Blood Is on Their Hands:
Ten Things Trump and His Regime Have Done and Said That Are Making the Coronavirus Pandemic Even Deadlier



The coronavirus pandemic is a natural disaster—but the way this society is organized and led has everything to do with how such disasters impact people. The “normal” workings of capitalism mean that preparedness for disaster will always be distorted by the demands of capital for ever more profit, and that the savage inequalities of capitalist society will assert themselves with a vengeance (see “The Deadly Illusion of ‘Normalcy’ and the Revolutionary Way Forward,” by Bob Avakian, and Communiqué #4 from the Revcoms). But the Trump/Pence fascist regime has made the death and suffering among the people much worse than they needed to be, “amplifying and fortifying,” as Bob Avakian put it, the “normal” barriers of capitalism.

Here are some of the “crimes on top of crimes” of the regime—and why Trump and his minions have blood on their hands.

1. Ignored previous warnings from within the government itself that a pandemic like the current one was a real possibility that needed to be prepared for.

  • Trump claimed on March 19, “Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion.” But in fact, in 2017 representatives of the outgoing Obama administration “walked” members of the incoming Trump/Pence regime through a hypothetical scenario of a pandemic worse than the Spanish flu of 1918 (which killed tens of millions around the world), leading to things like acute shortages of ventilators and causing many deaths.1
  • More recently, a scientific simulation conducted in 2019 by the Department of Health and Human Services modeled how a respiratory virus beginning in China might spread around the world, including causing half a million deaths in the U.S. And it showed the U.S. was very unprepared for such a pandemic. But the Trump/Pence regime did not act on this and the earlier warnings.2

2. Got rid of a government task force that was supposed to deal with response to pandemics.

  • In spring 2018, more than a year before the current coronavirus pandemic, Trump disbanded the National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense—the task force assigned to prepare for pandemics like the current one. A former senior director of this group said this “contributed to the federal government’s sluggish domestic response.” 3

3. Repeatedly minimized the danger of the coronavirus pandemic, even as it was already ravaging other countries and clearly beginning to spread to the U.S. itself.

Just a few of countless ignorant statements or outright lies by Trump that fed the unscientific denial of the reality of the pandemic and of the urgent measures needed to combat it, among his base and more broadly:

  • At a February 24 press conference in India (during a trip in which Trump appeared with fascist Indian leader Modi at a rally where hundreds of thousands of people crowded together), Trump said of the coronavirus, “That’s a problem that’s going to go away” and claimed, “We’re very close to a vaccine.” In fact, infectious disease experts have made clear that a working vaccine for this coronavirus is at least a year away.4
  • At a February 28 rally in North Carolina, Trump claimed that those criticizing his regime were “politicizing the coronavirus” and accused them of perpetrating a “new hoax” after the Mueller investigation on Russia and the impeachment.5
  • During a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 4, Trump said, “Anybody right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test.” This was totally untrue then—and continues to be untrue a month later.6
  • As late as March 24, shortly before announcements that the national guidance for people to stay at home would be extended until the end of April, Trump said, “I would love to have the country opened up, rarin’ to go, by Easter,” and, “You’ll have packed churches all over our country.” This completely went against public health experts who said that such a move would be disastrous, leading to a certain jump in infections.7
  • After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new guidance advising everyone in the U.S. to wear masks when going outdoors, Trump undercut the advice from public health experts by declaring, “I am choosing not to do it.”8

4. Has continued—and even stepped up—attacks on immigrants, who are among the most vulnerable. This not only does nothing but spread hatred against and suffering among these masses—it also means that immigrants, out of fear of imprisonment and deportation from Trump, will not get treated and suffer disproportionate death and disease, and the disease will spread further than it otherwise would.9

  • As Eunice Cho of the ACLU pointed out, immigrants detained in ICE prisons had difficulty in getting medical care and sanitation supplies like soap even before the pandemic. And with COVID-19 cases rising in ICE detention centers, “our concern for people who are in custody is even greater.”10 Immigration rights activists and others, and the ICE prisoners themselves, have been demanding that immigrants be released before the disease hits even more devastatingly. But Trump/Pence officials have refused to order any significant release of ICE prisoners.11
  • On March 20, Trump declared that all migrants approaching the U.S. border will be immediately turned back. There will not be even a pretense that asylum claims will be considered. U.S. officials claimed that this would not apply to children—but there were news reports that “unaccompanied minors” were being refused entry. This means thousands of desperate people are being forced back to Central America—to conditions of widespread violence and crushing poverty that they were trying to flee; or to stay in crowded refugee camps along the U.S.-Mexico border.12
  • In his daily coronavirus briefing on April 1, Trump announced the launch of “enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the western hemisphere.” Along with new military threats against the Maduro regime in Venezuela, this involves further attacks on immigrants. After bragging about his border wall—which he said is “stopping everybody cold”—Trump praised Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for “really helping us a lot” by deploying 27,000 Mexican troops on the border against Central American migrants fleeing north.13 This goes along and reinforces the fascist regime’s extreme scapegoating and persecution of immigrants.

