Like autocrats throughout history, Donald Trump considers no body count too high, no cruelty too outrageous, and no lie too big in preservation of power and propagation of a warped ideology. Denial of “real reality” and creation of a “fake reality” is a typical maneuver of anti-democratic strongmen like Trump.
Science denialism, venal political calculations, and ideological considerations has led to the preventable deaths of well over 50,000 nursing home patients and employees. In an attempt to promote an image of caring and concern, the Trump regime has set up a bogus commission to “study” the issue of COVID-19 in nursing homes. Advocates and the public should have two major concerns: (1) this commission is conducting business in secrecy, which means anything critical of Donald Trump and his minions will never see the light of day, and (2) Some nursing home advocates and scholars have been willing to sign a nondisclosure agreement and serve on this sham “secretive commission.”
Why would otherwise respectable and respected professionals place their imprimatur on the nefarious attempts by an autocrat to cover up his malfeasance? Anne Applebaum answered that question this way in her article in the latest issue of The Atlantic: “Each violation of our Constitution and our civic peace gets absorbed, rationalized, and accepted by people who once upon a time knew better.” (“History Will Judge The Complicit,” page 60, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/07/trumps-collaborators/612250/).
As Masha Gessen said about Trump: “He was probably the first major party nominee who ran not for president but for autocrat. And he won.” (Surviving Autocracy, p. 16). No autocrat in history has ever referred evaluation of his performance to an objective panel of citizens with the expectation that he would accept blame for a major program failure. Why would nursing home advocates and scholars expect America’s current autocrat to be an exception?
Calling it a hoax, the Trump administration initially denied the reality of a COVID-19 pandemic and has attempted to propagate that lie from the time the virus caused the death of a nursing home patient in Kirkland, Washington to the present time. This current science denialism is reminiscent of Stalin’s promotion of Trofim Lysenko’s agriculture and genetics pseudoscience. Anyone who disagreed with Lysenko was purged, imprisoned, or killed. Trump can’t at this stage imprison or execute dissenters from his warped ideology, but he can purge and smear credible scientists.
Due to Lysenkoism and, consequently, crop failures, millions of people starved under the Stalinist and Maoist Communist regimes. Donald Trump is not Stalin or Hitler, nevertheless he operates as much as he can in accordance with the strongman paradigm. Driven by an extreme ideology, his attack on science has resulted in the death of nearly 150,000 Americans at this point.
Someone quoted Jill Lapore as saying, “Commissions allow governments to appear to be doing something, while actually doing nothing.” A list of members of this sham Trump commission to whitewash the cause of a massive number of deaths in nursing homes, can be found through the link on the endnote below. They either know the nature of the regime they are enabling or are seriously naïve. Either way: shame on them.