Rep. Ayanna Pressley accused President Trump’s administration of committing “war crimes” for how it responded to the nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus.

“As far as I’m concerned, what’s happening with this administration, it’s akin to war crimes. Criminal negligence, science denials, a sluggish response,” the freshman Democratic lawmaker said in a video this week. “And so we find ourselves in the position of playing catch-up in the midst of a pandemic, which is the last place that you want to be in the midst of any public health crisis, certainly of a pandemic, is working from behind.”

The United Nations defines war crimes as “grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention.”

These include:

  1. Willful killing;
  2. Torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments;
  3. Willfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health;
  4. Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly;
  5. Compelling a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power;
  6. Willfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial;
  7. Unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement;
  8. Taking of hostages.

A growing number of Democrats have criticized Trump for not doing more to slow the spread of the coronavirus, leaving healthcare workers with a lack of safety equipment when dealing with the sick, and hastily rushing toward the reopening of a virtually shut down American economy.

“His denial at the beginning was deadly, his delaying of getting equipment … to where it is needed is deadly, and now the best thing would be to do is to prevent more loss of life, rather than open things up so that, because we just don’t know,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late last month.

Presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden, has said on more than one occasion the virus’s arrival to the United States is not Trump’s fault, but he has mishandled the resulting national crisis.

“My point is not simply that the president was wrong,” Biden said. “My point is that the mindset that was slow to recognize the problem in the first place, to treat with the seriousness it deserves, is still too much a part of how the president is addressing the problem.”

One of the first actions Trump took in response to the virus came in late January when he banned travel to the U.S. from China, the country where the virus originated, by foreign nationals.

Trump says the move came amid doubt from U.S. health experts but “saved countless lives.”

In recent weeks, the president has been critical of China’s transparency with other nations as the virus spread and pulled funding from the World Health Organization for what he said was a botched response to the now global pandemic.

Meanwhile, “get back to work” protesters have been storming state capitols in states where citizens are upset with local governors who have extended stay at home orders in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Trump has cheered their cause and called on citizens to “liberate” themselves from lockdown restrictions.

“We just have to reject any calls for a return to normal,” Pressley said in the video.


Source: Dominick Mastrangelo,