A blow-by-blow account of how mental health experts warned that what happened would happen — that a president was likely going to kill (hundreds of) thousands of Americans — but went unheeded
On August 9, 2020, William Saletan published a remarkable article on Slate by the title: “The Trump Pandemic: A blow-by-blow account of how the president killed thousands of Americans.” The below consists of quotes of that article, cited here with permission, and an item-by-item record of what mental health experts said would happen, based on our understanding of the president’s mind.
On July 17, President Donald Trump sat for a Fox News interview at the White House. At the time, nearly 140,000 Americans were dead from the novel coronavirus…. “Everybody thought this summer it would go away,” said Trump. “They used to say the heat, the heat was good for it and it really knocks it out, remember? So they got that one wrong.” Trump’s account was completely backward. Redfield and other U.S. public health officials … had cautioned against that assumption. The person who had held out the false promise of a warm-weather reprieve, again and again, was Trump.
Mental health experts had been warning for years that the president’s mental state, or specifically lack of mental capacity and psychological dangerousness, would place the nation, or the world, at risk. On April 20, 2017, Dr. James Gilligan stated: “I think we have more than enough evidence here that it is important to mention that everybody in America, and in fact everybody in the world, is in danger from the currently most powerful man in the world.” On May 24, 2017, I stated: “We have an obligation to speak about Donald Trump’s mental health issues because many lives and our survival as a species may be at stake.” We said so not to be alarmist, but because these are serious considerations in the office of the presidency, and the president’s mental impairment “was more dangerous than the public suspected,… would grow more dangerous with time,” and, without intervention, “would become increasingly uncontainable.”
The story the president now tells — that he “built the greatest economy in history,” that China blindsided him by unleashing the virus, and that Trump saved millions of lives by mobilizing America to defeat it — is a lie. Trump collaborated with Xi, concealed the threat, impeded the U.S. government’s response, silenced those who sought to warn the public, and pushed states to take risks that escalated the…