Every time the bar seems like it can’t go any lower when it comes to Donald Trump and the incessant battle he wages against the truth, it does.
During tonight’s White House press briefing, President Trump had the nerve to complain that the world “wasn’t” told there was an epidemic and groused that “people knew it was happening but people didn’t want to talk about it.”
Trump says he's angry he wasn't told there was an epidemic: "And I was angry, because this should have been told to us. It should have been told to us early. It should have been told to us a lot sooner. People knew it was happening and people didn't want to talk about it." pic.twitter.com/XgWWaXAWTF
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 16, 2020
He was obviously insinuating that the Chinese are somehow responsible for the coronavirus pandemic for not warning the world in time and for refusing to allow WHO inspectors in fast enough, which is a reasonable topic for debate.
But it is horrifyingly ironic to hear him make this argument because it is well documented that he and his administration knew it was happening and he didn’t want to talk about it and that his inaction allowed the crisis to spiral out of control.
President Trump was first briefed on the threat posed by the virus on January 18th, just three days after the first COVID-19 case in the United States was discovered. On January 29th, economic advisor Peter Navarro warned the White House in a memo that the novel coronavirus could kill half a million Americans and cause trillions in economic damage.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar personally warned Trump about the pandemic on January 30th, the same day that the World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic. In all, Trump’s administration would be warned at least ten times in the time between the discovery of the virus and the declaration of a national emergency on March 11th.
But not only did he not take any action, the Trump team actively sabotaged early efforts to combat the virus. POLITICO reports that his team refused to aggressively pursue testing until it was far too late out of fear that it would hurt his re-election efforts.
A Congressional report compiled by Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) discovered that the Trump team was pushing sales of America’s mask and ventilator stockpiles to China as late as February 2nd. On top of that, she discovered that the administration was doing nothing to prepare for the pandemic’s arrival here in America:
“The import data that we identified and reviewed also reveal that the Trump Administration failed to prepare for COVID-19 and to protect the health of Americans. From January to February, when the U.S. should have been stockpiling medical supplies, the value of ventilator imports dropped by more than 10 percent. The data shows a similar pattern with PPE and cleaning supplies, which fell by 11.3%, over $161 million from January to February 2020, and N95 masks in particular, which fell by 14.2%.”
Projection is a hallmark of Donald Trump, as is his fondness for blaming his enemies for what he himself has done. His excuses, deflections, and provocations are a blueprint of guilt exposed for the whole nation to see.
But that doesn’t change how outrageous it is to see him complain that he wasn’t warned when there is well-documented evidence proving that he was, in fact, warned — and that his failure to act is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans.