Noam Chomsky says Trump culpable for 'thousands' of American coronavirus deaths

Chomsky criticised Washington lawmakers, saying they've actively made things worse as a result of their leadership 

Graig Graziosi
Monday 11 May 2020 20:43 BST
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One of the world's best known intellectuals says President Donald Trump is culpable in the deaths of thousands of Americans for propping his electoral aspirations up above the needs of the people.

Professor Noam Chomsky, speaking with The Guardian, pointed to Mr Trump's cuts to healthcare funding - which included research into infectious diseases - all to benefit large corporations.

"That's something that Trump has been doing every year of his term, cutting back more. So [his plan is] let's continue to cut it back, let's continue to make sure that the population is as vulnerable as we can make it, that it can suffer as much as possible, but will of course increase profits for his primary constituents in wealth and corporate power," Mr Chomsky said.

Mr Chomsky said that by shirking leadership during the pandemic and expecting governors to spearhead public response to the virus on a state-by-state basis, he has created a scenario where many will die.

"It's a great strategy for killing a lot of people and improving his electoral politics," Mr Chomsky said.

He went on to say that not only is Mr Trump culpable in the deaths of Americans, he's also contributing directly to deaths in developing nations that rely on funding from international organisations, like the World Health Organisation. Mr Chomsky said the president's decision to withhold aid from the group would likely lead to deaths in Yemen and throughout Africa.

Mr Chomsky also condemned the US's response to the pandemic in April while speaking to Democracy Now!

"The bottom of the barrel - that's [the United States.] The United States is the only major country that cannot even provide data to the World Health Organisations because it's so dysfunctional," Mr Chomsky said.

During that interview, Mr Chomsky again pointed to the failure of the US private healthcare system and argued that lawmakers had been consistently making the situation worse.

"Part of the background is the scandalous healthcare system, which simply is not ready for anything out of the normal. It simply doesn't work," Mr Chomsky said. "This is exacerbated by the strange collection of gangsters in Washington ... it's almost as if they've systematically taken every possible step to make it as bad as possible."

Mr Chomsky also had criticism for European leadership, which he called a "very sad dereliction of duty."

"I don't think the eurozone can survive it. But it can survive long enough to deplete huge amounts of wealth and social capital. Europe is rich enough, it can pretend and extend," he said.

As a growing number of arguments make the case that the coronavirus - and the 2008 economic collapse before it - have laid bare the cracks in society and the need for reform, Mr Chomsky and other progressive intellectuals have launched Progressive International, an initiative to help unite progressive forces across the globe.

Senator Bernie Sanders, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Canadian author Naomi Klein and Labour party shadow chancellor John McDonnell - among others - are involved in the organisation. The initiative is intended to help counter the rise of right-wing populist and fascist movements throughout the world.

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