Kerry on Push to Reopen: Trump Is Playing ‘Russian Roulette’ with American Lives

Monday on MSNBC, former Secretary of State John Kerry said President Donald Trump encouraging protests to end state stay-at-home orders when governors are pointing to insufficient testing availably was akin to playing “Russian roulette with everybody’s lives.”

Kerry said “I think what’s extraordinary is that the president of the United States, whose responsibility it is to lead the nation, according to the best advice and all the best advice, the best business advice, the best medical advice, the best security advice is all saying, you can’t make the economy work again if the majority of the people of our country are in fear, and they’re not going to come out, and they’re not going to take risks if they don’t have the testing. So the critical component here is where is the presidential leadership? The president has tweeted about liberating Michigan and liberating Minnesota. He now has tweeted in support of people coming out and demonstrating. He’s trying to play it, I think, in such a political way, we’re in a situation that is life and death.”

He continued, “What is it, 36% of people trust Donald Trump on this? About 80 or 70-some percent trust the doctors and the experts. I think what this underscores is the absence of presidential leadership — the absence of the kind of leadership that the nation needs at this moment. And the COVID-19 challenge has now been added to, among those things where the right, the political right, is prepared to attack science, math, evidence, facts, basic truth in favor of an ideology. They’re pushing that ideology on our nation, and it wouldn’t be a big deal if it weren’t costing lives and if it weren’t linked to larger issues that are coming at us. The disinformation campaign that President Trump has succumbed to, with respect to the COVID-19, is the same disinformation campaign from some of the same people who have brought us doubts about what is scientifically proven, which is climate change, the climate crisis.”

Kerry added, “We all understand the desire to get back. I mean, there isn’t anybody in America who isn’t concerned about where we’re heading economically. But if you stop and think about, as they are in a lot of these countries — I mean, look, the facts. I’ve listened to the president at some of his conferences, and I’m not going to listen to anymore, because it’s the same thing all the time and it’s mostly a political campaign rally and a promotion of himself. But the fact is, he stands there and says, we have the best testing in the world. No, we don’t. We do not have the best testing in the world. We are not testing on a per capita basis, which is the real ratio you look at is the size of our country, measured against the tests we’re having. It doesn’t do us any good to have more testing than a tiny nation in the world and stand up and say, ‘We have more tests than anybody in the world.’ We have to measure the number of tests against the people, against the risks, against what it takes to put people back to work. And if you don’t have the ability to track who’s had it, the antibodies test, and you don’t have the ability to track who has it now, it’s very difficult to say to people, ‘Hey, you’re safe, go out to work.’ What are you doing to do? Play Russian roulette with everybody’s lives? That’s not the job of the president of the United States. His job is to lead the country to a place of calm understanding about how together, together, that’s what our nation is built on, you know, out of many come one, e Pluribus Unum, we are one. And the one is the job of the president of the United States to think about.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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