Tuesday, April 28, 2020

An Informed Slacker

Charlie Pierce links us to Monday's Washington Post article in which we learn that

U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats.

For weeks, the PDB — as the report is known — traced the virus’s spread around the globe, made clear that China was suppressing information about the contagion’s transmissibility and lethal toll, and raised the prospect of dire political and economic consequences.

But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience for even the oral summary he takes two or three times per week, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material.

Sorry, Charlie. I'm not buying it and you're being too generous to the President (a criticism he's unfamiliar with). Pierce concludes "'Decisive'? The guy doesn’t even read his homework. It’s government by seventh-grade slacker."

Trump is lazy and indecisive. However, that's not the core of the problem.  Before the latest revelation, Axios had noted ten occasions on which President Trump and/or his administration was warned about the coronavirus. Of these, Trump himself was directly advised on four occasions- January 18, January 29, January 30, and February 23. Additionally, he learned of a warning of 2/25/20 by National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases director Nancy Messonnier, about which Trump complained to HHS Secretary Azar. So call that four-and-a-half personal warnings, aside from the briefings prepared for the President.

Trump claimed six weeks ago that he always knew how serious SARS-CoV-2 was. The harder truth is that he knew the coronavirus would cause tens of thousands of deaths- and was perfectly o.k.with it.

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