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“A Fierce Bipartisan Backlash”
It has been apparent for several weeks that Trump’s complete incompetence in matters of public health has left America woefully unprepared for the coronavirus crisis.
On January 31, Foreign Policy reported that, back in 2018, Trump had fired the “entire pandemic response chain of command,” effectively sabotaging the government’s ability to respond to a crisis like COVID-19 before it even began.
On February 5, as concerns grew about the Administration’s failure to coordinate with state and local officials, Hawaii’s Democratic senators, Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, said the Trump team was responding to the coronavirus outbreak like “Keystone Cops.”
Trump’s lack of concern about the emerging threat was reinforced on February 10 when he revealed that, in addition to his previous cuts to the global disease-fighting budgets at CDC and HHS, his proposed 2021 budget would seek another 16% cut in CDC funding.
Even after news of the global spread of COVID-19 sparked a 1,030-point plunge in the Dow on Monday, Trump still tried to pretend everything was OK, tweeting that:
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
Wall Street was not, however, reassured. Especially as Tuesday brought a heavy dose of reality from Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who warned that America had reached the “not if but when” stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and that:
Cities and towns should plan for “social distancing measures,” like dividing school classes into smaller groups of students or closing schools altogether. Meetings and conferences may have to be canceled… Businesses should arrange for employees to work from home.
The market plunged again—losing nearly 900 points—to close with the biggest two-day point decline in history.
Meanwhile, Politico reported that lawmakers in both parties were horrified by the “inadequate” response the Trump Administration was proposing to the crisis:
The Trump administration confronted a new threat Tuesday in the mounting coronavirus crisis: a fierce bipartisan backlash amid contradictory statements from the federal government about the severity of the outbreak.
Administration officials sought to swat away concerns their emergency request for $2.5 billion to address the outbreak was inadequate, even as some Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing the amount — and slamming a lack of transparency around efforts to contain the disease on U.S. soil.
Things were so bad that by Tuesday night, even Tucker Carlson was complaining about the government’s botched response to COVID-19—and the impact it would have on the already-fragile Trump economy. In Carlson’s words:
Right now, as of tonight, America is not ready for this or for any major epidemic… few locations in this country are even prepared to monitor coronavirus. And the economy, of course, isn’t prepared either… US markets are down 8-9% compared to earlier this month. If that continues, it’s not good.
Of course, not everybody is freaking out. Rush Limbaugh compared the coronavirus to a “common cold.” And Trump again took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to blame MSNBC and CNN for “doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus (sic) look as bad as possible, including panicking markets.” The only problem was that last night it wasn’t just MSNBC and CNN saying how bad the situation was. Fox News’ viewers were getting the exact same message from the usually Trump-loving Tucker Carlson: Trump has botched the Coronavirus response. America is unprepared. And the Trump economy is too weak to take the hit.
In the first two months of this newsletter, I’ve explored the threats Trump’s incompetence poses to public health in articles about the thousands of unnecessary deaths during his first flu season, Trump’s refusal to allow kids in border camps to receive the flu vaccine, and the food safety issues caused by Trump recklessly deregulating pork slaughterhouses. If you’d like to support more election-year coverage like this, please hit the subscribe button!
I really appreciate you taking the time to write interesting FACTUAL information. America is at a dangerous time ,we have a LIAR in CHIEF his kids act like spoiled brats draining the taxpayers money just like their daddy! Meanwhile a pandemic is going to hurt this country from one corner to the other & Republicans are just hoping that IT'S poor people that get sick & die. Republicans are trying to CHEAT at ELECTIONS by showing up Democrat primaries to VOTE for the WEAKEST candidate!! It says so much about who the Republicans are!!! They were CHEATING under Nixon in 60s and they've been doing it ever since!! Fighting for the Soul of My Country!