The federal mismanaging of the coronavirus response is destined to define Donald Trump’s ignominious legacy. The potent mix of cruelty, dishonesty, and idiocy that the president has brought to this crisis distills the worst of what we’ve seen from him over the past few years into something tragic on a truly historic scale.
It is now clear beyond any reasonable doubt that electing Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016 ultimately resulted in, at the very least, thousands of unnecessary American deaths. Had we elected Hillary Clinton this pandemic would still be a herculean challenge for this country, but we would have been adequately prepared and we wouldn’t have had to listen to the president dismiss the outbreak as a “hoax” fabricated by her political rivals.
The more we learn about this administration’s handling of the virus, the worse it looks. A new report from The Nation reveals that the Department of Defense told the White House in 2017 that the country needed to acquire more ventilators and medical personal protective equipment in case of a viral outbreak. The administration declined to take action on the information. The rejected plan was eventually passed along to The Nation by an anonymous Pentagon official.
The Pentagon documents outlining the 2017 concerns provides an eerily prescient assessment: “The most likely and significant threat [enemy] is a novel respiratory disease, particularly a novel influenza disease.”
They go on to mention “coronavirus infections” as a specific area of concern. Obviously, these Pentagon officials were correct and immediate action should have been taken in response to their well-founded and researched findings.
Perhaps most damningly, the DOD plan also predicted that there would be shortages of necessary supplies.
“Competition for, and scarcity of resources will include…non-pharmaceutical MCM [Medical Countermeasures] (e.g., ventilators, devices, personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves), medical equipment, and logistical support. This will have a significant impact on the availability of the global workforce,” it states.
As we have seen over the past few weeks, the lack of these much-needed supplies has rapidly escalated the severity of this outbreak. People are dying because medical professionals lack the resources to properly help them.
Had President Trump taken this issue seriously three years ago we would have found ourselves in a much better position to provide healthcare to those in need. Once again, we see this president’s staggering incompetence directly affecting the lives of the American people in the worst ways imaginable.
In 2017 the military identified a novel influenza disease as "the most likely and significant threat" which it anticipated would lead to a shortage of ventilators, face masks and hospital beds, per Pentagon document leaked to me.
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) April 1, 2020