The Washington Post has revealed that, early in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump proposed sending Americans infected with the deadly virus to the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba that has been used to house terrorist suspects since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The news comes from a new book by two reporters at the newspaper, Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, which details some of the early conversations at the Trump White House surrounding how to handle American citizens overseas who had been infected with the coronavirus and whether they should be allowed to be brought back stateside for treatment or not.
“In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as White House officials debated whether to bring infected Americans home for care, President Donald Trump suggested his own plan for where to send them, eager to suppress the numbers on U.S. soil,” the book’s authours state.
“Don’t we have an island that we own? What about Guantánamo? We import goods. We are not going to import a virus,” it quotes Donald Trump as having questioned his aides.
According to the report, the former president’s staff were “stunned” by his idea and the suggestion was soon shelved.
While callousness on the part of Donald Trump in regard to COVID victims doesn’t seem particularly out of character for a man who later suggested quack treatments like hydroxychloroquine or intravenous ultra-violet light and disinfectants like bleach as “cures” for the coronavirus, the news of his suggestion of quarantining infected citizens in a place akin to a Devil’s Island-type leper colony sparked outrage on social media.
The terrifying thing about that: literally no one who voted for him would change their vote based on that news. Over 70 million of our fellow Americans voted for that….
— M L C (@ChiCyph80) June 21, 2021
I’ve always said he wanted to do the bare minimum while wishing away the virus while also downplaying it hoping to protect himself politically. I was correct.
— FFS Taylor (@ffs_taylor) June 21, 2021
His understanding of numbers and what they represent is and has always been breathtakingly shallow. He complained all throughout 2020 about how widespread testing made "our numbers look bad."
I don't know whether he comprehended that the cases and deaths would be there anyway.
— Sir Humphrey (@bdquinn) June 21, 2021
now we know who did this:https://t.co/LJSGOFWgrY
— John Howard (@manyspaceships) June 21, 2021
The wonder is that he simultaneously did not muse aloud about whether he could develop hotels there for visiting family members and government officials at which he could charge excessive rates as at his other properties pic.twitter.com/oFEcSNnzbu
— riwoche རི་བོ་ཆེ་ (@riwoche) June 21, 2021
It’s what Jesus would have wanted.
— But It’s Allll Riiiight Now, Fontella Bass (@DonGone5) June 21, 2021
Mel Brooks. The Coen Brothers if they dumb down their typical dialogue. The creative teams behind Reno 911, South Park or Super Troopers. Absurdists, basically.
— Andrew Dzeguze, PhD JD (@Dr_Dzeguze) June 21, 2021
And that we own it
— Anita Paul (@apawlh) June 21, 2021
How much do you bet it would have only been blue voters there?
— FFS Taylor (@ffs_taylor) June 21, 2021
We all knew that in his initial run and his 3 previous years. When he wouldn't allow the cruise ships to bring the US passengers back, that was just one more notch.
— LAWoman 💉💉 (@pamster2009) June 21, 2021
— Elizabethnotthequeen (@LibbyforJustice) June 21, 2021
He really ain’t that bright.
— christian (xian) crumlish (@mediajunkie) June 21, 2021
Trump’s deranged mindset and utter disregard for anyone other than himself are perfectly displayed by the account that the authors of Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History have written.
In addition to the anecdote about Guantanamo, the book also includes several other frightening tales of dysfunction in the Trump administration during the height of the pandemic.
Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History will be available from all major booksellers as of June 29th and excerpts from the book are currently available in articles in The Washington Post.
Original reporting by
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Vinnie Longobardo is 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.