With President Donald Trump closing out his 2020 campaign by dismissing the seriousness of Covid-19, John Oliver looked back at his handling of the pandemic on Last Week Tonight, Sunday, November 1st.
Trump — and some of his supporters — have claimed he’s done the best he could with the virus, prompting Oliver to examine the major areas where the president could have, in fact, done way more to halt its spread and devastation. The host touched on the early warning signs that were ignored, and Trump’s much-touted China travel ban, which was implemented two weeks after the first known coronavirus case in the U.S., was riddled with loopholes, and also didn’t address the travel from Europe that primarily caused the virus’ spread in New York City.
“To listen to Trump tell it, he banned travel from China and job done,” Oliver cracked. “So if you’ve lost a loved one to this virus, I’ve got some great news: You didn’t! They’re completely fine! They’ve just been busy jet-setting all across the world, enjoying live performances with thousands of their closest friends.”
The Trump administration also ignored early warnings about the lack of personal protective equipment for hospitals and individuals, including those raised by a mask manufacturer in the U.S. who’d voted for Trump. As a result, Oliver noted, the U.S. was scrambling for equipment at the same time as the rest of the world, and the White House’s solution was to let Jared Kushner create a supply chain task force of volunteers in their 20s.
“I’m not saying that young people are all dumb idiots — Mozart composed a minuet at age six, [Mark Zuckerberg] created the downfall of society at age 19,” Oliver cracked. “You just hope that everyone on the federal task force would have resource management experience that goes a little beyond, ‘I played Settlers of Catan at my friend Topher’s house one night and I actually did pretty well!’”
Oliver ended by criticizing Trump’s public communication about the severity of the virus, the way he immediately politicized wearing masks, and the lack of empathy he’s displayed throughout the ordeal. To emphasize the last point, Oliver played a clip of a medical worker trying to stress the traumatic impact dealing with Covid-19 has had on his peers, to which Trump responded by handing out a bunch of commemorative pens.
“This virus has taken so much from us,” Oliver railed in closing. “Our peace of mind, our routines, and nearly a quarter of a million Americans. And it’s frankly pathetic that in response the only things Trump has offered people in this country over the past eight months are damaging lies, staggering incompetence, and occasionally — when he’s feeling generous — some shitty fucking pens.”