Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) launched into a pointed critique of Donald Trump during his online address Monday at the Democratic National Convention, comparing the president to the Roman emperor Nero, who legend has played the fiddle while his city burned.
“This president is not just a threat to our democracy, but, by rejecting science, he has put our lives and health in jeopardy,” Sanders said, referring to the COVID-19 epidemic. “Trump has attacked doctors and scientists trying to protect us from the pandemic while refusing to take strong action to produce the masks, gowns and gloves our health care workers desperately need. Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs. His actions fanned this pandemic resulting in over 170,000 deaths and a nation still unprepared to protect its people.”
While historians have debated whether Nero actually played music at the moment of Rome’s fiery destruction in 64 AD, the unflattering comparison between the Roman emperor and Trump was previously made across social media in early March, when Trump tweeted a meme of himself playing a violin shortly before he left to play golf at Mar-a-Lago at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.
Sanders’s usage of the expression Monday night immediately hit home, with reactions pouring in on Twitter praising the Vermont senator’s analysis of Trump’s failings.
In his speech, Sanders also urged his progressive supporters to cast their votes for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, stressing that “the future of our economy” and “the future of our planet” were both at stake.
“We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president,” Sanders said. “My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”
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