As the United States enters what looks to be a prolonged financial recession, Wisconsinites are reeling from President Donald Trump’s catastrophic failure to lead the nation through the COVID-19 crisis.
As of June 23, Wisconsin has recorded over 25,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 750 deaths due to complications from the virus. And by the day, the economic fallout continues to grow more severe. According to current estimates, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate currently rests at over 12%, with over 385,000 Wisconsin workers out of a job – one of the highest recorded figures in the state’s history.
All the while, U.S. hospitals and medical workers are still facing an extreme shortage of masks and critical protective supplies to fight back against the virus. Yet in February, at the same time Trump was downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus, the Trump Administration sent 17.8 tons of medical supplies – including masks and respirators – to China.
In January, President Trump was briefed by his own intelligence officials on the threat of coronavirus spreading rapidly within U.S. borders, and instead of taking immediate action to prevent the potential pandemic, the president continued to deny its very existence until mid-March — leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths and an avoidable economic collapse.
According to experts, at least 54,000 deaths could have been avoided and state economies, like in Wisconsin, could have opened earlier had President Trump acted quickly to contain the coronavirus. Recently, President Trump blatantly stated he wanted to slow down testing so fewer positive results would be shown to the public. If he were successful in halting testing efforts, it would lead to a spike in unknown cases in Wisconsin and contribute to a rampant, undetected spread of the virus across the country.
As thousands of Wisconsinites continue to grapple with the loss of family members and friends or emptied pocketbooks due to the fallout, President Trump is claiming his administration did “too good” a job on handling COVID-19. In total, job losses under Trump’s leadership during the pandemic will far exceed those during the 2008 financial crisis – a crisis that particularly impacted Wisconsin.
And before the coronavirus recession hit Wisconsin, the state was already feeling the effects of President Trump’s misguided policy decisions. In 2018, because of the erratic trade war with Beijing, Wisconsinites alone paid over $830 million in additional taxes because of tariffs levied on American farmers in retaliation against the president. That trade war hit the state’s dairy farmers especially hard: Trump’s 25% tariff on American cheese led to the collapse of 818 Wisconsin dairy farms in 2019.
In November, voters in Wisconsin will go to the ballot box and choose between the leadership of President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden, whose work after the Great Recession in 2008 with President Obama led to a decade of economic growth and recovery.