“Negligent homicide occurs when a defendant kills another person while engaging in conduct that they should have known carried risks.”
The last months have been some of the most difficult in the history of our republic and there appears to be no end in sight. COVID-19 is devastating our country, with experts predicting near a quarter of million dead by election day. Many who survive the plague face months of recovery and may experience serious neurological, respiratory, and cardiac side effects for an exceptionally long time.
When the surge hit the Northeast and particularly New York and New Jersey, we hardly knew anything about COVID-19. Thanks to heroic actions by governors, scientists, and everyday Americans, we learned (and are still learning) painful lessons about how to fight this virus. Tragically, hundreds of thousands died on this learning curve.
Months into this pandemic, we have a core base of knowledge that is accepted by the scientific and medical communities. This includes these basics: shutdowns did work; opening up too soon is deadly; our economy can’t recover until we get this pandemic under control; wearing masks and social distancing is the most effective way for individual Americans to fight the disease; and local leaders can’t fight the pandemic alone without strong national leadership.
Clear, powerful, and courageous leadership is urgently needed at the national level.
At first, Trump was overwhelmed by COVID-19. This virus respected no boundaries, no blue states or red states, no political party and certainly couldn’t care less about the upcoming election. Trump fumbled around looking for a place that he should land when this virus, which he had been warned about, arrived. I honestly believed that in the early days he was like the rest of us, attempting to find his way on a road filled with harsh and bloody rocks.
We will give him those early moments.
Instead of providing the national leadership urgently required with regard to testing, masks and contact tracing, Trump has progressed along the most evil and disastrous path imaginable, allowing Americans to die in an attempt to save his presidency.
There is no disputing this fact. Now, Trump undoubtedly has the information and knowledge needed to make tough decisions, and he has chosen his own well-being over the national interest.
It is one thing to ignore a crisis and hope it will go away, or to not be able to summon the leadership required. It is another to embark on a program of deliberately disseminating misinformation with full knowledge that the path will kill tens of thousands of Americans.
His actions over the last weeks, with the support of his henchmen Ron DeSantis, Brian Kemp, Greg Abbott and Doug Ducey, perfectly fit the definition of negligent homicide. By refusing to curb this pandemic for political reasons, spreading copious amounts of disinformation, and implementing a campaign of character assassination against those attempting to oppose his deadly policies, Trump has created a clear-cut case for his indictment.
Unfortunately, there is great legal uncertainty as to whether a U.S. president can be indicted for any of his policies. Most constitutional lawyers would say that he cannot.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently made clear that no person, including this president, is above the law. Trump’s actions in recent weeks will lead to hundreds of thousands of American deaths and tens of thousands of others will be damaged for life by the disease. He knowingly chose a path that not only failed to slow the pandemic but one that aided its spread for political reasons.
It is time to hold him responsible for these premeditated actions and indict him for negligent homicide. I hope somewhere in America there is a brave prosecutor or district attorney that will put those charges in front of a grand jury of Americans and let them decide if Trump’s crimes against humanity are so egregious that he should be indicted.
Our president is a killer.
All opinions expressed are those of the author.
David Mixner, whom Newsweek once named the most powerful gay man in America, has been a highly regarded leader in American politics and international human rights for over 40 years and is a best-selling author of Stranger Among Friends, At Home with Myself, and Brave Journeys (co-written with Dennis Bailey). A sought after keynote speaker around the globe, Mixner has lectured at Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and the London School of Economics.
Mixner has raised over $30 million for candidates and charity organizations, including well over $1 million for openly gay and lesbian candidates across the country, and has participated in over 75 election campaigns, serving as campaign manager, fundraiser, or strategist. Campaigns include Gephardt for President, Clinton for President, Hart for President, McGovern for President, Bradley for Mayor, and Brown for Governor and Senate. Additionally, Mixner is a past member of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Party National Commission on Delegate Selection and Party Reform, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund (former National Co-Chair).