Donald Trump Is Still Looking For a COVID-19 Fall Guy

Chen Junxia/Xinhua via ZUMA

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Donald Trump has discovered  yet another new enemy:

Donald Trump hunted for a new scapegoat on Tuesday in an increasingly frantic attempt to shift blame for thousands of American deaths from the coronavirus, accusing the World Health Organization (WHO) of having “called it wrong” and being “China-centric”….The president has repeatedly denied responsibility and sought to blame China, the Obama administration and the media. On Tuesday, with the US death toll exceeding 12,000, he unleashed a tirade at the WHO, even though it raised the alarm in January, after which he made statements downplaying it and comparing it to the common flu.

The basic gripe against WHO is months old and has to do with the praise for China’s response to the initial coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan that was meted out by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He acted much like Anthony Fauci, who plays the same role around Donald Trump.

This criticism of Dr. Tedros dates back to early February and died out soon after, but for some reason it only hit Fox News a few days ago. Naturally, it then morphed into wild accusations of dereliction of duty and being a captive of Chinese influence. After letting this marinate for a few days, Trump got on the bandwagon today and laid into WHO. The entire Republican Party will be on board soon, I’m sure.

WHO isn’t blameless here, but make no mistake: this is just Trump’s latest attempt to blame someone, anyone, for the late US response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It can’t be his fault, after all, can it?

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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