New Jersey resident Arnett Thomas, who was convicted of a drug-related murder in the 1980s and used much of his time in prison (from which he was released in 2000) to study, has filed a federal lawsuit against ex-President Donald Trump over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has claimed the lives of over half a million Americans, and the entirety of the crisis up until just about a few months ago unfolded while Trump was in charge at the White House. While in office as president, Trump consistently refused to take the pandemic as seriously as circumstances demanded.
In his lawsuit, which now features 29 co-defendants, Thomas — who personally wrote the filing — said in part as follows:
‘The former president literally became the very domestic enemy to the Constitution he swore to defend.’
Besides his open ambivalence towards the pandemic, Trump apparently repeatedly floated the idea of relying on herd immunity against the virus. Resorting to a herd immunity-centric strategy would have let the virus spread largely unfettered, no matter how many people it killed, so that (eventually) enough people would be immune to stop its spread. The formality with which the Trump administration pursued herd immunity is unknown, but Thomas takes it as a central component of the ex-president’s strategy.
As the lawsuit from Thomas put it:
‘[Trump] is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people across the expanse of America, by deploying and unleashing a natural herd immunity experiment which would contribute to five million reported COVID-19 cases and five hundred thousand deaths.’
Although Thomas’s lawsuit might be a longshot bid, he has past experience with filing lawsuits. In 1985, he “filed a lawsuit on behalf of New Jersey prison inmates… that resulted in changes in rules on solitary confinement,” NorthJersey.com says. Meanwhile, in separate commentary, Thomas added the following, discussing Trump’s failures:
‘Trump allowed the disease to spread. What he did was politically motivated. If Trump would have handled this pandemic in a proper way he would have been elected [again]. Trump got kicked out because of the way he handled it.’
As summarized by NorthJersey.com, Thomas “says he’s looking for $1 trillion from Trump as a punishment for the nearly 570,000 deaths in America from COVID-related causes, as well as the ancillary economic and psychological problems for many others who lost jobs or fell into a deep depression from too much home confinement.” The lawsuit “reflects the deep-seated anger at Trump’s behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic — especially in Thomas’ African-American community in Orange and Newark,” the outlet adds.
Recently, the U.S. has begun to climb out of the economic chasm left by the pandemic thanks in significant part to economic relief that Biden signed into law earlier this year. In March of this year, when many Americans received $1,400 per person relief checks, retail sales grew by 9.8 percent, surpassing economists’ expectations. In the week ending April 10, new unemployment claims hit 576,000 — the lowest one-week total since March 2020.