President Donald Trump said on Thursday he doesn’t want to participate in a virtual debate (“A virtual Trump-Biden debate next week? Both sides are debating it,”, Oct. 8). I haven’t seen a client in person for seven months. I’ve had to be creative and get proficient (OK, maybe “proficient” is a strong word) at conducting effective, impactful virtual meetings. My kids haven’t seen the inside of a classroom in as much time either. They’ve had to persevere and continue to work toward their goals in a new, virtual environment. My situation is much the same as just about everybody else in this country.

Meanwhile, Trump is actually known to be carrying the virus — sorry, Donny, but nobody trusts any information coming from you or your doctors; that’s what happens when you lie all the time — and he immediately throws himself to the floor in a toddler tantrum, refusing to participate in a virtual debate. God forbid we acknowledge that the virus is actually still a serious problem, requiring serious measures. His refusal to participate in a virtual debate is an insult to all of us who have had to completely reshape our lives because of this virus that he and his administration’s ineptitude have only made worse.

Ben Auckenthaler, Minneapolis


What he could have done, he didn’t

An Oct. 8 letter writer (“If he’s responsible, then ...”) asked a very fair question: “If President Donald Trump is culpable in the deaths of 210,000 people from COVID-19, can we also assume that he is responsible for the millions of people who have survived ... ?” In my opinion, the answer is a clear no. It is likely true that regardless of what actions were taken by the president and when, some would have gotten the virus and some would have died. Others would have gotten the virus and recovered, whether with or without symptoms. Still others would not have gotten the virus at all. In other words, just like now.

What’s also true is that the president knew about this danger in late January (others knew about the potential threat long before that), withheld the news from the American people and did very little to prepare the country for it. Contrary to what he says, he didn’t shut down flight traffic from China; he restricted it, thus allowing tens of thousands of Americans back into the United States from China without protection and without quarantine. From the start, Trump downplayed the severity of the virus, often contradicted medical opinion and advice, scoffed at the need for prevention measures, and largely went about his life without change. I also believe he still doesn’t comprehend the enormity of this loss in terms of deaths, family suffering and strain on the medical community because, until recently, it hadn’t personally affected him.

In other words, when the nation most needed leadership and consistent, truthful information, direction and example, it got next to nothing from its president.

Loren Brabec, Braham, Minn.

• • •

A letter writer asks if Trump is responsible for the millions of COVID-19 survivors. Obviously, yes. The ideal number of infections was zero.

Every infection after he learned of the risk, but kept it secret, resulted from his failure to act.

We have our scientists and responders to thank for the high survival rate. Not Trump.

John Kaplan, St. Paul

• • •

A recent letter writer said that if Trump is culpable in the deaths of 210,000 people from COVID-19, than he is also responsible for the millions who have no symptoms. When President Barack Obama was president for eight years, few died from viral diseases because he was prepared and used preventive measures. Trump could have helped thwart our pandemic but chose not to. That does not make him a savior but a villain who had the opportunity to do well but decided it was in his best interests to deny, delay and deter help for these thousands of people who have died from the pandemic and those who were infected, and those who are survivors of deaths of loved ones.

This man is unfit to lead and has proven it over and over. The letter writer has used faulty arguments to let this “leader” off the hook for his responsibility.

Leland Kulland, Burnsville


Not disrespectful. Encouraging.

In the article “To the grieving, words hurt” (front page, Oct. 7), the subhead was “Trump’s tweet — ‘Don’t be afraid of COVID’ — strikes some as reckless, disrespectful.” How disgusting. When Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” was he downplaying the severity of the Great Depression? No. Clearly, both presidents were correctly trying to project optimism to the American people.

Taylor Swanson, Eden Prairie


Debate cleared the lowest of bars

Some pundits are saying that the vice presidential debate was more civil than the presidential one. And of course, anything except an outright mugging would have been more civil than the unhinged bullying of President Donald Trump. But it shouldn’t be lost that Vice President Mike Pence was also a bully, just in a syrupy, slicker sort of way. He could have obeyed the agreed-upon debate rules but chose not to, smugly ignoring the moderator and cutting off Sen. Kamala Harris repeatedly. His attitude was as clear: As a very white male, he disrespected the women on stage with him. He didn’t see them as legitimate, and like Trump, he chose to dominate them.

Pence can lie with such unctuous ease that it might go unnoticed, but his performance was just as racist and sexist as Trump’s.

Pamela J. Snopl, Minneapolis


Not all are lucky to have mild cases

I’m thrilled that an Oct. 8 letter writer’s experience with COVID only minimally impacted his family, including his 86-year-old mother. However, has he considered others outside of his family who they may have infected without evening knowing it? Did those cases end up being mild, too, or is someone out there on a ventilator because of his family’s spread? Of course we don’t know the answer, but that is exactly the point: We don’t know the answer. And this writer’s cavalier attitude is exactly the problem in this situation: My family’s fine; why should I care about yours?

Cathy Heying, Minneapolis

• • •

The Oct. 8 letter writer seems to think that we have a choice as to whether or not COVID-19 “dominate[s] our lives.” Despite what the president pronounces, we have no control over the severity of the infection. It was fortunate for him and his family members that they all had very mild versions of the virus, but “choosing to heed Trump’s advice” had nothing to do with it. Neither did his condescension.

Shannon Emil, Shorewood

• • •

An Oct. 8 letter writer, his son, wife and mother recovered from COVID-19 relatively unscathed. That is certainly good to hear. He concluded that “we choose to heed Trump’s advice to not let the virus dominate our lives.”

The writer, like Trump, concludes that since possibly 99% of people who get the virus won’t die of it, it’s not a big deal. In fact, it is a very big deal. People are quarantined for two weeks, which disrupts their lives; others end up needing serious treatment, including days or even weeks on a ventilator; others experience what could be lifelong organ damage.

For many, the disease has indeed dominated their lives.

Nic Baker, Roseville



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