Trump Caused Most US Covid 19 Deaths
Millions of Americans are suffering and dying because of Trump’s incompetence and massive failure in leadership.
- The US has more cases of covid 19 and more deaths from it than any other nation worldwide.
- The US covid death rate is 100 times higher than it is in China.
The Boston Globe said Trump “has blood on his hands,” and was “a president unfit for a pandemic.”
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cures.
Timing is everything in an epidemic. To limit covid 19, leaders must:
- use clear, consistent, regular communication about how to manage the disease
- quickly get people to avoid crowds, use social distancing in public, and wash their hands regularly
- establish widely available diagnostic testing
- isolate the infected
- trace all the contacts of the infected
Trump ignored the threat until the stock market crashed in fear and forced him to admit covid 19 wasn’t just like the flu.
- This is like ignoring your smoke detector and waiting to call the Fire Department until your whole house is burning down.
- Trump has downplayed and minimized the threat over 60 times.
- Even now, with nearl 300,000 dead, he still constantly lies, downplays the epidemic, and urges reopening schools and businesses despite high community rates of spread.
Hong Kong and all the following countries did a great job:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- Costa Rica
- United Arab Emirates
They all either prevented widespread cases of covid 19 or successfully flattened the curve of the disease early on and largely controlled their outbreaks.
After very bad starts, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy all managed to reduce their infection curves to low levels and to reopen without causing a new spike.
In many countries, life has gone back to normal. For example, in New Zealand, 10,000 people attended a baseball game. Crowds attend baseball games in Taiwan, too.
Trump did such a terrible job that now, most countries around the world ban Americans from entering, as a danger to their people.
The Late Start That Let Covid 19 Explode
Dr. Fauci and other experts on the White House coronavirus task force tried to get Trump to announce social distancing measures as early as February 21.
Instead, Trump waited until March 16 to urge Americans to limit travel, avoid groups, and stay home from school.
Two scientific studies show if Trump had done this just TWO WEEKS earlier, it would have saved the vast majority of deaths from covid 19.
- A study in April at the University of Washington estimated we would have avoided 90% of our deaths from covid 19 if we had established social distancing policies just 2 weeks earlier.
- Another study in May at Columbia University estimated we would have avoided 83% of our deaths from covid 19 if we had established social distancing policies just 2 weeks earlier.
If Trump had simply listened to what his own health experts told him, he would have recommended social distancing OVER 3 WEEKS EARLIER!
Even After Italy and South Korea took aggressive measures to respond to the pandemic, Trump refused to cancel campaign rallies and refused to tell people to stay home or avoid crowds.
In contrast, some of our governors did a good job with quick, effective action and clear, consistent science-based communications.
- For example, Governor Cuomo of New York managed to turn his state from the highest rate of infections in the US to the lowest rate among states.
Trump Ignored Early Warnings & Eliminated Pandemic Prevention
For decades, officials, experts, and leaders like President Clinton, President G. W. Bush, Al Gore, President Obama, Bill Gates, and James Clapper have warned about a pandemic and the need to prepare better.
During Trump’s administration, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Warren, Trump’s own health experts Anthony Fauci, Tom Frieden, and Alex Azar, and Trump’s Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats had all warned about the dangers of a pandemic. Some of these warnings specifically mentioned coronavirus.
From January to August 2019, Trump’s own experts at Health and Human Services (HHS) had conducted a “Crimson Congagion” exercise simulating a serious pandemic.
- Their October 2019 report marked “draft, sensitive, not for distribution” showed poor readiness that would devastate the US economy with 7.7 million hospitalizations, 580,000 deaths, great disability, and great job losses.
- The report warned there would be a dangerous, massive shortage of personal protective equipment like face masks and gloves.
- Even so, Trump didn’t bother to order the production of these supplies.
- And apparently, they didn’t like the results, so a final report never came out.
After the Ebola outbreak, Obama set up our Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), a program at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) designed to identify and stop infectious epidemics before they cross borders.
- cut 80% of the funding for our GHSA.
