It Is Trump’s Fault

Posted on: 2020-04-08

Update 5 May 2020:

You may have long ago concluded correctly that the Trump administrations original response to COVID-19 was especially poor - corrupt, inept, blinkered, stupid and perhaps worse.

In March they decided to flip to 'national emergency' and then more recently to reopening the economy. You may feel that perhaps he and his Administration is doing a better job. Perhaps because they are 'doing something' and have 'accepted' the situation. Perhaps because it looks like they are 'trying'. Perhaps you are worried about the economic situation and at least they are thinking about opening up.

But you'd be wrong.

With Trump when in doubt, always assume it's worse than you think. Doing so you will be far more likely to be right than wrong.

From original post:

That the pandemic occurred is not Trump’s fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump’s fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump’s fault. That states are bidding against other states for equipment, paying many multiples of the precrisis price for ventilators, is Trump’s fault. Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump’s fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump’s fault again. The refusal of red-state governors to act promptly, the failure to close Florida and Gulf Coast beaches until late March? That fault is more widely shared, but again, responsibility rests with Trump: He could have stopped it, and he did not.

The lying about the coronavirus by hosts on Fox News and conservative talk radio is Trump’s fault: They did it to protect him. The false hope of instant cures and nonexistent vaccines is Trump’s fault, because he told those lies to cover up his failure to act in time. The severity of the economic crisis is Trump’s fault; things would have been less bad if he had acted faster instead of sending out his chief economic adviser and his son Eric to assure Americans that the first stock-market dips were buying opportunities. The firing of a Navy captain for speaking truthfully about the virus’s threat to his crew? Trump’s fault. The fact that so many key government jobs were either empty or filled by mediocrities? Trump’s fault. The insertion of Trump’s arrogant and incompetent son-in-law as commander in chief of the national medical supply chain? Trump’s fault.

For three years, Trump has blathered and bluffed and bullied his way through an office for which he is utterly inadequate. But sooner or later, every president must face a supreme test, a test that cannot be evaded by blather and bluff and bullying. That test has overwhelmed Trump.

Trump failed. He is failing. He will continue to fail. And Americans are paying for his failures.

David Frum (former speachwriter for G.W. Bush)

As the quote covers - it is not his fault it exists. The US's uniquely terrible response to it is. It's Trumps fault. It's Mitch McConnells fault for empowering somebody so obviously unwilling and unable to do the job. It is the Republican parties fault, for enabling McConnell, supporting directly and indirectly the corruption, lies and ineptitude that lead us here and continues to take us down an increasingly dark path. It's their fault because they did not impeach, when it was obvious that Trump should have been.

As a redditer posted on this story...

Which is much more pithy than my long timeline post.

Another redditer posted the following chronology which is also damning.

Below is a chronology of the Trump administration's lack of biodefense preparations as it relates to the current coronavirus pandemic. The instances are pre-outbreak (i.e. pre-2020) and are examples of missed/ignored warnings, insufficient preparation measures and cuts to integral health programs.

January 2017 - Seven days before Trump takes office, Obama administration officials simulate an influenza pandemic with the incoming Trump administration. Trump’s team is told it could face specific challenges, such as shortages of ventilators, anti-viral drugs and other medical essentials, and that having a coordinated, unified national response is “paramount.” (Source)

April 2018 - White House homeland security advisor Tom Bossert, who had called for a comprehensive biodefense strategy against pandemics and biological attacks, is fired the day after John Bolton takes over as national security advisor. (Source)

May 2018 - Luciana Borio, director of medical and biodefense preparedness at the National Security Council, warns that a flu pandemic is the country’s top health security threat. “We know that it cannot be stopped at the border.” (Source)

May 2018 - Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, the top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic, abruptly leaves the administration. The Global Health Security and Biodefense team, responsible for pandemic preparedness, is subsequently disbanded under a reorganization by national security advisor John Bolton. Ziemer’s departure means that no senior administration official is focused solely on global health security. (Source)

September 2018 - The Trump administration acknowledges in its own National Biodefense Strategy that it’s imperative for the U.S. to prepare for a health crisis like a global pandemic. “The significant infectious disease outbreaks of recent decades, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), pandemic influenza, Ebola virus disease, and Zika virus disease, have revealed the extent to which individual countries and international communities need to improve their preparedness and biosurveillance systems to detect and respond to the next health crisis. The health of the American people depends on our ability to stem infectious disease outbreaks at their source, wherever and however they occur.” (Source)

January 2019 - The Office of the Director of National Intelligence ranks a major disease outbreak among the top global threats to watch. “We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support.” (Source)

January – August 2019 - The Department of Health and Human Services runs pandemic simulations to show the Trump administration how underprepared the U.S. is to deal with such a crisis. (Source)

June 2019 - The International Society for Syndromic Surveillance shutters its doors due to lack of funding. The group of disease experts tracked pandemics with a technique called “syndromic surveillance,” which involved analyzing aggregated data from emergency rooms to identify potential infection hotspots. Although not cut directly by the Trump administration, the ISSS increasingly lost funding due to cutbacks to the CDC over the past decade, culminating in its termination just 6 months before the coronavirus rapidly spread through China. “Public health gets an influx of interest right after something bad has happened, but we don’t put enough emphasis on prevention.” (Source)

July 2019 - The Trump administration axes a CDC expert along with more than 2/3 of the remaining CDC staff stationed in China. Health experts will later point to the departed resources as a missed early-warning opportunity, as they would’ve been able to provide real-time information to U.S. and other officials around the world during the first weeks of the outbreak, when the Chinese government stifled the release of information and provided erroneous assessments. (Source, Source)

September 2019 - White House economists publish a study, called Mitigating the Impact of Pandemic Influenza Through Vaccine, that warns a pandemic disease could kill 500,000 Americans and devastate the economy. (Source)

September 2019 - The Trump administration ends a $200 million pandemic early-warning program aimed at training scientists in China and other countries to detect and respond to such a threat. The project, called PREDICT, identified 1,200 different viruses that had the potential to erupt into pandemics (including more than 160 novel coronaviruses) and also trained and supported staff in 60 foreign laboratories – including the Wuhan lab that identified 2019-nCoV, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. (Source)