It will likely be years before we get a full sense of the scope of the incompetence of the Trump administration. Our reality television president surrounded himself almost exclusively with crooks and yesmen, a decision that quite literally cost American lives when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. A new book by Washington Post reporters Yasmen Abtualeb and Damian Paletta offers the latest glimpse behind the curtain of the Trump years and what it shows is disturbing.
The book, entitled Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” reveals that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and other administration officials were often verbally abusive to Robert Kadlec, the emergency preparedness chief for the Department of Health and Human Services. At a time when what the country needed most was stable, levelheaded leadership, Kushner and co were falling to pieces behind closed doors.
In March, Kadlec informed Kushner that he had managed to source 600 million face masks to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The problem was that the masks wouldn’t be ready for distribution until the end of June, a revelation that caused Kushner to lash out at Kadlec.
“You f*cking moron. We’ll all be dead by June!” exploded Kushner.
Trump’s Chief of Staff at the time, Mark Meadows, also unloaded on Kadlec and threatened to fire him over issues with the distribution of remdesivir, an antiviral drug used to treat COVID-19.
In addition to showing just how poorly Trump officials handled themselves in the midst of a crisis, the news about Kushner proves that these people fully understood how serious the pandemic was even as they continued to downplay the risks in public. They were far more concerned about playing politics and handling the PR of the pandemic than they were in actually fighting it.
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