Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Worst President In U.S. History

Growth Of COVID-19 Cases In Each State In The Last Week

These numbers are from The COVID Tracking Project.

The first number for each state is the number of cases they had on 5/23/20. The second number is the number of cases on 5/30/20 (one week later).

Alabama..........13938 -- 17359
Alaska..........408 -- 434
Arizona..........16039 -- 19255
Arkansas..........5612 -- 7013
California.........90631 -- 106878
Colorado..........23487 -- 25613
Connecticut.........40022 -- 42022
Delaware..........8690 -- 9422
District of Columbia..........7966 -- 8717
Florida..........50127 -- 55424
Georgia..........42132 -- 46286
Hawaii..........642 -- 649
Idaho..........2595 -- 2803
Illinois..........107796 -- 118917
Indiana..........30901 -- 34211
Iowa..........16893 -- 19244
Kansas..........8958 -- 9719
Kentucky..........8426 -- 9464
Louisiana..........37040 -- 39577
Maine..........2013 -- 2282
Maryland..........45495 -- 52015
Massachusetts..........91662 -- 96301
Michigan..........54365 -- 56884
Minnesota..........19845 -- 24190
Mississippi..........13005 -- 15229
Missouri..........11752 -- 12962
Montana..........479 -- 505
Nebraska..........11662 -- 13654
Nevada..........7696 -- 8495
New Hampshire..........4089 -- 4492
New Jersey..........153104 -- 159608
New Mexico..........6625 -- 7493
New York..........359926 -- 369660
North Carolina..........22725 -- 27673
North Dakota..........2365 -- 2554
Ohio..........31408 -- 35034
Oklahoma..........5960 -- 6418
Oregon..........3888 -- 4185
Pennsylvania..........66983 -- 72031
Rhode Island..........13952 -- 14819
South Carolina..........9895 -- 11394
South Dakota..........4468 -- 4960
Tennessee..........19789 -- 22566
Texas..........53449 -- 61006
Utah..........8260 -- 9533
Vermont..........954 -- 977
Virginia..........35749 -- 43611
Washington..........19265 -- 21071
West Virginia..........1717 -- 1974
Wisconsin..........14877 -- 18230
Wyoming..........813 -- 898

Virgin Islands..........69 -- 69
Puerto Rico..........3100 -- 3718
Guam..........165 -- 173

The Blamer

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Most Of The Minneapolis Rioting Is From Outside Groups

For several days now, there have been protests in Minneapolis and other cities around the nation. These protesters are demonstrating against the police violence which happens far too often against Blacks.

These people have the right to protest. Something must be done to rein in police violence and racist activities in Minneapolis and across the nation.

Unfortunately, as night falls the demonstrating has been turning to violence and rioting. Many buildings have been burned down.

This is not the work of those honest Blacks (and Whites) who want to end the racism and police violence. Most of them have gone home before the rioting starts, and Minneapolis officials have said the 80% of those arrested for rioting have been from out-of-state.

Both Donald Trump and his lap dog (William Barr) want you to think that all of this violence is coming from left-wing groups. That is simply not true.

I don't doubt that some of the rioters are ultra-left anarchists, but there are those from the right that are rioting also. Many of those who have been arrested have been linked to white supremacist groups. They are not there to protest racism or police violence (both of which they support). They want to see Blacks and progressive Whites blamed, thinking they can use that to justify their own sick agenda. And some of them are even trying to foment a civil war (race war) that they hope will result in a white authoritarian government being established.

Don't let the anarchists and the white supremacists defame the honest protesters. Both are just trying to accomplish their own perverted agenda.

We need to end racism and reform police departments in this country. But we won't do that through violence, or listening to the anti-democratic forces of the ultra-left anarchists or the rabid-right white supremacists. We must be better than that if our democracy is to survive.

Who Are The Real Thugs?

