Trump Plunged the Country into Shadows

Joe Biden’s Covid-19 memorial service has already started to dispel the darkness.

Steve Jones
2 min readJan 20, 2021


The incoming first families at the Covid-19 memorial service, Jan. 19, 2021.

It took a simple gesture to begin leading the nation out of the Trump years — the lighting of two double rows of lights along the reflecting pool in front of Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The gesture was simple, but at once also grand and poignant. It marked the first time — the first time — that an American leader had conducted a memorial honoring the victims of Covid-19. The 400 lights symbolized the 400,000 Americans who had died at the time of the ceremony.

Donald Trump never acknowledged Covid’s victims. He first played down the severity of coronavirus, then insisted that official Covid statistics were inflated.

His non-response to Covid-19 was as dark as the rest of his administration — full of lies, dodges, denials, and outright neglect.

When you are in the dark for any length of time, you can start to pick out dim details. You can, with care, shuffle your way across the floor. You can get accustomed to the dark.

It wasn’t until the 400 lights came on behind Biden that I realized how desperate we have become for light to emanate from the capital city. Light that exposes dangers and chases away fear. Light that can help us heal.

As Biden noted, “To heal, we must remember.” And the symbolic lights are indeed a remembrance.

They will help us remember the fallen of Covid. But they can hopefully help us remember how dark it was before they were lit.

I hope the lights become a permanent installation at the reflecting pool. They are a fitting end to an administration that couldn’t even work the light switches in the White House, and, in fact, never turned the lights on at all.



Steve Jones