- cut funding for the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Predict program, a part of GHSA that paid scientists to test animals and people in high risk areas for viruses to jump from animal to human in 31 countries, including China.
- eliminated a centralized White House director in the National Security Council for Global Health Security and Biodefense and its team, which was created to place a czar near the president to effectively coordinate between all our government agencies for pandemic response.
- eliminated pandemic preparedness simulations at the Department of Homeland Security.
- cut funding for the World Health Organization, the National Institute of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other US public health agencies.
- asked Congress in his 2020 budget to cut pandemic preparedness by $102.9 million, part of $595.5 million in cuts to public health preparedness.
- eliminated USAID’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund for emerging or unforeseen crises.
- Cut the staff of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) by 2/3.
Trump’s cuts sabotaged our worldwide early warning system and reduced or eliminated CDC pandemic control teams in 39 out of the 49 countries it had been helping, including China.
- Just as the covid 19 pandemic began, this shut down our field work providing eyes and ears on the ground in China to counteract Chinese misinformation.
- The cuts called the last remaining US CDC officer embedded in China’s CDC home in July 2019.
- The cuts left us with no local intelligence for detecting disease outbreaks in China.
With Trump firing people, eliminating the pandemic response team, and others leaving, Trump’s White House had nobody with any expertise in global pandemics.
After the H1N1 swine flu outbreak, Obama decided to require every health care provider, including hospitals and nursing homes, to create airborne infection control plans and stockpile personal protective equipment like N95 masks.
- This new rule went through 6 years of review at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
- OSHA planned to put the rule into effect in October, 2017.
- The Trump administration got rid of it.
Each year, our intelligence agencies produce a Worldwide Threat Assessment and report on it to Congress at a hearing in the House Intelligence Committee.
- In 2017, 2018, and 2019, this yearly assessment warned about the possibility of a pandemic that could lead to massive death and disability, severely affect the world economy, and strain international resources.
- The 2020 Worldwide Threat Assessment had a similar pandemic warning.
- Our intelligence agencies scheduled a briefing to Congress on this year’s Worldwide Threat Assessment for February 12.
- Trump cancelled this hearing and it has not been rescheduled.
Trump Ignored the Expert Pandemic Guidebook Obama Gave Him & Weakened White House Science
President Obama did a great job with the H1N1 epidemic in 2009 and the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
After the Ebola crisis, the Obama National Security Council had the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), administered by the OSTP, write a 69-page expert guide on how to fight a pandemic. It detailed advice on:
- tracking new viruses
- key questions and decisions when a threat becomes credible
- how the White House should oversee and coordinate the various branches of government
- the importance of early action, including extra funding from Congress
- the need to stockpile emergency supplies
- how to ramp up testing effectively
Obama was so concerned about a pandemic, his transition team carefully prepared Trump’s team by:
- highlighting the threat in a tabletop exercise for Trump’s incoming officials.
- giving Trump the expert pandemic guidebook so they could just follow the step-by-step instructions if an outbreak occurred.
Instead, anti-science Trump ignored it and greatly weakened both PCAST and OSTP.
- On January 22, 2017, the day after Trump’s inauguration, he took down the PCAST website and all of its reports.
- He ignored the recommendation for an assistant to the president dedicated to pandemic prevention and response.
- Besides cutting the staff of OSTP by 2/3, Trump left it without a director for 2 years.
- When he did finally install a director at OSTP, he changed the job so it no longer assisted the president with direct communications.
- After that, none of Trump’s assistants had any scientific expertise.
- He left PCAST dormant until November 2019, when he appointed mostly people from industry to it, instead of the previous mix of academia and industry.
- He narrowed the focus of PCAST to “winning in future industries.”
- The minutes of PCAST meetings for February 3 and 4 had no discussion of the covid 19 pandemic.
- Trump’s PCAST has done no work!
Instead, Trump expected the remaining National Security Council to address epidemics, biological threats, and weapons of mass destruction.
- PCAST had clearly warned lumping all these responsibilities together would neglect pandemic preparedness.
