Longtime Republican strategist Steve Schmidt says President Donald Trump’s admission that he knowingly downplayed the coronavirus threat early in the pandemic has no other parallel in the nation’s history.
“Bob Woodward induced a confession of the greatest lie in American history, bar none,” Schmidt said on MSNBC Wednesday. “There’s nothing that frankly comes even close.”
Later in the interview, he added:
“It is a catastrophic leadership failure. But more than that, there’s no equivalent in the country’s history to it. It is the greatest malfeasance in the history of the United States.”
Schmidt, who quit the GOP in 2018 over its support for Trump, is one of the cofounders of The Lincoln Project, a group of “never Trump” conservatives working against the president’s reelection.
He said Trump’s efforts to downplay the virus made the United States the world’s epicenter of coronavirus death and suffering, and pointed to a shattered economy, mass unemployment, interrupted education and a still-rising death toll.
A death rate similar to Germany would have meant 140,000 fewer deaths in the United States. Instead, Trump seems to be pushing for herd immunity, which Schmidt described as “the most immoral plan ever articulated in the history of the country by a president.”
Schmidt cited estimates that a herd immunity approach without a vaccine could lead to nearly 3 million deaths.
See his full comments above.
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