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Inequality In The United States Is Growing More Unequal

We already had a nation that was unequal before Donald Trump became president. It was due to the failed Republican "trickle-down" economic policy that has been in effect for the last forty years. That policy has tilted the economic playing field to benefit the rich (and corporations) at the expense of all other Americans.

That inequality was exacerbated by the Trump/Republican tax cuts in 2017. Now the Trump administration's delays in dealing with the Coronavirus epidemic has made the situation much worse. While most Americans suffer, the rich are getting richer (especially billionaires).

Consider this article by Jake Johnson at

Statistics released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor show that with 2.1 million new unemployment claims filed last week, a staggering 40.7 million Americanshave lost their jobs over just the past 10 weeks as mass layoffs induced by the coronavirus pandemic continue.

During that same 10-week period, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the combined net worth of America's billionaires soared by nearly half a trillion dollars, bringing their total wealth to $3.4 trillion.

"Billionaire wealth is surging at the same time that millions face suffering, hardship, and loss of life," IPS, a progressive think tank, said Thursday, noting that more than 100,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the United States. "This is a grotesque indicator of the deep inequalities in U.S. society."

IPS, which has been publishing weekly updates on billionaire "pandemic profiteering," found that the combined net worth of U.S. billionaires grew by $485 billion between March 18 and May 28, an increase of 16.5%.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos—the richest man in the world—and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw their combined wealth soar by $63 billion over the last 10 weeks.

Meanwhile, as Common Dreams reported, a $2-an-hour hazard pay increase for Amazon warehouse workers is set to expire at the end of the day Sunday.

IPS found that there are currently 16 more billionaires than there were in mid-March, when many U.S. states began locking down their economies as Covid-19 spread rapidly across the country.

"This isn't just unsustainable," IPS tweeted of the surge in billionaire wealth. "It's unconscionable."

Not Safe

Political Cartoon is by Rex A. Jones at

Biden Speaks On Racism

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Roger Stone

Has The Minneapolis Police Murder Hurt Klobuchar?

The chart above reflects the results of the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between March 23rd and 26th of 1500 adults nationwide, with a 3.2 point margin of error. This chart reflects the views of Black voters on some of serious candidates Joe Biden could pick to be his vice-presidential running mate.

The Black vote is very important to the Democratic Party, and it would help Biden to pick a candidate well-liked by Black voters. This chart shows that Elizabeth Warren is viewed favorably by most Blacks (about 65%). Others who do well are Amy Klobuchar (54%), Kamala Harris (53%), and Stacey Abrams (49%).

But the poll was done before the police murder in Minneapolis, and one has to consider whether that has hurt Klobuchar's chances to be selected. Before being elected to statewide office, Klobuchar was a prosecuting attorney in Minneapolis, and her record of prosecuting police for abuse is not necessarily one to be proud of. Here is just a part of how The New York Times is reporting it.

Senator Amy Klobuchar swept into office in 2007 as a former tough prosecutor, boasting of how she had reduced crime in the most populous county in Minnesota. But as protests over George Floyd’s death in police custody bring chaos and violence to Minneapolis, her record as prosecutor there is facing renewed scrutiny as she prepares to be vetted as a leading vice-presidential contender.

With a police force in Minneapolis that has long faced accusations of racism and complaints of abuse, Ms. Klobuchar declined to bring charges against multiple police officers who were involved in shootings during her seven-year tenure. Instead she often opted to send cases to a grand jury, a common practice at the time but one that some law enforcement experts say favors police officers.

On Friday, Ms. Klobuchar said that grand juries were used “in every jurisdiction across our state,” and that she now regretted those decisions.

“I think that was wrong now,” she said in an interview on MSNBC. “I think it would have been much better if I took the responsibility and looked at the cases and made the decision myself.”. . .

During her own presidential campaign, Ms. Klobuchar faced continued protests, as well as some calls to drop out of the race from local black leaders in Minneapolis, after news reports found numerous faults in the prosecution of a black teenager named Myon Burrell while Ms. Klobuchar was the prosecutor. Mr. Burrell had been charged in the murder of an 11-year-old girl and was convicted, but maintained his innocence, and one of Mr. Burrell’s co-defendents had said he was in fact the gunman responsible.