Trump Ignored the Covid Outbreak & Refused All Early Requests for Help
As far back as November, US intelligence officials first warned about a new coronavirus spreading in China.
- A November 2019 report from the US military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) found “it could be a cataclysmic event.”
- Throughout December 2019, experts briefed the NCMI report warning multiple times across the US government, including to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, and the White House.
Experts briefed President Trump on the NCMI warning about coronavirus in early January. And he got over a dozen more warnings in January and February. For example:
- The CDC activated an emergency management system for coronavirus on Jan 7.
- On January 27, White House Domestic Policy Council head Joe Grogan warned coronavirus would dominate public life for months and if the administration didn’t take it seriously, it could cost Trump the next election.
- On January 27, the CDC’s Nancy Messonnier warned we need to prepare for a possible coronavirus pandemic.
- On January 29, Economic advisor Peter Navarro warned the National Security Council that coronavirus could kill half a million Americans and wipe out $5.7 trillion from our economy.
- On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a global health emergency.
- On January 30, Alex Azar again warned Trump about the threat and Trump dismissed him as “alarmist.”
In late January, his own Health and Human Services (HHS) asked for $2 billion to buy masks and other emergency supplies but the Trump administration still didn’t believe any extra money would be needed.
In late January, Trump’s own medical experts identified a likely critical shortage of ventilators, too, but Trump ignored it. If he had acted then, we would have had them by April, just when they were desperately needed.
On February 5, Senators met with Dr. Fauci, HHS head Alex Azar, and top Trump officials. The medical experts and Senators pressed the Trump officials to request emergency funding to hire staff and stockpile supplies for the coming pandemic.
The Trump administration ignored them, claiming to have everything in control, saying it wasn’t time to panic, hire staff or buy supplies, and they didn’t need any additional funding.
Trump and his administration constantly claimed it was under control, even into March.
As cases spread like wildfire, the Trump administration didn’t ask Congress for money until February 24. Even then, they asked Congress for just $500 million for HHS, instead of the $2 billion HHS requested way back in January.
Trump Responds with Total Chaos
No Clear Chain of Command
Despite all the warnings, Trump completely ignored the expert PCAST pandemic guidebook and NEVER launched a focused, strong, centralized, well-coordinated response with a czar to lead a smooth integration of all our various health security agencies.
- On February 27, Trump put Mike Pence in charge of a White House task force responding to the covid 19 pandemic.
- Trump also put Deborah Birx in charge of the same task force as chair or coordinator.
- Trump also put Jared Kushner in charge of the White House response, overseeing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
At first, the world-renowned Dr. Fauci, with 40 years of experience in leading public health, had a prominent role in TV briefings.
- But when Dr Fauci’s honesty angered Trump, he kicked Dr. Fauci out of meetings and refused to allow Fauci to appear for most media requests.
In March, Trump put Brett Giroir, a man forced to resign within 30 minutes or he’d be fired from vaccine work at Texas A&M University, as czar in charge of covid 19 testing at FEMA.
- In June, Trump “demobilized” him, with no plans for a new czar for testing.
Bidding Wars & Dangerous Hospitals
With no one person in charge and frequent changes in process, communication, coordination, and progress were poor.
The government should move supplies and equipment to the places with the greatest need. Instead, we had chaos. For example:
- North Carolina requested 500,000 medical coveralls and got just 306.
- New Jersey asked for 2,300 ventilators and got just 300.
- Oklahoma requested 12,000 face shields and got 120,000 (10 times as many).
- Oklahoma also got 84,000 N95 masks, over twice what they requested.
Meanwhile, because Florida’s governor Ronald DeSantis had close ties to Trump:
- Florida got its requested 430,000 surgical masks in 3 days.
- Florida got its requested 180,000 N95 masks in 3 days.
And Florida got even more shipments soon after.
In all the confusion, we actually increased the EXPORT of medical supplies as the coronavirus spread.
- In just one day, while our doctors and nurses risked their lives without needed medical equipment, foreigners bought around 280 million masks in US warehouses to ship abroad!
