Trump’s handling of the U.S. coronavirus crisis
June 3, 2020 - The first case of coronavirus reached the United States in mid-January. Since then, the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic has been described by former U.S. President Barack Obama as “an absolute chaotic disaster.”
While President Trump focused on China -- complaining that China was “misleading” the U.S. -- he ignored the threat from Europe.
On January 22, asked by a CNBC reporter whether there were “worries about a pandemic,” Trump replied: “No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
Trump enacted his travel ban for China on January 31 but did not adopt one for Europe until March 11, almost six weeks later.
The president continued to dismiss Covid-19 infections. On February 26, he said that “within a couple of days [it] is going to be down close to zero.”
When Covid-19 cases rose above 6,000 in mid-March, Trump then claimed that he always knew the coronavirus would be a pandemic.
In early May, The Washington Post reported that Trump was unhappy with epidemiological models suggesting a death toll over 100,000. The White House then created a new coronavirus task force led by Trump’s economic adviser Kevin Hassett. This team produced an analysis suggesting a much lower death toll.
Hassett’s so-called “cubic model” — developed on an Excel spreadsheet — showed Covid-19 deaths plummeting to zero by mid-May.
In January, the then-vaccine chief Dr Rick Bright warned the administration about shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially N95 respirators, in the national strategic stockpile. One of Team Trump’s silliest claims was blaming the lack of N95 respirators and other PPE on President Obama.
Then on May 27, the U.S. passed the grim milestone of 100,000 Covid-19 deaths -- almost as many Americans as were killed in World War One. And now the world’s largest economy is in the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
- All the President’s Lies About the Coronavirus (The Atlantic)
- Trumps advisers released a “beyond stupid” mathematical model of coronavirus deaths (Business Insider)
- How Kushner’s Volunteer Force Led a Fumbling Hunt for Medical Supplies (New York Times)
- Trump announces end of US relationship with World Health Organization (CNN)
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