He repeated this flu comparison—knowing it was false—on March 4, 6, 9, and 10).
  • On February 27, “It’s going to disappear. One day—it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.”
  • On February 28, Trump called Democratic criticism of his disastrous response to the coronavirus a “hoax.”
  • Trump knowingly lied about the danger to younger adults and children. On March 6, “We’ve had 11 deaths, and they’ve been largely old people who are—who were susceptible to what’s happening.”

Publicly spreading disinformation, Trump also did not mobilize the state apparatus of the federal government to respond with urgency early on, and with the best available science on what measures to take to restrict the spread of the epidemic nationally. The lies had policy consequences in the early days of the pandemic, when it potentially could have been more restricted in scope with serious containment measures. The capitalist system and its economy has posed significant barriers to dealing with this pandemic globally including in economic distress to the masses of people from the very measures needed to contain the spread of the pandemic, as we have covered previously in But Trump-fascism has “amplified” all this, as Bob Avakian emphasized in “The Deadly Illusion of ‘Normalcy’ and the Revolutionary Way Forward”—see accompanying box.

Trump’s gross and criminal negligence has led now to the U.S. being the world leader in deaths from COVID. It does not mean that even if Trump did everything right, based on science and evidence, people would not have died. But what IS clear is that there were NEEDLESS deaths, from gross criminal negligence of the highest office of the land: from people not being adequately informed and taking unnecessary risks, to the government and its agencies not being adequately mobilized and prepared, and measures not being taken.

Trump lied. People died. As an act, that by its scale or nature shocks the conscience, this constitutes a crime against humanity.
Go to Part II.


1. Woodward writes that on January 29 Trump was briefed on COVID by his National Security Advisor, and told that it was “the biggest national security threat” he would face.  [back]

2. An epidemic can be aborted in the early stages through widespread testing, followed by tracing and isolating the contacts of anyone who tests positive. Hong Kong, for instance, has had only 99 deaths as of September 11.  [back]

3. The New York Times notes that if the U.S. “had the same coronavirus fatality rate as Canada, more than 100,000 Americans could still be alive today.” And while the virus hit South Korea and the U.S. at the same time, by September 10, South Korea had 350 COVID deaths—the U.S. had 193,000, almost 600 times as many!  [back]

From “The Deadly Illusion of ‘Normalcy’ and the Revolutionary Way Forward” by Bob Avakian:

In very immediate terms, the outlook and methods as well as the priorities of the fascists, as concentrated in the Trump/Pence regime—with the appointment of the anti-scientific Pence to head government efforts around COVID-19; Trump’s initial denial of the scope and danger posed by this virus and his continuing lies about this; his gross American chauvinism, pitting this country against the rest of the world; his repeated tendency to recklessly deny medical science and ignore the recommendations of medical experts where it runs counter to his own narrowly conceived and dangerously shortsighted interests and objectives; and more—all this amplifies and fortifies the barriers that the “normal functioning” of the capitalist-imperialist system places in the way of a systematic and coordinated approach to combating the coronavirus.



Get a free email subscription to

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.