It Didn't Come From Outer Space
When America needed coronavirus testing and face masks, Trump gave us a Space Force logo.
That’s the latest Trump-Fox News talking point.
And yes, the virus came from China. Yes, the Chinese covered it up. Yes, they should be accountable for that. But the U.S. government knew all that more than two months ago.
Eight weeks after the U.S. identified its first case, there still weren't enough tests available. While Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted to Congress, “It’s a failing,” Trump was still claiming he saved the day because he, “Shut it down coming in from China.”
Trump must be held accountable, too.
We now know that, even as COVID-19 spread unchecked to all 50 states, Trump was being briefed regularly on the threat. As The Washington Post reported this week:
U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen… despite that constant flow of reporting, Trump continued publicly and privately to play down the threat the virus posed to Americans… At the State Department, personnel had been nervously tracking early reports about the virus… it was discussed at a meeting in the third week of January, around the time that cable traffic showed that U.S. diplomats in Wuhan were being brought home on chartered planes — a sign that the public health risk was significant… Inside the White House, Trump’s advisers struggled to get him to take the virus seriously
As one U.S. official told the Post:
“The system was blinking red”
Publicly, though, Trump was unconcerned: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine,” he told CNBC on January 22.
Trump is famous for not reading his intelligence briefings. But he does like pictures. On January 24, he had more exciting things to announce than a nationwide testing plan for the silly coronavirus:
After consultation with our Great Military Leaders, designers, and others, I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military!
Despite all the warnings that Trump received in January and through February, he downplayed the spread of the virus. He continued golfing and partying at Mar-a-Lago. He told America not to worry. He held rallies telling supporters the coronavirus was just the Democrats’ latest hoax.
And when all that stopped working, he said he wasn’t responsible for all the screwups, but gave himself a 10 out of 10 anyway.
So yes, the Chinese let the virus out. But once it got out, the President’s job was to protect us from it, just like Obama protected us from Ebola.
This was 100% predictable
Trump claims the world was blindsided. But that’s not true. Maybe if the virus had arrived on a spaceship he would have paid more attention, but the possibility of a pandemic emerging from overseas has been a known threat for years.
During the Trump transition, Obama’s team even walked 30 incoming Trump officials through a global pandemic scenario, detailing the best ways to coordinate federal and states resources, enact travel bans, protect public health, and ensure lab and hospital supplies were maintained.
The system failed
Trump is an idiot. We know that. He’s surrounded by sycophants. We know that. He muzzled the experts who tried to warn us. (Isn’t that what we’re blaming China for?).
But the whole system failed us, including the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee. Instead of forcing Trump to act on testing, or screaming from the rooftops when he didn’t, they called their brokers.
Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went on Meet the Press to beg Trump to send the military to save Gotham City:
April and May are going to get a lot worse... The President... will not lift a finger to help his home town... people will die who could have lived otherwise.
De Blasio might have more luck getting Trump’s attention if he was calling in from another planet. Because Trump is totally prepared for that. In February, even as a deadly virus ravaged Planet Earth, he requested $15.4 billion to make our space army ready for combat in “the world’s new war-fighting domain.”
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