Many of us are struggling with depression, anxiety, and anger in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. Families have splintered apart, which gives rise to both guilt and a loss of familial support systems. I, myself, have noticed a tenfold increase in my temper, and some days just getting out of bed is hard. But these are mental side effects of having a very bad man foisted on us as, of all things, president. The number of people affected physically by Trump and his fascist governing style is also very concerning. And too often the actions of Trump or the lack thereof have resulted in death, with the potential of more to come. This begs the question: Do we have a serial killer in the Oval Office? There is compelling evidence that we do.
I was just reading today that the suicide rate among America’s farmers is 84.5 per 100,000. That’s a huge number, about five times higher than the overall rate of suicide in the U.S. On an interesting side note, 60,000 farmer suicides in India have been linked to climate change. Imagine that: something that the Republicans say doesn’t even exist is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. But I digress. Here in this country, the farmers are losing money and taking out loans they can’t repay. That, of course, stirs up a whole new set of problems. CBS says, “Health care and mental-health services can be critical...particularly in rural areas, where medical care may be scarce. The farm bill that passed the House last week threatens to undo that...because it allows for health insurance to sell plans that exclude mental health coverage.” And that’s the way the Trump administration operates: If the issue at hand doesn’t touch them directly and/or allow them to further line their own pockets, then the rest of the population be damned. And farmers, even those who voted for Trump, are in a group where the suicide rate is rising.
The administration’s attention to the tragedy in Puerto Rico has waned, not that anyone in Puerto Rico would notice, since they were all but ignored after the storm anyway. I’ve heard justifiable calls for Trump to be held accountable for 4,600 deaths, which would make him, appropriately, an incredibly successful mass murderer. Whether his inaction was due to the fact that this is a Spanish speaking territory will probably never be known, although his comments and obvious bigotry toward Latinos was established even in his campaign. In fact, his hatred became the basis of one of his primary campaign promises as he promised to build his infamous and ridiculously stupid wall. His supporters didn’t register this as bigotry, of course; to them, it was strength and his being tough on border security. At any rate, whether it was bigotry or sheer stupidity that caused Trump to handle the aftermath of Maria in Puerto Rico so ineptly, thousands of lives were lost, and the blame lies squarely at Trump’s feet, although he dismissively blamed the Democrats (as usual) and the mayor of San Juan, who only wanted desperately to save her people. You know, what a good leader would do, as opposed to Trump, who tossed a few rolls of paper towels at the victims and rushed home to his golf course.
Trump promised to save the coal industry, but his actions and sometimes inactions have resulted in the deaths of 15 miners since he took office.
Nicole Goodkind of Newsweek Magazine says, “Mining advocates put some of the blame on the president, whose support for mine owners has led to relaxed safety enforcement, scores of inexperienced new miners and inconsistent commitment to training programs and courses. In the meantime, Republicans in the House want to cut mine safety budgets further, and Trump, who says he supports coal miners, has been silent on a Senate bill that would shore up miners’ pensions.” Once again, he bears at least some responsibility for these deaths. Trump giveth, but he also taketh away.
Since Trump’s Ill-advised move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, lives have been lost in the resulting protests and violence. Before 2017 ended, 12 people had died as a result of Trump’s announcement. He was warned by other world leaders not to move the US embassy, but Trump takes advice from no one or, at least, no one qualified to offer sound advice. Trump moves without caution or forethought, and this is what cost the lives of an American navy Seal, along with civilian women and children, when he okayed a military operation in Yemen that was premature and essentially a suicide mission. Trump, as is his way, declared the raid a tremendous success, but it was actually a fiasco resulting in needless loss of life.
Trump’s sanction of white supremacists and the evil they represent has resulted in increased boldness among American bigots. One especially notable death for which Trump bears blame is that of Heather Heyer, a civil rights activist killed when a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd of protesters at a Charlottesville, VA, protest against a white power rally. The violence incited by bigoted bullies empowered by the president has resulted in property damage, vandalism, and injury. It’s only a matter of time until the death toll related to his complicity rises.
With the current immigration crisis created by Trump and his administration, we don’t yet know what the human toll will be, but it’s a situation fertile for eventual violence and even suicides. Those seeking asylum here who face violence and likely death in their home countries will be depending on an amoral president with no discernible conscience for their very lives. If our brief history with this disaster of a human being tells us anything, it tells us that too many deaths will once again be directly attributed to Trump. He lacks the compassion and the wisdom to act for the greater good. Asylum seekers, should they be reunited with their children, will likely be deported as he has promised, to face the horror they were trying to escape. And Trump will count that in his ‘win’ column, just as the Christian Right, his base, will count it.
A serial killer is defined as someone who kills three or more people on two separate occasions. The worst serial killer in history killed somewhere between 170 to 300 victims. If we tally just the definite number of deaths I’ve talked about here that we can attribute at least in part to Trump, we have a total of well over 4,600 deaths. It’s just possible that Donald Trump will be remembered, not only as the worst president in American history, but also as the most prolific serial killer in the history of the world. And we’re only a year and a half into his reign of terror. I’d say we have the basis for a riveting and haunting murder movie, but who would believe it?
Other commentaries by Gail Barth:Daughters in the Time of Trump
Gospel of Trump
Dear Donald Trump and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens
Sing-Along with Donald Trump