President Donald Trump still has no set plan to combat the spread of coronavirus, just hours before he is set to hold a hastily-called 6 PM Wednesday press conference. According to Politico, Trump haas yet to decide whether or not to install a coronavirus czar to coordinate efforts, similar to how the Obama administration successfully staved off the spread of Ebola in 2014.
“Officials are still debating whether such a role is necessary, but the global spread has increased the urgency to elevate its response, and the Trump White House is eager to appear like it’s in control of containing the virus within the United States,” Politico adds.
The White House has floated former Trump FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb as one of several candidates to be named coronavirus czar, “but a senior administration official stressed that President Donald Trump will make the final call and has not yet made a decision about how to move forward.”
Coronavirus was first officially identified December 1, 2019. According to the World Health Organization, as of Tuesday, there are 80,239 confirmed cases, including 908 new cases since the previous day.
The vast majority of confirmed cases are within China, including 2666 deaths. Outside of China there have been 34 deaths.
Reports state Trump is “furious” over the stock market drop Monday and Tuesday, and “unhappy” with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, after a CDC official briefed Congress and later told the America people “we expect we will see community spread in the United States.”
“It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses,” that CDC official, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, said. “We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”
The Trump administration has said little about the potential human cost, nor has it done much to message how Americans should prepare, and what steps they should take tom protect themselves and their families.
Trump has made clear he is not a fan of czars to coordinate the federal government’s responses:
The new Ebola czar will report to the WH & NSA adviser Susan Rice. More mismanagement & duplicity with CDC. Obama is terrible executive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2014
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Bill Barr Wants an ‘Autocratic President’ — and He’s Made ‘Significant Progress’ Getting One: Ex-Bush DOJ Official
Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general who served under President George H.W. Bush, has issued a startling warning about Attorney General Bill Barr’s goals in pushing for the expansion of powers under the executive branch.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Ayer said that Barr has been all too eager to make the Department of Justice into President Donald Trump’s personal squad of attorneys whose job is to serve him and not the American public.
“[Barr’s] systematic trashing of the department’s traditions of even handedness and independence have helped him make significant progress toward his goal of an autocratic President,” Ayer said. “I think Barr is getting as much out of Trump as Trump is getting out of Barr. All for his own reasons of wanting the President to have complete and unchecked power.”
David Laufman, a former head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, tells The New Yorker that the consolidation of power around the president hasn’t just been limited to the DOJ.
“I think we need to be careful not to be too lackadaisical in recognizing the significance of what is happening throughout our government, not just in law enforcement and intelligence but the attempted politicization of our public health system,” he said.
‘Chaos’: Kushner-Commandeered Supply Chain Task Force Operates in the Dark, Turned Government Into Arm of Big Business
Jared Kushner is best known for his failures, and his decision to commandeer the supply chain task force and turn it into an arm of Big Business may be his greatest.
The supply chain task force, a part of the larger coronavirus task force, should be helping the federal government procure desperately-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks and shields, along with life-saving medical equipment like ventilators, at a lower cost, and distributing it to the areas that need it the most.
But under Kushner’s manipulation, the supply chain task force has “virtually no accountability,” NBC News reports. It has “operated almost entirely in the dark, releasing few details of their arrangements with the big companies; created a new and convoluted emergency response system; and sown confusion and distrust in the states and among the people who need medical supplies.”
“Jared and his friends decided they were going to do their thing,” one senior government official told NBC News. “It cost weeks.”
Congressional officials warn the supply chain group is mired in “chaos, secrecy and ineptitude.”
NBC reports under Kushner the supply chain task force has spent about one million dollars each on 40 chartered FedEx flights in a deal for chemical giant DuPont to send its made in the USA Tyvek material over to Vietnam, where it is sown into body suits.
Those suits used to sell for $5 each. The federal government, in addition to basically donating what would amount to $40 million to DuPont, is now paying up to three times as much for the suits: $15 each, NBC News reports. To make matters worse, instead of paying FedEx $1 million per flight the federal government could have used U.S. military aircraft which would have cost less than half: $410,000 per flight.
And if all that weren’t bad enough, DuPont only sold 60 percent of the suits to the federal government.
“We actually helped get raw materials supplied from Richmond, Virginia, and we flew that s— to Vietnam, all so that DuPont could sell us” their products, said a senior federal official involved in the coronavirus effort.
President Donald Trump and HHS, which announced the deal last week, described the arrangement as one in a string of massive successes in delivering badly needed medical equipment into the U.S. in an expedited fashion.
Read the entire report here.
Meltdown: Trump Explodes on Reporter Who Tells Him America Does Not Have Enough Tests, Masks, PPE, or Ventilators
President Donald Trump is continuing his attempts to gaslight America, this time during Friday’s daily coronavirus press briefing when he attacked a reporter who told him America does not have enough masks, PPE, hospital beds, or ventilators.
The president derided CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta immediately as he began posing his question, which Trump would not allow him to even ask without interruption.
“Do we have enough masks? No. Do we have enough tests? No. Do we have enough PPE? No,” Acosta began.
“Why would you say ‘no’? The answer is ‘yes,'” Trump lied, interrupting. “Why would you say ‘no’? I think the answer is ‘yes.’ Who said ‘no’ to that?”
“I’m saying –” Acosta began to answer.
“No, no. You’re saying no, but who said no?”
“Do we have enough masks? Yes,” Trump insisted, falsely.
“We hear from doctors, we hear from health experts,” Acosta replied.
“No, no you don’t say this. You say, do we have enough masks? Yes. Do we have enough tests? Yes. We’re developing new tests. Do we have enough – do we have enough ventilators? Yes. Do we have enough hospital beds? Yes. We built 20,000 hospital beds. We have enough hospital beds,” Trump insisted, falsely.
“What do you say – I mean, you watch the coverage?” Acosta continued.
“I watch a lot of the coverage,” Trump replied. “A lot of it’s fake news.”
“No, no,” the CNN reporter responded. “When the doctors and the medical experts come on our air and say we don’t have enough tests…”
Trump claimed they have to say that or CNN won’t allow them on air, which is also false.
The President then said a group of 14 governors Thursday night told him, “It’s been unbelievable what’s happened.”
“We’ve been totally responsive,” the president added. “Ventilators. Everyone has the ventilators they need,” he claimed, which is also false. “We’re at a point where all the foreign countries” are calling to ask for ventilators, he said.
“This is not happy talk. Maybe it’s happy talk for you, it’s not happy talk for me we’re talking about death. We’re talking about the greatest economy in the world, one day I have to close it off. And we did the right thing,” Trump claimed, as if he were mourning the loss of the economy instead of the more than 15,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus. “We did the right thing.”
Literally not one word of his remarks were true.
Trump claim, falsely, that America currently has enough tests pic.twitter.com/hGymXNN0y6
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 10, 2020
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