- Congresswoman Katie Porter found the value of masks exported to China in February 2020 increased nearly 11 times (1094%) over February 2019.
- Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett revealed documents showing Trump was actively pushing American businesses to export medical supplies to China even as late as March 2!
The chaos forced hospitals and state governors nationwide to spend days and even weeks in frantic bidding wars, fighting to get desperately needed supplies.
- Very often, governors and hospitals would order equipment then find FEMA had outbid them!
Without the needed life-saving supplies, doctors and nurses across the US became afraid of performing their basic job functions.
Denying Help & Insulting Officials, Public Health Experts, & Journalists
When desperate governors and hospital and public health officials begged for help, Trump:
- told them to “try getting it yourselves.”
- said “The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”
- scolded a governor, saying he “shouldn’t be relying on the federal government.”
- insulted them, calling them complainers with insatiable appetites, snakes, etc.
- told them they don’t need anywhere near the amount of supplies they request
- suggested that health care workers are stealing or selling supplies
When reporters asked Trump about the poor government response, he said, “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
When reporters ask Trump about problems related to the epidemic, he feels threatened and insults them:
- calling them third-rate or terrible reporters
- calling them a disgrace
- threatening them
- calling them fake news
- calling them nasty or horrid
- claiming they will never succeed in their jobs
- saying “you don’t know any better”
- saying “you don’t have the sense to understand what’s going on”
- telling them “you don’t have the brains you were born with”
Sabotaging Public Health with Lies Contradicting Experts
Instead of putting his own experts in charge or listening to their advice, Trump constantly contradicted them and lied, for months on end. He often claimed the virus was:
- totally under control
- would miraculously disappear
- was just like the flu
- was hyped by Democrats in a hoax
On March 2, Trump claimed we’d have vaccines “relatively soon.” At that time, his expert Dr. Fauci was saying a vaccine would take a year and a half.
On March 12, Trump claimed there are “a million tests out now.” Actually, the Centers for Disease Control had only completed 4,000 tests.
On March 30, even after a month of frantic, desperate doctors, hospitals, and governors begging for testing kits, when governors pushed Trump for more testing equipment, he responded “I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”
When state governors established stay at home orders, social distancing, and masks to protect their people, Trump
- mocked the governors
- encouraged angry protestors by tweeting LIBERATE Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia
Because Trump sabotaged his own experts with lies and disinformation, rumors and conspiracy theories spread like wildfire, making it difficult for Americans to know what to do.
Trump has established far weaker safety standards for reopening than other countries and never even enforced them.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends before places reopen, the percentage of people testing positive should be less than 5% for at least 2 weeks.
- Trump’s CDC recommended reopening with just less than 20% positive for at least 2 weeks.
Trump’s White House also called for states to wait until all the following things decreased before opening up:
- reported flu-like illnesses
- reported covid-like illnesses
- documented covid cases found
- the percentage of positive cases in testing
But Trump’s lies and rosy predictions discouraged prevention measures and proper criteria for reopening, especially among his base of skeptical Republicans.
- Trump-friendly Republican governors in states like Mississippi, Texas, and Florida refused mask and stay-at-home orders for far too long.
- Even in April, when experts said reopening would lead to disaster, Republican governors reopened anyway.
- These states reopened even though they didn’t meet Trump’s own weak guidelines for safely reopening.
These things just fueled explosive transmission and deaths from coronavirus.
Trump’s denials also meant:
- New Orleans didn’t know enough to cancel Mardi Gras.
- Florida didn’t know enough to cancel spring break.
This made both Louisiana and Florida hot spots for coronavirus outbreaks.
Even Today, Refusing to Fight Covid 19
Trump refuses to require safety standards nationwide.
- He still won’t tell the whole nation to stay home or to wear masks.
- There has been no effort to establish isolation or quarantine centers in unused dormitories or hotels where people in crowded homes could go to avoid infecting their families.
- There are no national guidelines for diagnostic and antibody testing.
- There are no national rules for monitoring hot spots.
