A new POLITICO report, which is based on more than half a dozen interviews from both White House staffers and outside advisers, as well as the publication’s previous reporting, explores the last two weeks inside Donald Trump‘s residence and his administration’s response to the rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic.
According to the piece, Trump was advised to warn the public that things were about the get worse due to the COVID-19 crisis but chose to ignore the warning.
“If tonight isn’t Trump saying, ‘This is bad and could get very worse, you need to take every precaution necessary,’ then he can kiss a second term goodbye,” an administration official reportedly said before Trump’s second Over Office address following the World Health Organization (WHO) announcement that coronavirus was a pandemic.
Despite the advice, Trump decided on a different approach for his address.
“Instead, the president, in hastily arranged remarks, said he was barring all travel from Europe and promised that health insurers had agreed to cover all coronavirus treatments,” the POLITICO report reads.
“Investors panicked — would necessary cargo still be allowed to come into the U.S.? Insurers were taken aback — they had only agreed to cover coronavirus tests, not all treatment.”
According to one White House official, the two weeks that followed was when everything changed in the White House and America, as celebrities like Tom Hanks tested positive for the virus, the NBA suspended its season, and America’s economy came to a standstill. It was also during this period that the Trump administration shifted its tone on coronavirus and began pushing the narrative of a country at war with an invisible enemy.
President Trump says no one saw this coming, but that’s just not true. Our own intelligence officials were warning of the coronavirus threat back in January. Trump ignored them, and now we’re paying the price. pic.twitter.com/HCNDWim5Oc
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) March 24, 2020
Trump has been accused of failing to heed critical pandemic warnings before. A POLITICO report claimed that Barack Obama‘s administration provided Trump’s team with a briefing before he took office, pointing to a possible influenza pandemic that could be the worst one since 1918. Although the scenario didn’t come to fruition, documents obtained by POLITICO claimed that the Trump team was briefed on specific challenges, including a shortage of medical essentials, such as ventilators, and the importance of a “coordinated, unified national response.”
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Laurie Garrett noted Trump’s decision to obliterate the Obama administration’s pandemic response infrastructure and suggested it was done out of spite. According to Garrett, this network was built on the foundation of Obama’s experience dealing with Ebola in 2014. Without this network, the administration was reportedly forced to throw together its own approach as the crisis quickly grew.