Mother Jones


On January 22, two days after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States, President Trump breezily declared, “We have it totally under control.” Over the next four months, more than 1.4 million Americans would become infected, nearly 100,000 would die, and 39 million would lose their jobs. While we don’t know what the months ahead hold, we have already witnessed the devastating consequences of the president’s attempt to spin, bluster, and blame his way out of a national emergency that will go down as the greatest scandal of a scandal-plagued presidency.


January 2017: Incoming Trump administration officials meet with Obama officials for an exercise about how to handle “the worst influenza pandemic since 1918.” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly dozes off during the meeting.

May 2017: Trump proposes slashing billions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies. Congress does not approve the cuts.

June 2017: A CDC-funded study finds that a severe pandemic could quickly deplete the national ventilator stockpile.

May 2018: The National Security Council disbands its directorate for global health security and biodefense, and its head, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, resigns. • Senators Elizabeth Warren and Patty Murray request a briefing from national security adviser John Bolton on pandemic response. He does not respond.

January 2019: The Department of Health and Human Services begins Crimson Contagion, a series of exercises about a hypothetical influenza pandemic that starts in China. Its final report finds that the medical supply chain is unprepared and the government does not have the funding to fully respond to a severe outbreak.

December 31, 2019: China informs the World Health Organization about a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, cause unknown.

Early January 2020: The novel coronavirus is mentioned in the president’s daily intelligence and security brief. The warnings are reportedly given to Trump throughout January and February. • CDC head Dr. Robert Redfield speaks with his Chinese counterpart, who reportedly sobs on the call.


January 18: While spending a weekend golfing at Mar-a-Lago, Trump receives his first major briefing on the coronavirus from HHS Secretary Alex Azar. The president reportedly wants to discuss lifting a ban on flavored vaping products.

January 20: The CDC confirms the first COVID-19 case in the United States, a Washington man who returned from Wuhan five days earlier. • South Korea reports its first case.

January 22: Asked if his administration is worried about a coronavirus pandemic, Trump says, “No, we’re not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China.”

January 23: China locks down Wuhan.

Trump tweets: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly

Вы читаете отрывок, зарегистрируйтесь, чтобы читать полное издание.

Другое от: Mother Jones

Mother Jones3 мин. чтения
Et Tu, USA?
Are we Rome? It’s a question people in the United States have been asking for almost as long as there’s been a United States. It’s also the title of a 2007 book by Cullen Murphy, editor-at-large of the Atlantic and—full disclosure—my dad. The book st
Mother Jones5 мин. чтения
Bitter Pill
Amid the flood of bad news about the coronavirus, in April there was a buoy: A major clinical trial showed that an antiviral medication called remdesivir shortened the length of time that patients are sick with COVID-19, from a median of 15 days down
Mother Jones2 мин. чтенияPolitics
Rep. Matt Gaetz: The Trump loyalist showed up on the House floor wearing a gas mask as he voted on Congress’ emergency spending bill in early March. Less than a week after pulling this stunt, the Florida Republican went into self-isolation after disc