We know that the worst hotspots are jails, prisons, nursing homes, and meat packing plants. And we know outbreaks there will inevitably spread in their local communities.
- Yet there has been no nationwide effort to regularly test workers, inmates, and clients in these places.
Now Trump insists that all schools must reopen but so far, he hasn’t offered them any extra money to do so safely.
Mostly Refusing to Use Government Emergency Powers
Our government has used the Defense Production Act (DPA) for 70 years. This act allows us to force production of desperately needed supplies and equipment.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses the DPA routinely after floods and hurricanes, over 1,000 times in 2018 alone.
- Trump’s Defense Department has used the DPA to place around 300,000 orders a year for things like chemicals to build missiles, rare earth minerals to build lasers, jet engines, and armored vehicles, materials to build drones, or body armor for border patrol agents.
Throughout the covid pandemic, many organizations and individuals have constantly begged Trump to use the emergency DPA powers to mass produce desperately needed medical supplies, including:
- many members of Congress
- the American Medical Association
- the American Hospital Association
- many state governors and local officials
Instead, Trump often claimed he was using the DPA but then repeatedly contradicted himself by arguing against using the DPA:
- it’s “not needed yet”
- “the threat of using it was enough”
- explaining companies were volunteering
- “We’re getting what we need without the heavy hand of government.”
- “We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela, ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well. The concept of nationalizing our business is not a good concept.”
- “it would be too much like socialism”
- claiming he used the act 3 or 4 times but “pulled it back because the companies came through in the end”
- Meanwhile, Trump aides often admitted Trump wasn’t using the emergency DPA powers.
Despite Trump’s fears:
- Forcing companies to make desperately needed supplies is not socialism or nationalizing the businesses.
- Those companies remain privately owned and the disruption is only temporary.
- And using the DPA is much faster than simply asking private companies for help and cooperation. But Trump refuses to use the DPA much at all.
On March 13, 57 members of Congress wrote a letter to urge Trump to use the DPA to produce supplies needed for the pandemic, warning that failing to act immediately would endanger the lives of Americans.
On March 27, Trump falsely claimed he used the DPA to order General Motors (GM) to make ventilators, generating plenty of good publicity.
- GM was already working hard on plans to make ventilators.
- Trump surprised and upset GM executives by falsely publicly scolding them about being slow preparing to make ventilators and falsely claiming they were haggling about prices. (GM didn’t even plan to make a profit on them.)
- Two days later, Trump said, “General Motors is doing a fantastic job. I don’t think we have to worry about General Motors now.”
- By April 2, Trump still hadn’t issued the order to GM but his administration claimed to order 5 more companies to make ventilators.
- None of these orders explained how the government would force them to make ventilators, nor how many would be made.
- Peter Navarro, named by Trump to oversee enforcement of the DPA, said Trump was relying on voluntary updates from the companies.
Trump has used the DPA for only 4 things, if you can include the above GM ventilators threats and publicity.
- On April 2, Trump finally used the DPA to order mask manufacturer 3M to produce N95 respirator masks.
- In late April, Trump used the DPA to force meat packing plants to stay open, even though they are hot spots of the pandemic.
- In May, Trump used the DPA to spend money to increase swab production for covid testing.
But even after 137,000 deaths from covid 19, Trump still refuses to use the DPA to make desperately needed:
- testing kits for covid 19
- covid testing reagents (chemicals)
- viral transport media for covid testing
- other needed masks besides N95 respirator masks
- face shields
- elastic bands
- tongue depressors
- decontamination equipment
Instead, Trump just lied regularly that he was distributing millions of pieces of equipment like corovavirus testing kits, personal protective gear, and ventilators.
- The government pipeline had only massively smaller quantities of personal protective equipment and ventilators in distribution.
In July, angry members of Congress, public health officials, doctors, and hospitals continued to complain about the ongoing lack of personal protective equipment.
- In response to all the bad publicity, HHS claimed 19 companies received orders under DPA to acquire emergency supplies, including 600 million N95 masks.
- Again, it’s very likely most of these orders were voluntary requests.
- Experts say it is not enough anyway and it started far too late.
