Are You Better Off Than Four Years Ago? OMG You Have Got to Be Kidding Me.

Our horror show video catalogues Trump’s dangerous coronavirus denial—four years ago this month.

Here's Trump four years ago. At his daily briefing that day, April 5, he said the federal government had stockpiled 29 million doses of hydroxychloroquine. “What do you have to lose?” he said.Patrick Semansky/AP

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“ARE YOU BETTER OFF THAN YOU WERE FOUR YEARS AGO?” blared Trump’s Truth Social account last Monday.

Let’s take a trip back, shall we?

This week, four years ago, Trump was in the throes of dangerous denial as his extravagant mishandling of the COVID crisis plunged the nation into almost hourly panic attacks. There were already about 18,000 reported cases in the United States, and more than 260 deaths.

Trigger warning on this one: On March 21, 2020, Trump tweeted, “HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” which was as untrue then as it is now. Two days later—four years ago today, on Day 63 of the crisis—it was reported that an Arizona man died after intentionally ingesting chloroquine phosphate, a fish tank cleaner. Trump told a press briefing, “Parts of our country are very lightly affected.” Just a few days later, the country he ran, and wants to run again, reported more coronavirus cases than any other country.

These are just a handful of the nightmarish details drawn from March 2020, four years ago. The president’s vanity and lack of preparedness in those first 100 days of the pandemic allowed the virus to metastasize into the supersized public health crisis he’s now asking voters to forget. This period was also a showcase of his very worst traits in office: his reliance on spin and bluster, his aversion to taking responsibility (“No, I don’t take responsibility at all,” he said on March 13, 2020), and his magical thinking. He indulged in desperate blame shifting, bunk science, and mixed messaging—the antithesis of good public health leadership.

At the time, Mother Jones took on the enormous reporting task of meticulously cataloguing, sometimes hour by hour, the missteps, miscalculations, and cruelties of Trump’s response to the disaster unfolding on his watch. The resulting timeline makes for enraging reading, to say the least.

I also started to compile video clips of the absurdities and outrages. And the resulting video is both a time capsule of horrors and a teleporter for any voter who might be doubting whether they are better off than they were four years ago this month.

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GREAT JOURNALISM, SLOW FUNDRAISING

Our team has been on fire lately—publishing sweeping, one-of-a-kind investigations, ambitious, groundbreaking projects, and even releasing “the holy shit documentary of the year.” And that’s on top of protecting free and fair elections and standing up to bullies and BS when others in the media don’t.

Yet, we just came up pretty short on our first big fundraising campaign since Mother Jones and the Center for Investigative Reporting joined forces.

So, two things:

1) If you value the journalism we do but haven’t pitched in over the last few months, please consider doing so now—we urgently need a lot of help to make up for lost ground.

2) If you’re not ready to donate but you’re interested enough in our work to be reading this, please consider signing up for our free Mother Jones Daily newsletter to get to know us and our reporting better. Maybe once you do, you’ll see it’s something worth supporting.

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