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'Clear and Present Danger' to Public Health: Leading Progressive Group Demands Trump Resign Over Coronavirus Failure

"In a time when protecting the nation's public health demands clear, truthful, and compassionate leadership, Trump has offered exactly the opposite."

President Donald Trump meets with Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar the Oval Office at the White House on Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Leading progressive advocacy group Public Citizen on Friday demanded that President Donald Trump resign immediately, declaring that his "intolerable failures of leadership" in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic have "endangered the lives of all Americans."

"President Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the nation's public health, and he should resign immediately."
—Robert Weissman, Public Citizen

In a statement, Public Citizen president Robert Weissman pointed to Trump's repeated lies about the outbreak and refusal to "make science-based recommendations (e.g., older people should avoid cruise ships and plane travel)" as reasons for the president to step down.

Weissman also slammed Trump's hesitancy to declare a public health emergency over COVID-19 "out of fear about the impact on the stock market."

"President Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the nation's public health, and he should resign immediately," Weissman said. "In a time when protecting the nation's public health demands clear, truthful, and compassionate leadership, Trump has offered exactly the opposite."

Trump has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the pandemic and attempted to shift blame to his predecessor for the White House's botched response. The president has also repeatedly relayed false information to the public about his administration's policy decisions, sparking mass confusion and fears of a global market crash.

"We're in great shape," Trump told reporters Thursday as the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 1,600 and as frontline workers continued to lament the lack of available testing equipment.

Politico reporter Dan Diamond told NPR Thursday that, based on his understanding of the president's thinking, Trump "did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks... partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear—the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall."

In his statement Friday, Weissman said Trump has "presided over an administration that has inexplicably failed to deliver vitally needed coronavirus tests to healthcare providers around the country and then repeatedly lied to or misled the American public about remedying the problem."

"He has dissembled about the seriousness of the coronavirus epidemic, either because he refuses to accept the truth or fears the impact on his political fortunes, or both," Weissman added. "Trump should step down immediately."

Read the statement in full below:

President Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the nation's public health, and he should resign immediately.

In a time when protecting the nation's public health demands clear, truthful, and compassionate leadership, Trump has offered exactly the opposite.

He has dissembled about the seriousness of the coronavirus epidemic, either because he refuses to accept the truth or fears the impact on his political fortunes, or both.

He has refused to make science-based recommendations (e.g., older people should avoid cruise ships and plane travel) or to declare a public health emergency out of fear about the impact on the stock market.

He has misstated his administration's own policies.

He has presided over an administration that has inexplicably failed to deliver vitally needed coronavirus tests to healthcare providers around the country and then repeatedly lied to or misled the American public about remedying the problem. Instead of taking responsibility for the problem and fixing it, Trump has bizarrely blamed it on his predecessor, Barack Obama.

He has attacked his political rivals rather than seek to bring the country together.

These failings have nothing to do with political ideology or legitimate areas of policy disagreement. They are intolerable failures of leadership in a time of national crisis that have endangered the lives of all Americans. Trump should step down immediately.

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