EDITORIAL:

Trump’s tantrum is endangering the lives of millions of Americans

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Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington.

In a recent Washington Post story about President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the 2020 election, an unidentified White House staffer said Trump’s team knew his presidency was over but was simply placating Trump like a pouting toddler.

“What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time?” the staffer said.

What’s the downside? Try the lives and health of untold numbers of Americans who will needlessly die or suffer if Trump doesn’t start working with President-elect Joe Biden’s team on the coronavirus response.

That’s not just our take. If you don’t believe it, ask the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Hospital Association, which co-signed a letter to the White House pleading with the Trump administration to start cooperating in the transition process.

Beyond saving lives, we must take action to relieve the incredible strain our heroic health care workers have endured in this crisis. The impacts are physical, psychological and life-threatening. America owes them a debt of gratitude as great as any honor bestowed on veterans returning from fighting for our nation. It’s up to all of us to take protective measures to lessen their load. And it’s even more critical that Trump stop his thumb-sucking and foot-stomping and rise to the moment to save American lives and stem the crushing load on our health care workers.

The letter from the AMA, ANA and AHA said it was critical for the administration to share data and information with Biden’s team, saying the handover would “save countless lives.”

“As providers of care for all Americans, we see the suffering that is occurring in our communities due to COVID-19,” the letter said. “We see families who have lost both parents from COVID-19; we see children suffering from long-term effects due to a COVID-19 infection; and we see minority populations disproportionately suffering from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is from this front-line human perspective that we urge you to share critical data and information as soon as possible.”

Biden has also called on the Trump administration to do the right thing and begin cooperating, making the logical argument that keeping his administration shut out would hurt the rollout of vaccines that hopefully will be ready for distribution soon.

“The vaccine is important. But it’s of no use until you’re vaccinated,” Biden said, adding that there would be an enormous logistics challenge in distributing vaccines to hundreds of millions of Americans. “It’s a huge, huge, huge undertaking,” he said.

“If we have to wait until Jan. 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind,” Biden said. “More people may die if we don’t coordinate.”

Trump fancies himself a wartime president. He needs to act like one now. This nation is at war with the virus and our president is hiding on the golf course pouting, tweeting and obstructing a transition during a crisis. Imagine how we would feel if America was under attack by a foreign army and Trump was pulling this horrifying malfeasance. The nation would be outraged — and we should be now.

Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed on the need for the Trump administration to start playing ball.

“It’s very clear that that transition process that we go through, that time period measured in several weeks to months, is really important in a smooth handing over of the information,” Fauci said during a CNN interview.” “It’s almost like passing a baton in a race — you don’t want to stop and then give it to somebody. You want to just essentially keep going. And that is what transition is. So, it certainly would make things (go) more smoothly if we could do that.”

It needs to happen. For the good of all Americans, Republicans everywhere should demand that Trump start cooperating.

Trump may have snorted at Biden’s warning about the coming of a dark winter, but it is indeed coming.

In El Paso, Texas, an out-of-control surge in coronavirus infections forced officials to set up 10 temporary morgue sites after running out of capacity in the central location. In North Dakota, where hospitals are at 100% capacity due to the pandemic, nurses are in such critically short supply that they’re being pressed to work after testing positive. Last week, hospitalizations for COVID-19 hit an all-time high — more than 69,000.

For Nevada, it’s particularly important for the response to go smoothly and effectively. Not only have we experienced record numbers of cases in recent weeks, but as one of the nation’s hardest-hit areas economically, another widespread round of business closures would intensify the damage we’ve already suffered.

It’s despicable that Trump is focusing on himself at a time when the lives of so many Americans and the financial health of so many American families are in such grave danger.

Trump’s stonewalling on election results has been characterized by some as a childish temper tantrum, but it’s actually putting Americans at extreme direct risk of coronavirus infection from coast to coast. (Not to mention other risks — on national security, undermining of our democracy, etc., which are topics for another time.)

Some members of the GOP have started to break ranks and call on Trump to accept the election results, or at least start working with Biden’s team, but not enough. Those who join them will be remembered for stepping up and doing the right thing. Those who don’t are putting Americans in jeopardy needlessly — something that also won’t be forgotten.