Two days before Super Tuesday in March, a rally in her home state was shut down by protesters demanding she do more to help free Mr. Burrell.

In the months since she dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Mr. Biden, Ms. Klobuchar has taken steps to rectify some of her record.

On the Wednesday after Mr. Biden dominated Super Tuesday states, Ms. Klobuchar sent a letter from her Senate office to the district attorney’s office in Hennepin County, asking them to launch an independent review of Mr. Burrell’s case. She also met with Mr. Burrell’s family and local activists.

Has this hurt Klobuchar's chances of being selected? I have to believe it probably has. Joe Biden needs Black voters to show up in large numbers next November, and picking Klobuchar now would just create a problem that he doesn't need.

A Stupid Man With Stupid Priorities

Political Cartoon is by Michael deAdder in The Toronto Star.

Charges Are Finally Filed Against Minneapolis Policeman

The images above are the charging instrument filed against Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Chauvin has been arrested finally.

Frankly, I don't understand why it took so long to file those charges. The video of Chauvin with his knee on the neck of Floyd for nearly nine minutes has been public for days, and Chauvin's action was AFTER Floyd was handcuffed and on the ground. The incident should have been over once the handcuffs were applied. Chauvin's actions after that were nothing short of assault -- an assault that turned into murder.

So far, the other three officers have not had any charges filed against them, but have been fired. Charges should also be filed against them. They had to know that Chauvin's actions were unnecessary and dangerous, but they did nothing to stop him. That makes them at least accessories to Chauvin's crime.

There is criticism of the rioting that occurred in Minneapolis on Thursday night. I don't condone that rioting or arson. But I do believe it could all have been avoided by the Minneapolis and Minnesota state officials acting in a timely manner. But they didn't, and the demonstrations were understandable (even if some protesters took their protest too far).

The police murders of unarmed Black men are happening far too often in this country. It has to stop!

Judge, Jury, And Executioner

Political Cartoon is by Adam Zyglis in The Buffalo News.

The Voice Of Reason And Truth

Friday, May 29, 2020

Malcom X

The Occupant Of The White House Is Mentally Deranged

Is Donald Trump a mentally deranged individual? His actions certainly seem to indicate that.

Here's how Kevin Drum describes it in Mother Jones:

In the past few days Donald Trump has:
  • Cranked up the volume on his pointless cold wars with China and Iran
  • Turned mask wearing into a culture war campaign issue
  • Accused a TV host of murdering an intern
  • Declared war on voting by mail
  • Insisted that James Comey and a variety of others should be in jail
  • Pushed an absurd “unmasking” non-scandal
  • Insisted that Barack Obama personally led a spying campaign against him
  • Retweeted a video saying “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat”
  • Retweeted QAnon conspiracy theories
All of this has happened in the midst of an enormous pandemic which should be occupying all his time. Instead he’s virtually ignoring it because he can’t figure out what to do aside from handing it over to his son-in-law and then hauling out his iPhone to tweet about something he heard on Fox & Friends.
Is Trump mentally unstable? I don’t know. But he’s sure not mentally all there, is he? What kind of leader decides he can just shut his eyes to a deadly pandemic and instead spend all his time plotting revenge on enemies both real and imagined? Only a mentally deranged one. When will the Republican Party finally realize just what kind of trouble they’ve gotten us into?

The Flag

Political Cartoon is by Darrin Bell at

Another 2.123 Million Workers Filed For Unemployment

The Labor Department released its statistics for unemployment claims filed in the week ending 5/23/20. The total was 2,123,000 new claims filed. That brings the total of unemployment claims filed in the last 10 weeks to 40,746,000 -- about 26% of the civilian workforce (156,481,000).

