As stock markets plunged today over fears over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy, the signs of the Trump administration’s inability to competently handle the growing health crisis are making not only Wall Street extremely nervous but Main Street as well.
In an ill-advised public tweet, Ken Cuccinelli — the losing former GOP gubernatorial candidate in Virginia who received a consolation appointment to be Trump’s immigration czar as the Acting Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security — revealed an embarrassing lack of access to basic information about the deadly virus’ spread for an official who is the top DHS official on the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force.
I just tried again, and it looks like Johns Hopkins put the information behind a membership wall of some kind. Seems like bad timing to stop helping the world with this (previously) useful resource. Here's hoping it goes back up soon.
— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) February 24, 2020
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post reporter on the DHS beat, for one, found the public plea for tech support in the face of an institutional paywall to be embarrassingly noteworthy in an administration that has broadly rejected the importance of scientific facts and research and slashed the funding of important relevant government agencies, such as the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, that should be in the forefront of protecting our nation from the worst potential impact of the pandemic.
Ken Cuccinelli, the #2 official at Homeland Security, is top DHS official on the Trump admin’s coronavirus task force. Someone please get him a Johns Hopkins membership. https://t.co/YWgezui0GP
— Nick Miroff (@NickMiroff) February 24, 2020
With state officials and senators already incensed over the poor communication and lack of coordination between the federal Health and Human Services agency and local health officials over the repatriation and quarantine plans for U.S. citizens arriving from travels in countries where the coronavirus outbreak has already gained significant ground, Cuccinelli’s display of cyber-ignorance and his failure to ante up the cost of access to crucial data is a particularly galling example of how poorly this administration is responding to the worldwide health crisis.
With a president who believes more in old wives’ tales than in scientific evidence, and tweets the factually dubious claim that warm weather will simply lead to the virus fading away, it may be time to start stocking up on provisions and staying at home as much as possible before the virus’ predicted growth in the US gets too widespread to avoid.
….he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone. Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2020
With no great discipline taking place in the United States, our nation immediately needs competent leadership to shepherd us through this crisis.
Unfortunately, the Republican Senate squandered the only likely opportunity to remove the science-adverse skeptic from the White House before the upcoming election, so it will be up to you to ensure that you protect America’s health — as well as the health of our democracy — by voting Trump out of office by as wide a margin as possible.
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.