Sunday, June 06, 2021

And Start With The Man At The Top

In contrast to the situation in September, 2020, Democrats now control (at least the agenda of) the House of Representatives.  But that should not preclude hearings into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and, as President Trump's former Chief of Staff advocates, the federal government's response to the pandemic. They should include Dr. Fauci and Mark Italygate Meadows  And others.

Add to all that

After President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency in March, he instructed governors to order their own ventilators and other PPE, saying the federal government is “not a shipping clerk.” Trump added the administration will “help out wherever we can,” but state leaders say that current efforts aren’t enough — and that the Trump administration’s refusal to coordinate PPE distribution has forced them to compete with one another for supplies.

“It’s like being on eBay with 50 other states, bidding on a ventilator,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a press briefing on March 31.

“We the states are trying to actively get every piece of PPE that we can. We’re bidding against one another, and in some cases, the federal government is taking priority,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said on CNN’s State of the Union.

A number of governors — including Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker — have said they’ve seen orders for masks and other needed equipment canceled because the federal government outbid them. This has led to some finding creative ways to disguise their orders to mask them from the Trump administration.

Baker’s administration worked with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, the Chinese UN ambassador, and other Chinese officials to secure a shipment of 1.2 million face masks to the state. The governor told reporters Thursday he worked with the Kraft family to create a “‘private humanitarian mission’ to keep the Feds from finding out” about the mask shipment and seizing it, according to reporter Adam Gaffin — and the masks came to the state on the Patriots’ team plane.

Trump administration policy has left other states having to make similar extraordinary efforts to obtain PPE — for example, Illinois legislators rushed to deliver a $3.4 million check to a middleman at a McDonald’s parking lot so that the supplier he represented wouldn’t cancel the deal in favor of other, potentially more lucrative offers. They successfully handed off the check, and secured a shipment of 1.5 million N95 respirators from China.

The goods states have received from the Trump administration haven’t always been helpful. Local governments, in some cases, have received broken or damaged PPE. Montgomery County, Alabama’s shipment of 5,880 masks had dry rot and were expired, although the county later received a replacement order. The city of Los Angeles was also given 170 broken ventilators, which had to be repaired before use.

And distribution of medical supplies from the stockpile also appears to be uneven, the Washington Post reported in late March. Massachusetts officials said the city of Boston has received 17 percent of the protective gear it requested, while the state of Maine got a shipment of 25,558 N95 respirators, or 5 percent of what it sought. On the other hand, Florida has received all the supplies it requested — two shipments for 430,000 surgical masks, 180,000 N95 respirators, 82,000 face shields, and 238,000 gloves.

The amount of supplies left in the federal stockpile is dwindling, and as Recode’s Adam Clark Estes reported, it appears that what the US currently has on hand isn’t close to meeting the overall demand that’s expected to last through the coronavirus pandemic.

Critical medical supplies are being produced in the US, but instructions as to who will receive the products haven’t been made clear to suppliers — a situation that has reportedly left badly needed supplies sitting in warehouses. Manufacturers who are making PPE at the request of the Trump administration told CNN recently they have not yet heard whether they should ship their products to states, to FEMA for distribution, or elsewhere.

Let the games begin! Let's have it out- a full and comprehensive investigation into the federal government's response to SARS-CoV-2. We can include sworn, public testimony from Donald John Trump, at the time one of the three most powerful individuals in the world. He can appear voluntarily or by subpoena, though his voluntary appearance probably could not be secured absent the threat of death by firing squad. It must begin with him because  he might agree, or be summoned, and flat-out refuse after testimony by other individuals.

Any investigation not including President Trump would be incomplete and shallow. Already there are signs the Merrick Garland Justice Department wants to gloss over crimes perpetrated by the former President. If he skates on this, it will be a stain on the country and an insult to the loved ones of nearly 600,000 Americans.


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