Texas prof 'might reconsider' being atheist if Trump 'would die from' coronavirus

A Texas Tech professor said that he "might reconsider" being an atheist if President Donald Trump "would die" from the coronavirus.

The professor told Campus Reform that the statement was "about myself, not about someone else."

Richard Wigmans, J.F. Bucy Chair Professor at Texas Tech University, emailed his Physics Department colleagues outlining his predictions of the effects of COVID-19 as well his interpretation of President Donald Trump’s handling of the global pandemic. 

Wigmans began his email, a copy of which Campus Reform obtained, by questioning why the media “do not present the data in logarithmic form, because that is how pandemics develop.” He points out that South Korea’s “fixed percentual increase” is five percent per day and Italy’s is a ten to fifteen percent per day increase. He contrasts those numbers with America’s, which he says is “unabated at a rate of twenty-five to thirty percent per day.” 

“In that way, we will cross the 10,000 death line by next weekend,” Wigmans wrote. He suggests that Trump is downplaying the situation by explaining that this pandemic equals the sum of casualties of 9/11, the Iraq wars, and the Afghanistan wars, combined.

[RELATED: Did WHO director ‘help’ China downplay coronavirus? This prof says yes.]

He says Trump is brushing it off when the president “says that one week later the whole thing will be over, we can all attend packed Easter church services and restart the country.” 

At a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing Sunday, after Wigmans’ email, Trump said his previous Easter remarks were only “aspirational,” after announcing that the federal government would extend the current social distancing guidelines for at least another month.

Throughout the email, Wigmans does not call the president by name. Instead, he refers to Trump as “president #45” or “#45.”  

The email  continues by pointing out that several weeks ago, the president said, “everything is under tremendous control” and “I give myself a grade 10/10 for the way this situation has been handled.” Wigmans then says the president is not stupid and gives his interpretation of “president #45’s” words with three bullet points, including suggesting that Trump doesn’t care about some Americans dying from the coronavirus because they are from blue states. 

He summarizes Trump’s actions with, “The Art of the Deal.” 

“I am personally an atheist, but if #45 would die as a result of this virus, I might reconsider,” Wigmans added.

When Campus Reform reached out for comment regarding this statement, Wigmans said, “this is a statement about myself, not about someone else.”  He confirmed, “I have distributed some emails to my colleagues in which I provide a scientist’s perspective on the available COVID-19 data, and use the observed trends to make some predictions.”

”I have received many comments from people who appreciate this,” Wignmans added. 

Regarding whether he expressed a desire for Trump to die from the virus, Wignmans said, “I have not expressed such a wish.”

He told Campus Reform that he related the coronavirus to the “deadly plague” detailed in the Old Testament of the Bible, because “the leadership of the country is specifically targeted.” “All I wanted to say is that if something similar happened here, I might interpret that as a non-random event, God’s hand if you will,” in a comment to Campus Reform.

He concludes the email with one last prediction. He predicts that “when history will be written about this period, the word ‘China virus’ will be absent. Instead, we will read about the ‘Trump pandemic’, the ‘Trump deaths’ and the ‘Trump recession’.” 

[RELATED: Profs: Trump is ‘racist’ for calling coronavirus the ‘Chinese Virus’]

As far as criticism that Wigmans said he has received for this email, he said that he “received two critical comments from recipients of [his] message, [but] both people later apologized personally to [him],” after telling Campus Reform, “I don’t think I owe you any explanation.” 

Skyler Wachsmann, chairman of Young Conservatives of Texas at Texas Tech, told Campus Reform, “implying that the President would enjoy for supporters of political opponents and for the elderly to suffer from this virus is disgusting, as is his comment expressing hope that President Trump would die from the Coronavirus.”

Wachsmann told Campus Reform that Wigmans’ “words were not only full of hatred and vitriol for the President but also extremely ignorant and inappropriate for an academic setting. Using this pandemic as an excuse to share his political gripes with colleagues is appalling and puts them in such a very uncomfortable situation.”

Wachsmann added that the professor’s comments are “inconsistent with the values of the Texas Tech community.”

”At Texas Tech, we aim to ‘Strive for Honor,’ but there is nothing honorable about what this professor has said. University President Lawrence Schovanec should take appropriate action by reprimanding this professor.”

Texas Tech told Campus Reform in an emailed statement, “Professor Wigman’s personal comments do not represent the views or values of Texas Tech University. This is a personnel matter that will be handled by the department Chair and the Dean of the College. Texas Tech does not disclose personnel actions relating to any of its employees. We remain focused on the health and wellness of all members of our University community throughout this public health crisis.”

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