Politics - News Analysis
Infectious Disease Expert: Trump’s Mt. Rushmore Photo Op is ‘Beyond Irresponsible’ and the ‘Behavior of a Cult Leader’
Donald Trump’s trip to Mt. Rushmore is akin to last year’s “celebration on the Mall” – a campaign event, with little effort to make it appear as a presidential duty. Unlike last year, this year’s “Celebration of Trump” will occur in the midst of an epidemic that continues its rapid uncontrolled spread.
The governor of South Dakota proudly, and somewhat viciously, looked straight into the camera and said there would be “no social distancing” at Trump’s Mt. Rushmore event.
The event is an epidemiologist’s worst nightmare and one is speaking out. As reported in The Hill:
Celine Gounder, a prominent infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist, said Friday that President Trump‘s Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore is “beyond irresponsible” as the nation sees record-breaking outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.
“I’m highly concerned. This is beyond irresponsible,” Gounder, CNN’s medical analyst, said when asked what she thought of the Friday evening event.
“This is the behavior of a cult leader who is jumping off the cliff, except he’s jumping off into a safety net where he has protections around him. People around him are being tested. He’s being tested on a regular basis. While he asks his followers to jump off a cliff into nothing,” she continued. “I mean, this is extremely dangerous behavior and unfortunately, this has become so politicized where you abide by public health and scientific recommendations on the basis of your political beliefs not based on the science. And people are really going to be harmed as a result of this.”
Dr. Gounder’s statement is made even stronger now with the news that Vice President Pence’s Secret Service detail was so overrun with COVID that he had to put off an Arizona trip by one day. Donald Trump will not be denied, he will do what he wants, consequences be damned, and this trip is about him. He wants to be in the camera shots against Mt. Rushmore, this is not about the United States, it’s about his cult.
The fact that someone in South Dakota will find themselves in the same spot as Herman Cain – who attended the Tulsa rally and is now battling COVID in the hospital – is of no consequence.
It is the act of a cult leader and the height of irresponsibility.
2/ Cults are dangerous. Leaders who lie are dangerous. Please protect yourself, your family & your community. If you wait to see this with your own eyes, it’ll be too late. The US is careening into a long-term nationwide disaster: the loss of lives & damage to the economy. #COVID pic.twitter.com/qvuRRWwEhk
— Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA (@celinegounder) July 3, 2020
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