New reporting from NPR appears to show what once would be an unthinkable accusation is terrifyingly true: that the President of the United States personally and deliberately slow-walked the testing of suspected coronavirus victims for his own political goals.
POLITICO’s Dan Diamond joined the hosts of NPR’s “Fresh Air” show and revealed that it was his understanding from numerous off-the-record conversations with at least four senior Trump administration officials that the President did not push to do aggressive testing because it might have led to the discovery of more cases, and it was Trump’s belief that the lower the number of cases, the better chance of his re-election this fall.
NPR: “Trump did not push to do aggressive testing because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of the Coronavirus outbreak, and Trump made it clear the lower the numbers on Coronavirus, the better for the president and his re-election this fall.” https://t.co/4N9PDRmotT
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 12, 2020
This matches up with the rest of the Trump administration’s behavior since the epidemic began. The Trump administration decided to refuse to accept the test kits that the World Health Organization was shipping to countries around the world at the end of February and played a key role in enabling the spread of the virus. Instead, reports POLITICO, they decided to go ahead with an American-made test that inevitably was delayed by manufacturing issues, lab contamination, and logistical problems.
The consequences of the President and his team’s monstrously selfish attempts to downplay the seriousness of the virus and hide the true extent of the disease will be fatal for some. POLITICO reports that “the government’s incapacity to conduct widespread testing slowed diagnoses, creating chains of infection. It also deprived epidemiologists of a map that could have told them how far and how fast the virus was traveling and where they should concentrate efforts to slow it down.”
This is just the latest evidence that Donald Trump will do anything to ensure he wins re-election and keeps a grip on power, whether it’s deliberately enabling an epidemic in a wildly misguided effort to keep himself from getting blamed or abusing the powers of his office to bully our international allies into opening sham investigations into his political rivals. We cannot allow him to keep getting away with it.