Despite these and other extreme steps, the United States will likely go down as the country that was supposedly best prepared to fight a pandemic but ended up catastrophically overmatched by the novel coronavirus, sustaining heavier casualties than any other nation.
It did not have to happen this way. Though not perfectly prepared, the United States had more expertise, resources, plans and epidemiological experience than dozens of countries that ultimately fared far better in fending off the virus…
…The Trump administration received its first formal notification of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China on Jan. 3. Within days, U.S. spy agencies were signaling the seriousness of the threat to Trump by including a warning about the coronavirus — the first of many — in the President’s Daily Brief.
And yet, it took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus not as a distant threat or harmless flu strain well under control, but as a lethal force that had outflanked America’s defenses and was poised to kill tens of thousands of citizens. That more-than-two-month stretch now stands as critical time that was squandered.
The government’s stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment is nearly drained just as the numbers of people infected with the coronavirus and in need of critical care is surging. Back in January, the first alarms were sounding about the outbreak in China. In time, it would become a global pandemic. An Associated Press review has found that the Trump administration squandered precious months before bolstering the federal stockpile of urgently needed medical supplies and equipment.
Until now, I have generally been reluctant to label Donald Trump the worst president in U.S. history. As a historian, I know how important it is to allow the passage of time to gain a sense of perspective. Some presidents who seemed awful to contemporaries (Harry S. Truman) or simply lackluster (Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush) look much better in retrospect. Others, such as Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson, don’t look as good as they once did…
…This fiasco is so monumental that it makes our recent failed presidents — George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter — Mount Rushmore material by comparison. Trump’s Friday night announcement that he’s firing the intelligence community inspector general who exposed his attempted extortion of Ukraine shows that he combines the ineptitude of a George W. Bush or a Carter with the corruption of Richard Nixon.
Do you remember the moment when President Trump’s bearing and words made clear that he grasped not only the magnitude of this rapidly metastasizing pandemic but also our terror in the face of it?
It passed me by, maybe because it never happened.
In Trump’s predecessors, for all their imperfections, I could sense the beat of a heart and see the glimmer of a soul. In him I can’t, and that fills me with a sorrow and a rage that I quite frankly don’t know what to do with.
It began in April 2018 — more than a year and a half before the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, Covid-19, sickened enough people in China that authorities realized they were dealing with a new disease.
Advertising in the Failing New York Times is WAY down. Washington Post is not much better. I can’t say whether this is because they are Fake News sources of information, to a level that few can understand, or the Virus is just plain beating them up. Fake News is bad for America!
► Governor Jared Polis is fighting it out with the federal government as Colorado rushes to get enough ventilators to patients. From The Denver Post:
Colorado was making a deal with a manufacturer for an order of much-needed ventilators when the Federal Emergency Management Agency swooped in and took it themselves, Gov. Jared Polis told CNN on Friday night.
It was one thing for states to be competing among themselves for vital resources to fight the novel coronavirus, Polis said. Now they’re competing against the federal government, too.
“Either be in or out,” Polis told CNN’s Don Lemon. “Either you’re buying them and you’re providing them to states and you’re letting us know what we’re going to get and when we’re going to get them. Or you stay out, and let us buy them.”
Prior to Polis’ comments, CNN reported that Colorado had an order canceled for 500 ventilators, among other supplies, because the items were being bought by FEMA. A congressional source told CNN that Colorado was told it was not on the priority list and the state would have to find its own supplies.
The former intelligence community inspector general, who informed Congress of the whistleblower complaint that led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment, said Sunday that he believes Trump fired him for doing his job.
Michael Atkinson said in a statement that he was “disappointed and saddened” by Trump’s decision to oust him on Friday, with the President stating that Atkinson did not have his “fullest confidence.”
“It is hard not to think that the President’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General, and from my commitment to continue to do so,” Atkinson wrote.
► As Politico reports, President Trump’s brief uptick in public support has already dissolved:
Support for President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has diminished over the past two weeks, according to a new survey, with a majority of Americans now disapproving of his response to the public health crisis.
An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday reports that 52 percent of respondents disapprove of his management of the deadly outbreak, while only 47 percent approve.
The president’s latest rating in the survey shows Trump’s support backsliding from the levels he achieved in mid-March, when more than half of Americans, 55 percent, approved of his response and 43 percent disapproved.
► The Denver Post looks at small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Colorado that are taking advantage of the new Paycheck Protection Program created from coronavirus stimulus funding.
► Never one to dismiss a grudge, President Trump is taking every opportunity to kick former Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who is again running for U.S. Senate in Alabama — square in the nuts. As CNN explains:
President Donald Trump’s campaign has sent a letter to Jeff Sessions demanding the former attorney general stop using Trump’s name in his campaign materials for his US Senate bid.
“We only assume your campaign is doing this to confuse President Trump’s loyal supporters in Alabama into believing the President supports your candidacy in the upcoming primary run-off election. Nothing could be further from the truth,” wrote Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of the Trump campaign, to Sessions in the letter obtained by CNN and first reported by The New York Times.
Trump has long held a grudge against his former attorney general, whose recusal from the Russia investigation in early 2017 led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.