- In fact, only half the masks ordered will be delivered by the end of 2020.
Under Trump, Big Money Sabotaged Our National Strategic Stockpile
Instead of preparing for a pandemic, Trump let one well-connected company shape his own government and prepare for biowarfare.
Emergent BioSolutions has spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying over the last decade to shape our national health preparedness defense. Since Trump’s inauguration alone, they have used 60 lobbyists.
- One was a former senior official in Trump’s White House budget office.
- Two were former members of Trump’s presidential transition team.
- Ten were former chiefs of staff to Republican Congressmen.
- Another was former Republican Congressman Tom Latham.
They lobbied to take the National Strategic Stockpile and its $700 million budget away from the CDC and move it under the control of Robert Kadlec, Trump’s new Assistant Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
- Some senior officials at the White House National Security Council and the CDC argued the move would be a mistake.
- Trump moved the National Strategic Stockpile just like the lobbyists wanted in 2018.
- This separated the stockpile from CDC grant programs pushing state and local governments to prepare for public health emergencies, making their coordination with the feds for assistance more complicated.
- Kadlec had consulted with Emergent and also started a consulting company with Emergent’s founder.
- During his confirmation hearings, Kadlec denied any conflicts of interest, failing to mention his previous work with Emergent.
- As soon as Kadlec was confirmed as the top official for public health preparedness in 2017, he started pushing to buy $2.8 billion worth of a smallpox vaccine from Emergent.
More importantly, Kadlec also changed the interagency purchasing process to diminish the role of government experts, putting just himself and a small circle of advisers in charge of decisions.
Under Kadlec, personal protective equipment became a very low priority for our Strategic National Stockpile.
- Kadlec cut planned spending on emerging infectious pandemics, despite warnings from scientists.
- For example, he ended an Obama program to spend $35 million to build a machine that could produce 1.5 million N95 masks a day.
Emergent has used its influence to raise their annual revenue to $1.1 billion.
- They consolidated control of treatments for anthrax poisoning, botulism, smallpox, and other threats for our Strategic National Stockpile, cornering the market.
- With no competition, they jacked up prices.
- Their primary customer, accounting for most of their revenue, is our government.
Kushner’s Personal Protective Equipment Fiasco
Normally in a crisis, FEMA recruits extra manpower with supply chain logistics expertise from other agencies, such as the military.
Instead, Trump also put his son-in-law Jared Kushner in charge of a shadow supply chain task force that chose which of thousands of leads for personal protective equipment to forward to FEMA for final approval.
- Kushner’s task force used his friends from consulting and investment firms.
- Some had relevant experience, but many others had little to no experience in health care, supply chain operations, or medical equipment.
- None had relationships with manufacturers or understanding of customs requirements or Food and Drug Administration rules or approved equipment.
- A former assistant to Ivanka Trump was put in charge. She told them to prioritize leads from Trump friends and conservative political allies.
- They ignored legitimate offers but sent a lead for N95 masks from a former Apprentice TV show contestant to 3 top federal agencies.
- Kushner used the national stockpile to send ventilators as favors to political allies.
- Kushner’s friends on the task force ended up confused and overwhelmed and few of their leads panned out.
- For example, New York gave a $69 million contract for ventilators to a Silicon Valley engineer recommended by Kushner’s task force and never got one ventilator. New York had to try to recover the money.
- After Kushner’s friends left in early April, various suppliers called FEMA asking what happened to their offers of personal protective equipment, never forwarded by Kushner’s team.
Prestige Ameritech near Fort Worth offered to make 1.7 million N95 masks each week and could have made 7 million a month.
- Our government ignored them until April.
- Instead, our government wasted $600 million on other contractors, some with no history of supplying medical equipment, paying some of them 8 times the cost of Prestige’s masks.
When 200 cities complained about a severe lack of face masks, ventilators, and other emergency equipment for police, firefighters, and emergency workers, Trump accused them of playing politics and claimed, “we have done a hell of a job!”
Deadly Long Delays in Coronavirus Testing
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