5. Declared that he opposes, and will even try to stop, the release of prisoners due to coronavirus concerns. There are 2.3 million people incarcerated in the U.S., crowded together under precarious health conditions and without any possibility of social distancing and other preventive measures.14 Trump has potentially issued a death sentence for thousands of these prisoners.

  • In his April 2 coronavirus press briefing, asked about the release of some prisoners by some states due to concerns about the coronavirus, Trump said, “Some people are getting out that are very serious criminals in some states, and I don’t like that, I don’t like it. We don’t like it, the people don’t like it and we’re looking to see if I have the right to stop it in some cases.”15 To begin with, the truth is that only a very small percentage of prisoners have been released—and all have been people convicted of nonviolent offenses. But more fundamentally, the dangers facing the 2.3 million prisoners in the U.S. are crimes against humanity in the making—and Trump is making this even more of a horror. This is a genocide in the making—which actually fits into the genocidal logic and actions more generally of this fascist regime.

6. Was very late in stepping up coronavirus testing, which infectious disease experts widely point to as key in combating the spread of infections, while continually lying about its availability.

  • A few days after Trump said, “We have it [the coronavirus] totally under control,” two former health officials in the Trump administration wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled “Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic,” (January 28). At the top of their list of urgent things to do was for the federal government to work with private manufacturers to develop “an easy-to-use rapid diagnostic test.” South Korea did this early, and deployed the tests among a large part of the population—which seems to have had an effect in “flattening the curve”16 of infections. But it was not until a month after the Journal article, and six weeks after the first cases reported in the U.S., that the Trump/Pence regime finally allowed laboratories and hospitals to do their own COVID-19 tests to speed up the process.17
  • On March 24 and 25, Trump claimed that the U.S. was now outpacing South Korea in coronavirus testing. But in reality, the U.S. is still way behind in its testing. As of March 25, South Korea had conducted five times as many tests in proportion to its population compared to the U.S.18

7. Has exacerbated (made far worse) the irrational workings of capitalism in which different hospitals and localities each seek out supplies from corporations seeking the most profit.

  • Instead of the federal government leading a planned, central procurement and distribution of crucial equipment like ventilators and personal protection equipment (PPE), each state is having to scramble to find this equipment. New York governor Cuomo said, “We’ve created a situation where you literally have hundreds of entities looking to buy the same exact materials.” Sometimes, states are even outbid by the federal government. This has resulted in greatly driving up costs. N95 masks normally cost as little as 30 cents each but now go for up to $15; face shields normally costing $1 each are now $12. And according to Cuomo, the price of ventilators, crucial for saving the lives of those most acutely affected by COVID-19, has gone from $25,000 to $45,000. Governors have been pleading with Trump to use the Defense Production Act to stop the bidding war, and compel manufacturers to produce needed ventilators and PPE. But aside from a few instances, Trump has refused to use that power, saying, .” “We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business.”19 All this is in line with the fascist movement’s emphasis on state governments being encouraged to defy federal reforms of egregious abuses, especially those having to do with combating the inequality of Black and other oppressed people within the U.S., protecting rights of women to abortion and birth control, combating gender oppression, the right to unionize, etc.

8. Ignored and even attacked medical/scientific experts when their recommendations went against Trump’s own perceived interests. This promotes the ignorant, anti-scientific thinking so integral to fascism and the Christian fascism of the Trump/Pence regime in particular.

  • In February, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warned (very accurately), “We expect we will see community spread in this country. It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.” Trump reportedly “fumed” about Messonnier’s warning, blamed her for the big drop in the stock market, and contradicted her warning (without directly naming her) at a press conference by saying about the spread of the coronavirus, “I don’t think it’s inevitable.”20
  • During a March 6 visit to the CDC in Atlanta, Trump said he didn’t want passengers on a cruise ship docked off the coast of California to land, even though COVID-19 cases were multiplying rapidly among them. Why? “I don’t need to have the numbers [of coronavirus cases in the U.S.] double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.” This was despite the fact that medical experts were summing up that the earlier prolonged quarantining of passengers on a cruise ship docked in Japan was a mistake, leading to more than700 coronavirus cases just on that one ship.21

9. Has continued to spew out fascist ultra-chauvinism, white supremacy, and “America First” poison, enflaming international tensions and racism, at a time when global cooperation is a life-and-death need. While the following actions have made the virus worse worldwide, they have also served the fascist agenda of whipping up national chauvinism and hatred of other people.

