Once again, Last Week Tonight came from what John Oliver likes to call the “empty white void” to shed more light on how certain people in leadership positions in our country are handling the coronavirus outbreak. Spoiler alert: some of them are doing a good job while others, well, not so much.
After giving us a taste of Jeremy Renner’s album “The Medicine” he started off by saying, “I hate this moment in human history so much.”
Earlier this week, Donald Trump said that the White House is projecting 100,000-240,000 deaths due to the coronavirus in the next two weeks. Besides leading disease forecasters being mystified by these numbers, Trump somehow tried to spin the numbers as a good job on his part because it’s not millions. Oliver said it’s the most callous way to minimize the death of Americans as much as possible.
Oliver points out that the federal response has been actively making things worse such as the botched rollout in testing and putting the responsibility on the states for supplies. Jared Kushner, who Oliver referred to as an alt-right Pinocchio, said during a press conference that states — many of which are in badly need of supplies — should not count on the federal stockpile of supplies. Or as he referred to them: “our stockpiles”.
Nonetheless, Oliver praised the work of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during the crisis. On the flip side, he addressed the more irresponsible handling from other governors including Georgia’s Brian Kemp who didn’t realize that there are asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 even though most of us have known since February. Meanwhile, Alabama’s Kay Ivey refused to implement a stay at home order because they aren’t California or New York even though the growth rate of the coronavirus in Alabama is higher than California.
“I’ll give her this… Alabama isn’t California or New York,” said Oliver. “It is, of course, Alabama, a state whose flag says ‘we’re working on it’; whose seal says ‘This is where Alabama is’ and its facts page on 50 states.com is 50 facts about Indiana.”
Of all of the governors, Oliver calls out Florida’s Ron DeSantis as the worst. The state saw an explosion of cases throughout March, which is alarming considering 1 in 5 of its residents are over the age of 65, which is a high-risk age for COVID-19. DeSantis said that he would only issue a statewide stay-at-home order if the president told him. “When he did the right thing, he fucked it up,” said Oliver.
DeSantis exempted churches on bans of large gatherings and exempted them from social distancing requirements. Oliver said DeSantis made it impossible for localities — even in hotspots — to override him which is clearly dangerous. “You’re not protected from coronavirus just cause you’re in church,” laughs Oliver.
He goes on to say that the success of our country containing COVID-19 is as good as our worst governor — especially with the federal government abdicating responsibility. Oliver called all of this “infuriating” before cutting to a clip of Kushner talking about how this is a moment in time where some of leaders will show that they are “better managers than others”.
“Yeah, no shit Jared,” Oliver responded. “Certain people are better managers than others and it seems certain other people are content to sit back and watch the bad ones make decisions that will cost people’s lives all in the hopes that Americans will all learn a valuable lesson while dying.”
He continued, “I know that Jared Kushner must have a stockpile of empathy somewhere…but it appears that it’s his empathy and he is not allowed to extend it to anyone else.”