Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

On the heels of revelation that Trump downplayed the covid threat, voters question rallies resuming

President Donald Trump is planning to hold more rallies despite the coronavirus death toll at more than 196,000. Photo by @macbendigo via Twenty20

On the heels of the explosive bombshell that President Donald Trump knew how deadly COVID-19  was and lied to the American people, he  has resumed  in person rallies, with little caution in spreading the virus. The rallies, which have been widely attended by thousands of  ardent Trump supporters, have again polarized  discussions about the coronavirus among voters. 

Paul Person, a flower farmer from Fredericksburg, Texas, and a Trump supporter said that while he does not believe that the coronavirus is a hoax, many people have blown it out of proportion. 

“COVID is a political football orchestrated by the higher-ups,” he said.“A whole lot of people like Fauci and Woodward are making a lot of money from this. “Although almost 200,000 people have died from it, that’s less than the people who died from the flu last year. There are approximately 330 million people in this country. Do the math on that.”

Person said that he questioned famed investigative reporter, Bob Woodward’s, credibility.

“Woodward is just a writer who wants to sell more books and put a dollar in his pocket,” said Person. “He didn’t catch Trump in a lie like he thinks he did. Trump did all he could do. He shut down the entire economy during the pandemic to save the American people.”

Not everyone agrees that Woodward was wrong in the way he disseminated the news to the public.

Funbi Abolarin, a student in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said that Woodward released his book detailing his conversations with President Trump at the right time.

“…Writing a book like that on a trending topic like the coronavirus, and tying a prominent political figure to it is a perfect strategy,” said Abolarin. “Of course, he might also have political motives for delaying the release of the book up until now to make Trump look like a less favorable candidate to indecisive voters, but that’s what makes it even more brilliant.”

The widening schism between Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters is all too apparent in recent times, especially as they relate to his recent rallies.

Dorathy Sule-Aerga, a professor in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, said that she was not surprised that President Trump would rally around the country without following the CDC’s precautionary guidelines.

“Given his past history, I am also not surprised that he chose not to tell the general public what was happening. The fault is not entirely his, though. People are adult enough to take responsibility and make smart choices,” said Sule-Aerga. “The fact that he continues to hold rallies does not mean that they have to engage.”

While the coronavirus has dramatically affected some lives, others say that they have not been affected.

Ross Sietsema, an entrepreneur and business owner in Allendale, Michigan, said that the coronavirus has not affected him or anyone he knows.

“It’s tough for me to say that I buy into the coronavirus stuff,” said Sietsema. “I don’t wear a mask unless I have to. I wear it at work, but that’s as far as it gets.”

Sietsema had a different perspective on Woodward’s recent revelations.

“If Bob Woodward is tied to the democrats, then it makes sense that he would try to make Trump look bad,” he said. “Donald Trump is a reasonable businessman first. If he truly knew something like the coronavirus would affect the economy, he would have shared it sooner rather than later. I find the whole thing hard to believe.”

But other people have a different opinion.

Ikenna Njoku, a research assistant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said that Trump’s refusal to share the information about the virus with the people points to his lack of presidential experience.

“While I understand that he was trying to prevent panic, it was not the right move to try to prevent panic by downplaying the virus when people were obviously dying,” he said. “For one, it begs to question his credibility as a leader. It was unwise, unsafe, and unnecessary.”

 Njoku said that Trump was capitalizing on his following by holding the rallies.

“He has successfully gathered a strong following of supporters that listen to him, even when he is being openly deceptive,” said Njoku. “COVID-19 has been politicized, and turned into a blame game; when things like this happen, people tend to see things through the lens of “us vs. them,” and they rally around the political candidate that aligns most with their views. In this case, that candidate is Donald Trump.”



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