  • In March, a German newspaper reported that Trump had offered $1 billion to a German pharmaceutical company for rights to a COVID19 vaccine that they were developing. The agreement would be exclusive—in other words, “only for the United States.” The German government reacted angrily, saying they could not allow others to “exclusively acquire the results” of work by German researchers.22
  • Trump and his secretary of state, Pompeo, have kept up their war-like threats against Iran, which has been one of the hardest hit countries in the world during this coronavirus pandemic. On March 20, Pompeo walked to the “brink” of blaming Iran for a recent rocket attack in Iraq.23 Even before the coronavirus, Iran’s people were already suffering greatly from the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S., causing widespread loss of jobs, shortages of medicine, and other hardships. Trump/Pence officials have refused to lift the sanctions, and the New York Times reported that some political analysts think Trump sees the pandemic as an opportunity and a tool to “force Iran to capitulate to American demands.”24
  • Until recently, Trump insisted on referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese flu.” Trump repeatedly defended his use of this scientifically ignorant term (viruses have no “nationality,” and COVID-19 is not a “flu”). This has fed into a climate of anti-Asian racism and stoked physical attacks on Chinese and other people of Asian descent.25

10. Has not let up attacks on health insurance and safety-net programs. This means that many people who would otherwise get treated or receive help will not—with needless deaths the result!

  • As the coronavirus has hit the poor and most oppressed hardest, the Trump/Pence regime is pushing ahead with its efforts to toughen up rules for who is eligible for food stamps—moves that could lead to some 700,000 people losing their benefits.26
  • The Trump/Pence regime has been striving from the beginning to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”), which covers millions of people who formerly did not have any health insurance. They’ve succeeded in chipping away at it and, even as an unprecedented health care crisis rages, continue to pursue a Supreme Court case to gut it altogether. On March 31, the White House announced that federal exchanges for ACA, which closed in December at the end of the enrollment period, will not be reopened for uninsured people to get health care coverage during the pandemic.27

1. Obama officials walked Trump aides through global pandemic exercise in 2017: report,, 3/17/20. [back]

2. Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went UnheededNew York Times, 3/22/20. [back]

3. Beth Cameron, “I ran the White House pandemic office. Trump closed it,” Washington Post, 3/13/20. [back]

4. Donald Trump seems to know very little about the coronavirus, CNN, 2/25/20 [back]

5. Trump calls coronavirus criticism Democrats' 'new hoax'…The Guardian, 2/28/20. [back]

6. Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went UnheededNY Times, 3/19/20. [back]

7. Trump wants ‘packed churches’ and economy open again on Easter..., CNBC, 3/24/20. [back]

8. A Debate Over Masks Uncovers Deep White House Divisions,” New York Times, April 3, 2020. [back]

9. See “Communiqué #3 from the Revcoms: The Coronavirus and the Attacks on Immigrants: We Need a Revolution! [back]

10. Eunice Cho, ACLU Attorney, on the Brutal Detention of Hundreds of Thousands of Immigrants, [back]

11. ICE resists calls to release immigrants as desperation mounts over coronavirus, CBS News, 3/26/20. [back]

12. Trump Seizes on Coronavirus Crisis to Intensify Attacks on Immigrants, [back]

13. Trump Shifts Focus Of WH Coronavirus Briefing To Fighting Drug Cartels,, 4/1/20. [back]

14. 2.3 Million U.S. Prisoners and Detainees Trapped in “Petri Dish” for Coronavirus, [back]

15. “Trump says he’ll try to prevent...,” Independent, April 2, 2020. [back]

16. The “curve” is the rate of infections as shown on a graph. “Flattening the curve” means slowing the spread of the virus through social distancing and other means. See “The Coronavirus Pandemic: Frequently Asked Questions.” [back]

17. The missing six weeks…, The Guardian, 3/28/20. [back]

18. All the President’s Lies About the Coronavirus,, 3/24/20. [back]

19. Shortage of medical gear sparks bidding war among states, 3/30/20; Trump’s excuses for not using the Defense Production Act are wrong—and dangerous,, 3/23/20. [back]

20. CDC director downplays claim that coronavirus spread is inevitableNY Post, 2/27/20. [back]

21. Trump said he wants to keep Grand Princess cruise passengers on the ship,, 3/6/20. [back]

22. Coronavirus: anger in Germany at report Trump seeking exclusive vaccine dealThe Guardian, 3/16/20. [back]

23. Trump, Pompeo walk to brink of blaming Iran… Reuters, 3/20/20. [back]

24. Iran Says U.S. Sanctions Are Taking Lives. U.S. Officials DisagreeNY Times, 4/1/20. [back]

25. 'Coughing while Asian': living in fear as racism feeds off coronavirus panicThe Guardian, 3/24/20. [back]

26. Amid a Pandemic, Trump Moves Forward With Safety Net CutsNY Times, 3/13/20. [back]

27. Trump admin will not reopen Obamacare exchanges during coronavirus pandemic NBC News, 4/1/20. [back]

See also:

The Coronavirus Pandemic — A Resource Page

  • What IS the Corona virus COVID-19 and what do scientists know about this?
  • How is the capitalist-imperialist system making the effect of the Coronavirus worse than it has to be?
  • How do the “savage inequalities” of the system play out in the way this virus affects different sections of people? Who does it come down the worse on, and why?
  • How would the revolution handle the coronavirus or similar epidemics if it held state power?

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