In an opinion piece for Washington Monthly, David Atkins claims that President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
- Atkins centers his claim around a news report from Vanity Fair that Kushner had developed a plan to implement an aggressive nationwide testing program but ultimately scrapped it for political reasons.
- The decision to abandon the plan was based on the president and his son-in-law’s willingness “to allow tens of thousands of Americans [to] die as long as they were mostly people of color, and hailing from Democratic states and counties,” Atkins wrote. Since early on the pandemic was mostly concentrated in blue states, Trump saw it as an opportunity to hand responsibility off to Democratic governors and place the blame on their shoulders when things went wrong.
- Atkins determines that “gross negligence” and “murder” are not adequate descriptions of Trump and Kushner’s actions, landing instead on “genocide”:
But there’s another option: “genocide.” The known racial bias of the deaths overlaps with the political bias–black and brown Americans tend to be Democrats and live in Democratic areas, and are disproportionately falling victim to the virus–which in turn would make “genocide” the most compelling way to describe what Trump and Kushner have done.
Genocide*. Yes, it sounds preposterous. It sounds like the hyperbole of the deeply unserious. But what else can you call it? No word is perfect, but the crime must have a name that fits the enormous scope of its evil. It must describe what actually happened. And what happened is that the president and his son-in-law deliberately allowed 150,000 (and counting) Americans to die of a pandemic, because it would mostly kill off their political opponents. Because it would kill off mostly poor people of color. Because they thought they could gain an upper hand by blaming opposing governors. But they thought it would advantage them politically.*
- He concludes that the men responsible for the deaths of 150,000 Americans, namely President Trump and Jared Kushner, are guilty of crimes against humanity and should be prosecuted.