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'Sick and twisted': Trump says nurses and doctors dying is 'beautiful to see', healthcare workers horrified

Medical professionals have objected to Trump's glorification of the high-risk jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic
UPDATED MAY 15, 2020
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, on Thursday, May 14, left healthcare workers in the country appalled after he said that nurses and doctors "running into death just like soldiers run into bullets" is "a beautiful thing to see." Trump made the statement at a medical equipment distribution center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, standing in front of stacked boxes of medical supplies and personal protective equipment.

"They are warriors, aren't they?" Trump said in his speech. "When you see them going into those hospitals and they're putting the stuff that you deliver, but they're wrapping themselves and the doors are opening and they're going through the doors and they're not even ready to go through those doors. They probably shouldn't."

"They're running into death just like soldiers run into bullets, in a true sense," the president continued. "I see that with the doctors and the nurses and so many other people. They go into those hospitals, it's incredible to see. It's a beautiful thing to see. But I really call them 'warriors.' We're all warriors; everyone in our country is a warrior."

Shortly after the president made the controversial comments, medical professionals objected to Trump's glorification of the high-risk jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic, particularly at a time when there has been a mounting criticism over shortage of PPEs.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the press briefing room at the White House on March 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

Trump, however, has dismissed reports of PPE shortages at hospitals, calling the reports "fake news."

Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency care physician and executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare, called Trump's latest comments "a sick and twisted sentiment" in a tweet. Davidson wrote: "Donald Trump should be ashamed to suggest that we healthcare workers 'running into death' is beautiful. Death is not beautiful. Inadequate PPE is not beautiful. He should use the [Defense Production Act] to ensure an abundant supply of PPE and tests."

While another doctor,  Dr. Rich Besser, a pediatrician and public health expert, during an appearance on CNN also slammed Trump's comments. He said: "What strikes me as not a beautiful thing is that we are sending essential workers into what would be battle... and we're not giving them the gear that we would give any other soldier."
"What it's saying is, 'We don't care. We don't care about protecting people's lives,'" Besser added. "Healthcare workers who are working without proper protective equipment, having to reuse masks, there's nothing beautiful about that."

While author Theresa Brown tweeted: "Oh. My. God. Nurses and doctors are not soldiers and seeing them put their lives at risk to save patients is many things, but never beautiful."

There have been attempts made to draw parallels between healthcare workers and military personnel by calling them "heroes." The narrative, however, has drawn flak in recent weeks. According to a mental health guide issued by the European Health Journal, calling nurses and doctors “heroes” or “angels” could result in severe psychological strain for them.

Writer Talia Lavin had recently said: "The rhetoric of heroism implies that those forced needlessly to labor unprotected amidst threat to their lives must be grateful for a chance at martyrdom. The rhetoric of heroism—with its encouragement of sacrifice for the fatherland—obscures the fact that so much of this suffering is unnecessary”.