Here is the official statement from the Labor Department:

In the week ending May 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 2,123,000, a decrease of 323,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 8,000 from 2,438,000 to 2,446,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,608,000, a decrease of 436,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 2,000 from 3,042,000 to 3,044,000.

Fill In The Blank

Political Cartoon is by Jimmy Margulies at

This Virus Can't Be Tolerated Any Longer In The U.S.

(This cartoon image is by Ed Hall at

We have learned recently that the Coronavirus pandemic has been hitting minority communities harder than white communities. But Blacks could handle that if it was the only problem they faced. Unfortunately, it isn't. There is another sickness that is killing Black Americans far too often -- racism.

Racism is not new. It has been around even longer than the U.S. has been a country -- and it has been killing for all that time. We have been reminded of it twice in just the last few days -- in Georgia and Minnesota, where unarmed Black citizens were killed seemingly just because of their color.

This is senseless and wrong! It must be stopped, and the only people who can stop it are whites. Whites invented racism, and they are the only ones that can stop it. They must make it clear that it will not be tolerated any longer -- not in the White House, and not in our neighborhoods or our institutions.

The following thought-provoking article was written by by civil rights attorney Ben Crump for The Washington Post. It's well worth reading.

George Floyd’s close-to-last words in life — “I can’t breathe” — capture perfectly how so many black Americans feel in watching the slow, grueling video of his death.
Another black person killed. Another heartbreaking death caught on video — this time with a crowd of witnesses calling for police restraint and pleading with officers to honor their oath and save his life.
Another grieving family. Another hashtag. It’s no wonder we can’t breathe.
This cascade of recent cases — Ahmaud Arbery, jogging while black; Breonna Taylor, sleeping while black; and most recently, George Floyd, encountering police while black — has sharpened the focus of all Americans on two inescapable realities: Our society and its institutions place a perilously low value on black lives, and it’s inherently dangerous to be black in America.
That the life of George, whose family I represent, was so disposable for not one but four police officers, even with witnesses watching and pleading for him, underscores the daily, disproportionate risk that all black people feel just by virtue of being black.
If not for the omnipresence of video evidence, these deaths would be swept under the rug. The stories would be twisted. The victims would be blamed. And justice would slip away. But we can’t unsee the eight minutes of that officer’s knee on George’s neck, leading to his slow, torturous death. We watch George lying helpless on the ground, calling out for his mother, and we imagine ourselves, our brothers or sisters, sons or daughters in his place.
And then we hear that nagging thought that keeps coming back and demanding us to face it: How many more deaths have not been captured on video? How long has this been going on without witnesses or documentation? Is this an outlier or is this endemic? And it starts to feel like genocide.
George Floyd’s public execution has provoked a deep grieving among black Americans that can only be assuaged by soul-searching, heart-rending change.
Swiftly firing the police officers who killed or aided in the killing of George is a start. Prosecuting them is better. Fixing the police culture that made it possible is better yet.
Grief and anger propelled hundreds of protesters onto the streets of Minneapolis this week. I joined George’s family in calling for protests to be peaceful and for protesters to observe proper social distancing. We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors, and we cannot endanger each other even as we respond to the necessary urge to raise our voices in unison and in outrage.
But city leaders need to understand that the community’s grief over the horrific killing of George demands more than condemnation and personnel action. The city must own this. One officer may act in rogue fashion. Three more officers watching an execution go down and doing nothing is a sign of a deeper problem.
To assuage this death and begin the community’s healing, city and police leaders need to look at the culture they’ve created and ask the hard questions: How did our recruitment, our values, our training, our policies and our procedures collectively fail to the extent that four officers inflicted or accepted a fatal civil rights violation? Why did no one speak up despite pleas to save George? Where was the humanity? Where was the ethic to protect and serve?
The Minneapolis Police Department received at least seven prior complaints against Derek Chauvin, the officer who fatally pressed his knee into George’s neck, but closed the cases without taking disciplinary action. He was involved in multiple fatal shootings, earning him a place on a report by Communities United Against Police Brutality called “Stolen Lives in Minnesota: People Who Have Lost their Lives through Encounters with Law Enforcement Authorities.”
The city needs to re-examine those complaints and incidents and see what it might have previously detected about the character of this officer if it had only been looking. And it needs to put processes in place that root out anyone wearing a badge with a tendency toward brutality, racism, abuse of power or excessive use of force.
This is a moment for deep reflection and fundamental change. What implicit biases fester to put black Americans at risk? How much do we truly value black lives when we really look at the evidence? And what can we do to correct course?
It’s a moment for all Americans to take a hard look in the mirror, change themselves and demand change from their institutions. Only then will we be able to breathe again.

South Of The (Canadian) Border

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at

Moral Courage Is A Rare Commodity

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Small, Weak, Insecure, Coward

Poll Shows Most Voters Support Mail-In Voting

The charts above reflect the results of the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 23rd and 26th of a national sample of 1,157 registered voters, with a 3.4 point margin of error.

Trump and his congressional Republican cohorts are fighting against giving Americans the chance to use mail-in voting. But once again, this puts them at odds with the voting public.

About 65% of registered voters support mail-in voting (including 84% of Democrats, 53% of Independents, and 42% of Republicans).

Trump and congressional Republicans are afraid they will lose if large numbers of voters turn out in November. But they may lose votes now by putting voters in danger by blocking efforts to let everyone vote by mail.

Attacking The Messenger

Political Cartoon is by Andy Marlette in the Pensacola News Journal.

Public Doesn't Have Confidence In Donald Trump

These charts reflect the results of the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between May 23rd and 26th of a national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,157 registered voters). The margin of error for adults is 3.2 points, and for registered voters is 3.4 points.

Early on, people were giving Trump the benefit of the doubt in his handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. But his lying and mishandling of the crisis has cost him support. Now adults who don't have confidence lead those that do by a 15 point margin. And it's worse among registered voters, where no confidence leads confidence by 17 points.

And he's also starting to lose support on the economy (his one issue where support outranked non-support before the virus struck). Now the non-confidence leads those who are confident by 4 points among adults, and 7 points among registered voters.

American Justice

Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at

Failing To Help State & Local Governments Will Turn This Recession Into An Extended Depression

Donald Trump is trying to force states to reopen right now, even though the pandemic has yet to be controlled. But congressional Republicans don't seem to understand that their delaying is working against an economic recovery. They don't want to pass the House stimulus bill, part of which would bail out state and local governments -- who have had to spend to control the virus while having their revenue stream cut dramatically because of it. Majority Leader McConnell has even said the states should declare bankruptcy.

Our recovery will not magically happen just because Trump and Republicans want it to happen. If the states are not bailed out, the cuts they will have to make will hurt the economy -- costing more jobs and turning the recession into a much longer depression.

Here's part of how Josh Bivens at the Economic Policy Institute puts it:

