“Science” Editor’s Scathing New Column: Trump’s COVID Lies “Cost Countless Lives”

Andrew Harnik/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.The Editor-in-Chief of the influential academic journal Science has slammed President Donald Trump as a dangerous liar, whose deliberate distortions of the coronavirus crisis have “demoralized the scientific community and cost countless lives in the United States” by muzzling health officials and sowing confusion.
In a new column published Friday by the peer-reviewed outlet, H. Holden Thorp argued that, “Trump was not confused or inadequately briefed: He flat-out lied, repeatedly, about science to the American people.” This, he says, “may be the most shameful moment in the history of U.S. science policy.”
Thorp, a distinguished chemist and the top editor for the Science family of journals, was reacting to revelations contained in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward, and accompanying tapes, that show Trump knew about the severity of the coronavirus, and even how the pathogen might spread in the air, in early February, even as he obfuscated and misled the public by insisting the virus would miraculously disappear. “I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward in March. “I still like playing it down.”
“Trump was not clueless,” Thorp concludes. “He was not ignoring the briefings. Listen to his own words. Trump lied, plain and simple.”
The newly reported Trump comments provide crucial new ways to understand how the coronavirus crisis unfolded in the U.S.—and makes watching this Mother Jones super-cut of Trump’s early denials and deflections even more chilling: