Tuesday, April 07, 2020

COVID-19: Americans Don't Know How Trump Has Botched This Crisis (MoveOn)

Photo taken 12.28.2019
I'm fuming today. Watching the elections in Wisconsin, the removal of the Inspector General who was supposed to oversee the relief package dispersal, the PPE distribution failures, the pigs at the trough just can't get enough. So today, I'm just going to share an email from MoveOn. (after the jump)

This whole text and citations is from MoveOn.org. If you can support their efforts, please donate to them directly:

Subject: Americans don't know how Trump has botched this crisis

The United States is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with far more cases than any other country [1].

Dr. Anthony Fauci, our government's leading infectious disease expert, says that millions of Americans could get sick and "nearly a quarter-million people in the United States could lose their lives"—and that's if we now do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus. [2]

Now, the Federal Reserve is estimating that job losses due to the crisis could total 47 million and that the unemployment rate could hit 32%, higher than the Great Depression.[3]

It didn't have to be this way—but a majority of Americans don't know how badly Donald Trump and his administration have mishandled the national response.[4] In fact, they give Trump positive marks for his handing of the crisis, and his approval rating is the highest of his presidency.[5]

Here are 10 key ways that Trump has let the coronavirus pandemic get out of control:
  1. Refusing to take responsibility for his administration's response to the pandemic. Trump doesn't believe he's responsible for how he and his administration are dealing with the crisis. When asked by reporters about it, he said, "I don't take any responsibility at all." [6]
  2. Shutting down the White House pandemic office. Trump closed the White House's National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense in 2018—despite official briefings starting even before his inauguration about the threat posed by pandemics. [7,8]
  3. Ignoring intelligence warnings. Trump ignored dire warnings in January and February from U.S. intelligence agencies about the coronavirus pandemic, downplaying the threat and blocking necessary preparations. [9] He also stonewalled inquiries from Congress starting in early February. [10]
  4. Failing to test. Trump failed to mobilize the government and private sector to establish testing early on to contain the spread of the virus. [11] Dr. Fauci calls the lack of early testing "a failing" of the U.S. response. [12] Now, we're left with lockdowns and intense social and economic disruptions to try to mitigate the harm.
  5. Failing to procure medical supplies. Trump failed to marshal the powers of the federal government to procure the medical supplies and hospital beds needed to meet the scale of this public health crisis. For instance, if the Trump administration had reacted in February to the ventilator shortage, the shortage would have been resolved by mid-to-late April. Because the administration failed to react, we might have enough ventilators only in early June, at best. [13]
  6. Spreading lies and misinformation. Early in the crisis, Trump said that the coronavirus would simply disappear. "It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle—it will disappear." [14] Then, he promoted a risky antimalarial drug as a treatment, with no evidence. [15] He accused governors of not needing the personal protective equipment and ventilators they asked for, and he accused health care workers of stealing and selling masks. [16,17] And he still continues to spread lies and advance his own political agenda, boasting about his poll numbers and television ratings.
  7. Appointing Mike Pence to run the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Pence has a history of skepticism and denialism around science and a record of poor response to public health crises as governor of Indiana. [18]
  8. Blocking access to health care, which puts all of us at risk. Trump and his Republican lackeys in Congress refuse to pay for coronavirus and COVID-19 medical care—except for testing. [19] But even the testing provision is full of loopholes, with reports that people are showing up at hospitals to get tested and then getting billed thousands of dollars because, while the tests are free, the emergency room visits are not.
  9. Favoring governors who are political allies when distributing lifesaving medical supplies and pitting states against one another instead of distributing supplies based on most urgent need and fostering cooperation in this national emergency. [20]
  10. Failing to hire competent experts to manage this crisis. Trump and his administration are incompetent, and, as a result, people are needlessly dying. There is tremendous turnover in key administration positions, many positions are left unfilled, and people are often unqualified for their jobs. This results in horrifying incompetence in the best of times, and catastrophic inadequacy now.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg ...

Trump's political strategy is to falsely repeat over and over that the coronavirus is unprecedented, that no one saw it coming, and that his response has been "great." [21]

1. "Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count," The New York Times, accessed April 2, 2020

5. Ibid.

6. "Trump: 'I Don't Take Responsibility at All,'" New York, March 13, 2020

7. "I ran the White House pandemic office. Trump closed it." The Washington Post, March 13, 2020

13. "Slow Response to the Coronavirus Measured in Lost Opportunity," The New York Times, March 24, 2020

14. "All the President's Lies About the Coronavirus," The Atlantic, March 24, 2020

15. Ibid.

16. Ibid.

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