Congress is currently debating a new relief and recover package—the HEROES Act—that would deliver significant amounts of fiscal aid to state and local governments—more than $1 trillion over the next two years, all told. This is a very welcome proposal. The incredibly steep recession we’re currently in is guaranteed to torpedo state and local governments’ ability to collect revenues. Further, nearly all of these governments are tightly constrained—both by law as well as by genuine economic constraints—from taking on large amounts of debt to maintain spending in the face of this downward shock to their revenues. The result will be intense pressure for large cutbacks in public spending by state and local governments in coming years. Such cutbacks would be absolutely devastating to the cause of restarting the economy and allowing people to find jobs, even if the virus has completely abated.
We know how devastating these cutbacks would be because we have lived through the mistake of allowing them to drag on growth in the quite recent past. State and local governments became relentless anti-stimulus machinesduring most of the recovery from the Great Recession of 2008–2009. This post highlights a couple of findings from that period that should inform policymakers’ decisions this time around.
  • Growth in state and local spending was far slower during the recovery following the Great Recession than in any other post–World War II business cycle on record.
  • This state and local spending austerity dragged heavily on growth during that time. If this spending had instead followed the trajectory it established following the recovery from the similarly steep recession of the early 1980s, pre-recession unemployment rates could have been achieved by early 2013 rather than 2017. In short, this austerity delayed recovery by over four years.
  • Recent justifications for denying aid to state and local governments sometimes rest on claims that this spending has been profligate in recent years. This is absolutely not so—growth in state and local spending has been historically slow for nearly two decades. Given the importance of what this spending focuses on (education, health care, public order), this decades-long disinvestment should be reversed, not accelerated due to an unforeseen economic crisis.
  • If federal aid is passed that is sufficient to close the enormous revenue shortfalls the economic crisis will cause for state and local governments, it will create or save roughly 5–6 million jobs by the end of 2021. Without this aid, we will remain at least that far away from a full economic recovery by then.
Public spending austerity was a catastrophe for recovery and growth following the Great Recession of 2008–2009. During the official recession from January 2008 to June 2009, policymakers instituted significant fiscal recovery efforts, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was passed in early 2009. However, one year after the recession’s official end, the unemployment rate was at 9.4%, and fully two years after it was still at 9.1%. The lesson here is simple: The criteria for whether or not the economy needs continued fiscal support is not “is it in official recession or not?” Instead, it is “is the economy at full employment or not?”
The spending austerity in the 2010s was the entire reason why it took a full decade to return to pre-crisis unemployment rates following the onset of the Great Recession. It is why millions of Americans struggled—through no fault of their own—to find work and it is a key reason why wages for tens of millions of Americans barely kept pace with price inflation over this time, as labor markets remained too soft to give workers the bargaining power they needed to demand better-paying jobs.

Fat Cats Cutting In The Line

Political Cartoon is by Alexandra Bowman.

He Is Responsible

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Just A Hoax?

More Have Favorable Opinion Of Democrats Than GOP

The charts above are from the Civiqs Poll. They questioned over 341,000 registered voters between January 15th and May 25th. They asked them if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Republican and Democratic parties.

Neither party was able to register more favorable than unfavorable opinions, but the Democrats fared better than the Republicans. Republicans had a negative 23 point net rating (34% favorable to 57% unfavorable). Democrats had a negative 12 point net rating (40% favorable to 52% unfavorable).

Republicans are not helping themselves by delaying the next stimulus bill and opposing mail-in voting. It almost seems they are trying to lose the next election.

Today's Heroes

Political Cartoon is by Andy Marlette in the Pensacola News Journal.

Only 40% Of The GOP Say COVID-19 More Lethal Than Flu

The chart above is from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between May 17th and 29th of a national sample of 1,693 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

When the Coronavirus pandemic reached this country, Donald Trump tried to minimize it by saying it was no more dangerous than the flu. Evidently, too many Republicans believed him. In March, only 42% of Republicans thought the Coronavirus was more lethal than the flu. By April, when it was obvious that many thousands were dying, that number actually went down to 40%.

By comparison, 61% of Independents believed it was more lethal in March, and that grew to 66% in April. Among Democrats, 74% believed it was more lethal in March and that rose to 87% in April.

Spreading The Virus

Political Cartoon is by Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer.

Trump's Inability To Admit Mistakes Has Become Dangerous

Everyone makes mistakes. That is just a fact. And presidents are no different than anyone else.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump has a tragic character flaw -- he cannot admit making a mistake, and he cannot apologize. He thinks admitting an error and apologizing is a sign of weakness.

He is wrong. It is not weakness. It shows a strength of character.

This is especially important in a president, because the citizens look to him for leadership. They must trust him, and know that if he makes a mistake, he will admit it and alter his course. Trump's inability to do that has become more than just a character flaw, but due to the Coronavirus crisis has become dangerous to American citizens.

We need a leader that can admit his infallibility -- some who puts the good of the country above his own desires (especially a desire to always be right).

