America First (in coronavirus cases)

This piece was originally published in the July 7, 2020 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

“The world is looking at us as a leader”

– Trump’s Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany lying about where we stand on the coronavirus crisis. The United States leads all other countries in both confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.

Trump is trying to rip away your health care in the middle of a pandemic.

Don’t just take it from us — he said so himself.

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  • As the coronavirus spread to record levels nationwide, Trump spent the past few days reiterating his racist talking points and defending Confederate monuments (all while violating social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines). He took to Twitter yesterday to continue his racist tirade, voicing his objections to the potential name change of a certain Washington, D.C. football team, criticizing NASCAR’s decision to ban Confederate flags, and issuing a baseless attack on Bubba Wallace, the league’s only Black driver. On an entirely unrelated note, you can vote for Bubba Wallace in NASCAR’s fan favorite competition here.
  • Trump formally withdrew from the World Health Organization today after spending months criticizing the group. This is just one in a series of dangerously misguided decisions by Trump and his allies that will do nothing but hurt any remaining chance we might have of a smooth recovery from the ongoing pandemic.
  • Leaders both locally and globally have taken their cues from Trump and brushed off the seriousness of the coronavirus — and it hasn’t gone well. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, one of Trump’s top gubernatorial allies who has repeatedly ignored the warning signs of coronavirus, is now presiding over a massive spike in cases after a premature reopening. Florida’s ICUs are now at about 80% of their total capacity, and 40 of the state’s hospitals have already hit their capacity. On the international scale, we learned today that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro — who, like Trump, has repeatedly denied the severity of coronavirus and refused to wear a mask as his country sees rising cases at a scale only exceeded by the United States — has himself contracted the coronavirus.


  • ICE announced yesterday that they’d be forcing international students whose schools are going online-only in the fall to make an impossible choice: transfer to an in-person college, or be deported. In addition to the obvious cruelty of deporting college students, this decision will likely lead some students to make decisions that aren’t in the interest of their own health or safety in order to remain in the United States. With what feels like a constant stream of racism and xenophobia coming out of the Trump administration, it’s worth revisiting Adam Serwer’s powerful 2018 piece in The Atlantic, ‘The Cruelty Is the Point.’
  • Finally, some good news: Plans to construct two major pipelines have been scrapped in the past week alone as a result of court rulings and pressure from activists. There is always more work to be done, but this news is a major victory for Indigenous activists and is a reminder that continued pressure on those in power can result in real change.


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