As COVID cases top 3 million, it’s past time to end the catastrophic Trump presidency — USA Today

As COVID cases top 3 million, it's past time to end the catastrophic Trump presidency

We can't afford to wait for Joe Biden. Governors have the experience, credibility and stature to end a presidency that is literally killing America.

Our country is living through a tragedy of unthinkable magnitude.

COVID-19 has hammered the world, but America — with 4.25% of the world’s population — has suffered a quarter of its cases and fatalities.

Other developed nations, such as Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom, have suffered greatly but have now managed to control the spread of the virus. Here, though we have the world’s most advanced economy and medical and scientific capabilities, COVID continues to run rampant. On Wednesday, led by surges in Texas, Florida, Arizona and California, America officially passed 3 million cases.

It is no secret why. America’s tragedy results from the largest failure of presidential leadership in our history. Donald Trump threw out the pandemic response playbooks left by his predecessors; weakened the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; refused to acknowledge the seriousness of the virus; promised its early disappearance; fantasized about miracle cures; and then, after a series of uninformed television briefings, chose to declare victory and pronounce the problem over.

He defied the warnings of public health experts and showed contempt for social distancing and wearing masks. He has created misunderstandings and sowed division by encouraging Americans to rebel against the reasonable public health measures put in place by their governors and mayors. He's trying to end insurance coverage for millions, and on Tuesday, as America set a record for new daily cases, he began to officially withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization.

An unhinged leader at a time of crisis

If that record of misjudgment, negligence, incompetence and lying was not enough, in his recent rallies in Tulsa and Phoenix, Trump knowingly exposed thousands of Americans to disease and death so that he could receive their applause. He acts more like the leader of an apocalyptic cult than a president.

America faces the gravest possible challenge, with an increasingly unhinged leader. Along with most other Americans, I have tried to comfort myself knowing that the election is coming and that Trump is virtually certain to be defeated. But it will be more than six months until former Vice President Joe Biden is sworn in as president. Having seen the past six months, it is frightening to contemplate how much more damage Trump would do in his final six.

We are not bound to stand by while thousands of Americans get sick and die, and our country goes down the drain. To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, the Constitution is not a "suicide pact."

Spiking across America:Trump's 'mission accomplished' moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

A bipartisan stand by Congress could put pressure on Trump to leave office, but there is no reason to believe that Senate Republicans, even after disgracing themselves in the impeachment trial, will break with Trump in an election year. The 25th Amendment specifies how the Cabinet can remove a president whose disability makes him incapable of doing his job, but a Cabinet led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr will not put “country first” any time soon.