The many ways germophobe Donald Trump is making Americans less physically safe

SHARE The many ways germophobe Donald Trump is making Americans less physically safe
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John Bolton, who is President Trump’s national security advisor, has closed down a global health security office. Ralph Nader writes that this is part of a pattern of disregard for health protections by the Trump administration. | Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump, though a self-described germophobe, appears unconcerned about the exposure of other Americans to germs and disease.

Leading infectious disease scientists are warning us of a coming global influenza pandemic — not if, but when — yet Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, has closed down a seasoned two-man global health security team.

OPINION

The Washington Post reported the news last week of “the abrupt departure” of Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, a respected scientist from the National Security Council who is the “top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic.”

At the time of Ziemer’s expulsion, a new Ebola outbreak in the Congo had just been reported.

Trump’s flagrant disregard for the safety of the American people also is revealed in his proposal to eliminate funds that are held in reserve to contain any Ebola epidemic. Meanwhile, earlier this year, Trump pushed through Congress an additional $84 billion for our nation’s bloated military budget — more than the Pentagon had requested.

Callous Donald is determined to enable and even abet companies that are spewing dangerous toxics into our air, water and food-growing areas. Many of these companies contributed to his campaign. He is anti-law. Trump and his agency chiefs are violating federal statutory mandates to protect the health and safety of Americans.

Trump’s drive to take federal cops off the corporate crime beat started early and recklessly. On the day he took office, the president ordered an “immediate regulatory freeze” on the entire federal government. This stopped federal lifesavers in their rescues of endangered American workers, patients, travelers, vulnerable children and frail, impoverished elderly.

Trump went from recklessness to ignorant idiocy by ordering all regulatory agencies to repeal two regulations for every one they were going to issue in the future. Business lobbyists were so delighted that they rushed to celebrate at Trump’s hotel just a few blocks from the White House, spending money to make Trump richer — and sometimes huddling with Trump’s regulators.

Trump’s marauders are raging through one agency after another, revoking or suspending lifesaving health and safety protections. Weaker job safety, auto safety, air and water pollution standards, and pesticide protections spell death and sickness. And that means anguish for families and higher price to be paid by taxpayers.

The Trumpsters are destroying federal protections from the corporate fraudsters who have been caught cheating, lying and stealing from savers, investors, patients, student loan borrowers, travelers and insurance policy-holders. Renegade public criminals such as Scott Pruitt, who heads the Environmental Protection Agency, and Mick Mulvaney, who heads both the Office of Management and Budget and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, are contemptuous of the agencies they run.

Pruitt, the subject of 12 ongoing federal investigations for spending tax money on himself, probably is on his way out. But we’ll still have Mulvaney, who recently bragged before 1,500 bankers that, as a congressman from South Carolina, he wouldn’t talk to lobbyists unless they had given him campaign money.

Mulvaney is bullying the civil and criminal investigators who are fighting a corporate crime wave, from culpable Wall Streeters to payday loan sharks. He is shutting down one enforcement action after another.

You may remember how Mulvaney in 2017 wanted to save tax dollars by cutting the Meals on Wheels program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as by slashing the small law enforcement budgets of the health and safety agencies. What you may not know is that Mulvaney is a coward, running away from going after the vastly larger documented waste, fraud and abuse in military contracting and corporate welfare giveaways.

He has not said a word about the $60 billion yearly fraud on Medicare committed by commercial crooks.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is pushing the same dissolution of law enforcement actions against the crimes and frauds of for-profit universities, who take advantages of unaware students, especially those who are military veterans.

Trump wants to take America back to the days of “caveat emptor” — let the buyer beware — and to the days of horrifying influenza epidemics. He’s giving corporate crooks get-out-of-jail-free cards.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, author and former presidential candidate.

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com.

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