What is the greatest failure a sitting U.S. President can commit while in office? Some would say that it’s implementing massively unpopular policies or blatantly lying to the American people on a near-daily basis. Others would state that it’s flagrantly violating the established laws, norms and standards which have formed the core of our nation for many years.

Trump has certainly done all of these things and more, but I’d argue that his criminally negligent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is even worse. His lies, incompetence and inaction have now directly contributed to the deaths of well over 190,000 Americans.

Since January of this year, Trump has repeatedly publicly downplayed the seriousness of the virus, sidelined, ignored and sought to discredit medical experts speaking about the seriousness of the pandemic (including from his own administration), encouraged his followers to “liberate” their communities under stay-at-home orders, and generally done anything possible to actively make the situation worse.

Even more appallingly, thanks to recently released interviews with Trump conducted by legendary journalist Bob Woodward, we now know that Trump was fully aware of the seriousness of the pandemic even as he falsely stated publicly that it was no worse than the seasonal flu. In a Feb. 7 call with Woodward, Trump stated, “you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” even adding, “it’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” “This is deadly stuff,” Trump emphasized. Days later, on Feb. 10, he publicly stated in a press conference, “I think the virus is going to be - it’s going to be fine.”

In the run-up to the fateful 2016 presidential election, now-impeached President Donald Trump infamously stated that, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” At the time, this preposterous blustering seemed to be just that - overconfident boasting from a reality-TV ‘businessman’ and nothing more. However, we’re now in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic which has resulted in the loss of more than 190,000 precious American souls, and Trump is directly responsible for worsening this staggering loss of life. If Trump is allowed to continue his reign of terror for four more years, his preposterous statement about murder on Fifth Avenue will have been proven true - and how many more Americans will end up dead?

Dain Schroeder, Quincy

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