In American law, criminal negligence is conduct in which a person ignores a known or obvious risk, or disregards the lives and safety of others.

We now have the perfect defendant.

It turns out – not that we’re surprised – that the failed casino owner knew all along that he was gambling recklessly with the lives and safety of the citizens he’d sworn to protect. As you undoubtedly know by now, Bob Woodward got it all on tape.

The first smoking gun was fired way back on Feb. 7, when Trump told Woodward that he was already well aware of COVID-19’s potential to wreak havoc: “You just breathe the air, and that’s how it passed…It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu…So, this is deadly stuff.”

So what did he do next? He staged five maskless rallies in confined spaces, exposing his MAGA suckers to the deadly disease that he knew was airborne. On Feb. 10, he wowed rally-goers in New Hampshire. On Feb. 19, he did it again in Arizona. On Feb. 21, he did it again in Nevada. On Feb. 28, he did it again in South Carolina. On March 2, he did it again in North Carolina.

And all that time, he kept comparing it to the common flu – in essence, giving people a false sense of security. He did that on Feb. 26, Feb. 27, Feb. 28, March 2, March 4, March 6, March 9, and March 10. Everything was fine and dandy, he said on Feb. 26: “When you have 15 (infected) people, and the 15 within a couple days is going to be down close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”


Also on Feb. 26, he didn’t share his knowledge that coronavirus was far more deadly than the flu. On the contrary, he kept equating the two: “This will end. This will end. You look at flu season. [COVID-19] is a little bit different, but in some ways it’s easier and in some ways it’s a little bit tougher. But that’s a little bit like the flu. It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for.”

And at his maskless mass rally on March 2, as his trusting fans shared their airborne droplets without him issuing a word of warning, he peddled this fake sense of security: “They’re going to have vaccines, I think, relatively soon. And they’re going to have something that makes you feel better and that’s going to actually take place, we think, even sooner.”

He knew exactly what he was doing, as evidenced by the smoking gun he fired on March 19, telling Woodward on tape: “Really, to be honest with you…I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

He’s fine with trying to create a panic in suburbia with his racist warnings about black people invading paradise. But leveling with the American people at the earliest opportunity? Helping them prepare for a deadly threat? Taking every conceivable transparent step to minimize the death toll? That’s not how this guy rolls.

He infamously bragged that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a vote. But while fully armed with foreknowledge about COVID-19, he has now shot and killed 190,000. Will that cost him votes? Are we so benumbed at this point that even the most flagrant smoking guns shoot only blanks?

Richard Nixon flew away in his helicopter for far less.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at Email him at [email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: