President Trump has previously asserted that his impeachment trial prevented him from focusing on the coronavirus. He has also insisted that the lack of protective gear for hospital staff is the fault of his predecessor. But impeachment, which only began three years into his presidency, doesn’t explain why he failed to address the shortfalls in equipment he says he inherited.
Last night, ABC’s David Muir asked Trump, “What did you do when you became president to restock those cupboards that you say were bare?” Trump replied that the Russia investigation had also prevented him from addressing the equipment shortage:
Well, I’ll be honest. I have a lot of things going on. We had a lot of people that refused to allow the country to be successful. They wasted a lot of time on Russia, Russia, Russia. That turned out to be a total hoax. Then they did Ukraine, Ukraine, and that was a total hoax, then they impeached the president of the United States for absolutely no reason, and we even had 197-to-nothing vote by the Republicans.
So now we have updated and filled in the Trump distraction timeline, which now extends over the full course of his presidency:
January 21, 2017-April 18, 2019: Russia hoax
April 2019-February 5, 2020: Ukraine hoax
Trump was distracted by the two hoaxes throughout his presidency, preventing him from addressing the dire medical shortfall he inherited without impinging on the 8-12 hours of daily television-watching his job demands of him.
There remains the problem that Trump was fully vindicated of the Ukraine hoax by a unanimous vote of the Republican party — which of course no longer includes Mitt Romney — on February 5, yet he continued to dismiss and deny the coronavirus for weeks thereafter. The answer to this will probably come later, when Democrats investigate his incompetent handling of the pandemic, and Trump reveals that the Coronavirus Hoax prevented him from focusing on the coronavirus.