By Alec Pruchnicki, MD
I’ve written about how I disagreed with Trump on political grounds, but this piece is why I oppose him on serious medical grounds. After impeachment early this year, Democrats, including myself, were starting to plan for the election in November. When COVID came in, everything changed as life and death decisions had to be made immediately and not in November. Although this disease was new and unusual enough to mislead the medical community initially, medical treatments have improved significantly. Public health policies have also improved, but not in the U.S. very much. Much of this is because of Trump.
Several years before the virus hit, he dismantled the White House team designed to address outbreaks like this, and blamed it on unnamed White House staff. When the virus appeared in the U.S., the first thing he did was to abdicate his position as leader of the country and dump all responsibility for facing this crisis onto the states and their governors who did not have nearly the resources of the federal government. This led to disastrous outcomes, especially in the Northeast states. Besides minimizing concern about the virus, he also minimized a response. The Defense Production Act (DPA) was not fully mobilized, the use of masks and isolation was almost completely ignored until recently, and protective equipment was in short supply and unfairly distributed. He ignored advice of scientists and physicians. He didn’t use the “bully pulpit” of the presidency to get the spineless enabling Republican governors to take action either.
But the problem is that he is still doing these things and many others. Even though the death rate is starting to go up, the DPA still hasn’t been fully implemented, he still hasn’t put pressure on the governors to make needed sacrifices, he is pushing for unsafe school reopenings and campaign rallies, and he seems to minimize scientific input and sometimes directly suppresses it. As deaths increase, waiting until November, or January or (God forbid) four years from January will result in the loss of at least tens of thousands of lives.
Fellow Democrats that I’ve spoken to are not in favor of another impeachment. First, there might not be enough time for impeachment hearings and investigations. But, when Congress wants to move fast it could, like when it spent trillions of dollars in a few days. Also, detailed investigations are not needed since there is already enough in the public record to provide evidence.
Second, it would be unprecedented to impeach again. But with all the unprecedented things he has repeatedly done, it would be fitting that he got a taste of his own medicine.
Third, this will be a distraction from the election. But it will also be a greater distraction for the Republicans as it will raise the stakes and be an existential threat to his presidency. Since this election could be one of the dirtiest in history, with Russian hacking, Supreme Court approved voter suppression, and COVID fears, business as usual might not be enough to get a fair result.
Lastly, there will be a backlash with countless whining Tweets about the DEEP STATE, the FAILING NEW YORK TIMES, and QAnon conspiracies. Arguing against this predictable response will be the 200,00 or so dead, many of them in deep red Republican states.
Sometimes, in medicine, time is of the essence and you have to act quickly even when it is difficult. It should be the same in this case, unless we are willing to let his ongoing incompetence continue to kill people who could have been saved. Impeach him again, immediately.