Here is how Paul Krugman describes this in his New York Times column:

Last week Joe Biden made an off-the-cuff joke that could be interpreted as taking African-American votes for granted. It wasn’t a big deal — Biden, who loyally served Barack Obama, has long had a strong affinity with black voters, and he has made a point of issuing policy proposals aimed at narrowing racial health and wealth gaps. Still, Biden apologized.

And in so doing he made a powerful case for choosing him over Donald Trump in November. You see, Biden, unlike Trump, is capable of admitting error.

Everybody makes mistakes, and nobody likes admitting having been wrong. But facing up to past mistakes is a crucial aspect of leadership.

Consider, for example, changing guidance on face masks. In the initial phase of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Americans it wasn’t necessary to wear masks in public. In early April, however, the C.D.C. reversed course in the light of new evidence on how the coronavirus spreads, in particular that it can be spread by people who aren’t showing any symptoms. So it recommended that everyone start wearing cloth masks when outside the home.

What would have happened if the C.D.C. had refused to admit it had been wrong, keeping its initial recommendations instead? The answer, almost surely, is that the death toll from Covid-19 so far would be much higher than it is. In other words, refusing to admit mistakes isn’t just a character flaw; it can lead to disaster.

And under Donald Trump, that’s exactly what has happened.

Trump’s pathological inability to admit error — and yes, it really does rise to the level of pathology — has been obvious for years, and has had serious consequences. For example, it has made him an easy mark for foreign dictators like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, who know they can safely renege on whatever promises Trump thought they made. After all, for him to condemn Kim’s actions would mean admitting he was wrong to claim he had achieved a diplomatic breakthrough.

But it took a pandemic to show just how much damage a leader with an infallibility complex can inflict. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that Trump’s inability to acknowledge error has killed thousands of Americans. And it looks likely to kill many more before this is over.

Indeed, in the same week that Biden committed his harmless gaffe, Trump doubled down on his bizarre idea that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine can prevent Covid-19, claiming that he was taking it himself, even as new studies suggested that the drug actually increases mortality. We may never know how many people died because Trump kept touting the drug, but the number is certainly more than zero.

Yet Trump’s strange foray into pharmacology pales in significance compared with the way his insistence that he’s always right about everything has crippled America’s response to a deadly virus.

We now know that during January and February Trump ignored repeated warnings from intelligence agencies about the threat posed by the virus. He and his inner circle didn’t want to hear bad news, and in particular didn’t want to hear anything that might threaten the stock market.

What’s really striking, however, is what happened in the first half of March. By then the evidence of an emerging pandemic was overwhelming. Yet Trump and company refused to act, persisting in their happy talk — largely, one suspects, because they couldn’t bring themselves to admit that their earlier reassurances had been wrong. By the time Trump finally (and briefly) faced reality, it was too late to prevent a death toll that’s about to pass 100,000.

And the worst may be yet to come. If you aren’t terrified by photos of large crowds gathering over Memorial Day weekend without either wearing masks or practicing social distancing, you haven’t been paying attention.

Yet if there is a second wave of Covid-19 cases, Trump — who has insistently called for a relaxation of social distancing despite warnings from health experts — has already declared that he won’t call for a second lockdown. After all, that would mean admitting, at least implicitly, that he was wrong to push for early reopening in the first place.

Which brings me back to the contrast between Trump and Biden.

In some ways Trump is a pitiful figure — or would be, if his character flaws weren’t leading to so many deaths. Imagine what it must be like to be so insecure, so lacking in self-regard, that you not only feel the need to engage in constant boasting, but have to claim infallibility on every issue.

Biden, on the other hand, while he may not be the most impressive presidential candidate ever, is clearly a man comfortable in his own skin. He knows who he is, which is why he has been able to reconcile with former critics like Elizabeth Warren. And when he makes a mistake, he isn’t afraid to admit it.

Over the past few months we’ve seen just how much damage a president who’s never wrong can do. Wouldn’t it be a relief to have the White House occupied by someone who isn’t infallible?