By Zach Zimmermann
Let’s face it, Trump is the living embodiment of hypocrisy. This hypocrisy has run rampant throughout Trump’s four years and has only been more exacerbated and exposed thanks to the pandemic. Perhaps most notably were the Bob Woodward’s interview tapes that recorded Trump admitting that he intentionally downplayed the pandemic to the US public. Did Trump learn his lesson? Simply put, no, because even more recently, Trump got embroiled in yet another scandal. Trump’s new scandal emitted hypocrisy by not only challenging his previous actions, but it also questioned the legitimacy of his own ideologies and those of a large portion of his base. That is, during Trump’s COVID treatment process, he received drugs named Remdesivir and Regeneron to help him recover and curb his symptoms. The catch, however, is that these drugs are manufactured using fetal cells from elective abortions. To put it into layman’s terms, these drugs are pro-life kryptonite.
Now Trump does not hide his disdain for abortions nor his support for pro-life. The Department of Health and Human Services said “promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration”. In fact, in 2019, his administration suspended all federal funding to scientific research involving fetal cells derived from abortion, yet Trump still took these life-saving medicines. It does not take a politically-trained mind to see the massive contradiction and hypocrisy that lies in these past sentences.
Due to mixed messages from his doctors and White House officials, we still don’t know the gravity and extent of Trump’s COVID experience, therefore we don’t know whether it was entirely Trump’s choice or not to take these drugs. If we give Trump the benefit of the doubt (which I do not enjoy doing), any person, no matter how grounded their beliefs, would probably take a life-saving medicine even if it meant breaking their own values. In this sense, it is hard to scorn Trump for taking a drug if it meant staying alive. This should not hide however the ideological implications of Trump’s COVID treatment. Trump’s hypocrisy became more apparent after his recovery when he constantly touted the effectiveness of the drug over Twitter and media outlets. It is one thing to break your own values, but bragging about it is a whole other thing, This shows that Trump’s pro-life values may not be as grounded as one would think. This brings into question Trump’s entire pro-life platform and his commitment to a large portion of his base, conservative evangelicals. Many pro-life organizations openly opposed the use of medicines containing abortion cells. These same pro-life practitioners also typically vote for Trump. Now of course a voter will not necessarily agree with every single policy or value their candidate has, but it the words of pro-lifers, “life begins at conception”, “abortion is murder”, and “this is a matter of life and death”. Considering these serious claims, Trump’s decision to use medicines containing abortion cells must make some pro-life practitioners question their vote for Trump (not to say they would vote for Biden).
Don’t get me wrong, I am completely pro-choice. I am simply illustrating Trump’s hypocrisy as a matter of principle. For example, if Biden were to suddenly break his promise to cut the US’s carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050, or withdraw his “support” for Black Lives Matter, many Democrats would also probably question their vote for Biden.
Trump’s hypocrisy in this circumstance underlines two major problems that have plagued US politics since its inception. Firstly, this situation underlines that many politicians get overcome by selfishness and tend to work for their own benefit rather than for the benefit of their constituents. Secondly, this situation underlines the stringent limits that a dual-party system imposes on the voters. When voters have to start choosing between the “lesser of two evils” rather than a candidate who will actually matches their values and will help solve major problems, then we know there is a downfall to the current American political system.
This most recent example of Trump’s blatant hypocrisy will surely pass over as another minor bump in the road and it will likely not affect the outcome of the vote, but this is exactly the problem. When it comes to Trump, the window of what Americans see as rational has completely shifted into uncharted territory. This has grave consequences. We are continuously being desensitized to Trump’s objective acts of racism, misogyny, and hypocrisy; acts that are now viewed as “normal”. Americans, and anybody who listens to Trump, need to push the reset button on their moral compasses. Because for as long as we view racism, misogyny, and hypocrisy as “normal” in the American political sphere, it will continue to flourish.