Our country, at the beginning of this year, faced four major threats: Climate change, Covid-19, Russian election meddling, and a worldwide nuclear arms race.
Donald Trump lied to us about all four of them. As a result, each, today, represents a larger threat than it did before he became president and hundreds of thousands of Americans have or soon will die because of his lies.
Trump lied to us about climate change and took billions from FEMA to give to unemployed people in Texas; that money ran out today. He claimed that forest fires in the west were because we weren't "raking the forest floors," one of the more stupid and simplistic ways he lied about climate change to satisfy his fossil fuel donors. And now Americans are dying and losing their homes in a dozen western states.
"Trump has been a lifelong grifter, money launderer and minor criminal. Now he has brought that criminality to the White House and guided himself from his criminal instinct to lie and cheat."
He lied, as we now have learned from Bob Woodward, to all of us about the severity of Covid-19. He knew in January how deadly this disease was, that it could strike even young children, and that it was transmitted through the air. Instead of warning us, instead of warning parents, instead of issuing a national mask mandate, he lied to us and said it was "just like the flu" and a "Democrat hoax." He then spent months lying to his supporters, packing them into events to stroke his ego even as he knew that some would end up like Herman Cain: dead.
He was repeatedly warned the Russians and others were attempting to manipulate our election, from activity on Facebook and in other news and social media venues to hacking into our election systems. Not only did he lie to Americans about this, but this week we learned that he ordered his illegal toady at DHS, Chad Wolf, to order those below him to hide this information from the American public.
Finally, Trump blithered on to Bob Woodward about a top-secret new nuclear weapons program the United States has developed. Once that information was published, it kicked off a new international nuclear arms race. We could hope that Trump was lying to Woodward about this, but it turns out that instead he had been lying to us and the world, and now that the truth is out it has put the entire world at increased danger of war and an extinction-causing nuclear winter.
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An existential threat to our democracy. A global pandemic. An unprecedented economic crisis. Our journalism has never been more needed.
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And now a fifth crisis has arisen, because of the way Trump screwed up the Covid-19 and climate crises. Our economy has collapsed more severely than any time since the Republican Great Depression, and the only companies that are being meaningfully bailed out are the corporate behemoths. People are losing their homes, their life savings, and hope.
Donald Trump has been a lifelong grifter, money launderer and minor criminal. Now he has brought that criminality to the White House and guided himself from his criminal instinct to lie and cheat.
The result over the short term is the end of the American Dream and American Exceptionalism. The result over the long term could be the loss of democracy, both here in the United States and across the planet.
Nobody expected we would have to pay such a steep price for electing a mentally ill criminal as president. And nobody believed an entire political party would support a race-baiting fascist, but here we are.
The big questions now are whether the domestic terrorists Trump has activated will realize he's been playing them for suckers, or will their loyalty to white supremacy cause them to stick with him?
Or, will he successfully reach out to them and ratchet up racially motivated violence across this country as we go into, through, and past the election season this year?