One of Trump’s main lies is that nobody knew how bad this could get, and that there were no policies put in place by the last administration to handle it.
That is simply not true.
Courtesy of Business Insider:
A series of media reports over the last several weeks revealed that Trump ignored multiple warnings about the prospect of a devastating pandemic that would overwhelm the country’s healthcare system and later publicly downplayed the virus after it reached the US.
Days before Trump’s inauguration, Obama administration officials briefed Trump officials on how to respond to a pandemic, Politico reported.
According to the report, the scenario Obama officials presented to the incoming administration had many similarities to the coronavirus outbreak. In the hypothetical, the outbreak began in Asia, spread to the US, and exposed significant holes in the healthcare system like a shortage of ventilators and antiviral drugs.
Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services conducted a training simulation about a hypothetical pandemic that predicted, with remarkable accuracy, many of the problems the novel coronavirus currently poses.
The New York Times reported that from January to August 2019, the training exercises simulated a scenario where a respiratory virus, dubbed “The Crimson Contagion,” began in China and rapidly spread through the US.
The Times obtained a draft report from the exercises that raised red flags about several shortcomings currently arising in the federal government’s response and messaging to contain the virus.
US intelligence officials were warning Trump about a pandemic as early as January, The Washington Post reported, as more information emerged on the respiratory virus spreading in China. The president was receiving the briefings at the same time that he publicly downplayed the risk of the virus.
By the end of January and beginning of February, a majority of the intelligence contained in Trump’s daily briefings was about the coronavirus, the report said.
“The system was blinking red,” one US official with access to the intelligence told The Post. “Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it.”
On Jan. 31, the Trump administration restricted most Chinese travelers from flying to the US. The president and his allies also repeatedly referred to the disease as the “Chinese virus,” which public health experts warned was racist and did little to help the situation.
Politico reported that the administration declined to use a nearly 70-page pandemic playbook that the National Security Council’s health unit put together under the Obama administration.
The document instructed federal officials on how to prepare for many of the same obstacles the Trump administration is now facing, including medical equipment shortages and a lack of coordination.
Current officials told Politico they decided not to use the playbook because it was outdated and many of the procedures had been revised since it was first created.
And here is how Trump made this crisis even worse.
Trump spent the last two years slashing many of the government agencies responsible for handling such an outbreak.
In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control cut 80% of its efforts to prevent global disease outbreaks because it was running out of money.
Ultimately, the department went from working in 49 countries to just 10.
Trump shut down the entire global-health-security unit of the National Security Council. He also reassigned Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, who would have overseen the US’s response to a pandemic in his previous role.
He eliminated the US government’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund.
He reduced national health spending by $15 billion.
He consistently attacked officials in charge of spearheading the US’s global health programs, like Mark Green, the director of the US Agency for International Development.
Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, also pushed out Tom Bossert, the White House homeland security adviser who had called for a robust strategy against pandemics and bioweapons attacks.
So I encourage you to use this post, or similar articles, to destroy any argument you hear from Trump supporters that this is not his fault.
It most assuredly is, and a much larger number of people are going to die because of his crippling incompetence.