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Trump’s message to blue states battling coronavirus: Drop dead

Neil J. Young
The Week

Heading into 2020, it seemed like those online election prediction maps would be the most exciting thing to watch over the coming year. But now, a different map may tell us much more about what the future holds.

While the coronavirus spreads across the nation with no regards to state borders, the nation’s governors are taking wildly different approaches to tackling the disease, resulting in a patchwork national map that undermines our ability to stop COVID-19 effectively. Coupled with the disastrous leadership of a president more interested in retaliating against his perceived enemies than employing his powers for good, the fractured response to coronavirus reveals how much has to be healed in our nation’s system. It also sets in motion an inevitable showdown between Trump and those state leaders who are taking coronavirus seriously, a divide that is only going to get worse given Trump’s toxic tendency to blame others for his own shortcomings.

Trump’s sickness was startlingly evident in his interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer last Tuesday. Asked about his administration’s coordination with the states, a basic function of the federal government and a critical one in a crisis moment, Trump’s response displayed his typically transactional view of how things get done under his watch. “It’s a two-way street,” Trump childishly whined, “They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, ‘Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.'”

That’s been Trump’s approach to working with others, especially those in need, from the start, a twisted outgrowth of the manipulation tactics he’s used throughout his personal and professional life.

As president, his self-interest and demands for personal loyalty always guide his decision making. At the depressingly dysfunctional level, that has meant a revolving door of White House staffers and administration appointees, including Jeff Sessions, who didn’t satisfy Trump’s insatiable ego enough to stay. At the lawbreaking level, it has meant his bald quid pro quo demand that Ukraine investigate a political rival in order to receive congressionally-mandated foreign aid and putting extreme restrictions on federal aid to Puerto Rico, seemingly in retaliation for how government officials there had criticized his handling of Hurricane Maria.

But where Trump’s pay-to-play expectations of Ukraine, despite the Senate’s judgments, were unconstitutional, his praise-to-play demands of state governors while the health of the nation hangs in the balance are nothing short of unconscionable. Trump’s refusal to take federal action against the virus may be the most disastrous decision of his presidency. His petty privileging of red states and his punishing of blue states may be the most deadly, with consequences for all Americans no matter their politics.

After Andrew Cuomo requested 30,000 ventilators for his coronavirus-ravaged New York, Trump coughed up only 400 machines while, as usual, freely blaming the governor for the state’s situation. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators,” an exasperated Cuomo asked at a recent news conference. “You’re missing the magnitude of the problem.”

On Thursday, Trump lashed out at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her criticisms of the administration’s inaction. “We’ve had a big problem with the… woman governor,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “We don’t like to see the complaints.” He later said he’d told Vice President Mike Pence not to call “the woman in Michigan.”

Meanwhile Florida, a state run by a loyal Trump supporter, Gov. Ron DeSantis, has fared better, not surprisingly. Despite DeSantis’ failure to take the disease seriously and limit its escalating spread through the state, Florida has received all the medical supplies it has requested from the federal stockpile, and then some. New Jersey, on the other hand, a state with currently the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, initially got only a small fraction of what it requested.

Other Republican state leaders are making Trump’s abdication of responsibility even easier, propping up his fantastical and fatalist thinking and actively undercutting public health measures. Trump’s arbitrary selection of April 12 as the date he wants the country “opened up” has outraged public health officials who warn we need much more time. But Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s horrific recent comments that grandparents should be willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the economy is merely putting the public voice to the sort of Machiavellian logic shaping red states’ policies.

In Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves on Wednesday signed an executive order declaring almost all the businesses in the state as “essential,” thereby invalidating any local mayors or state agencies that have tried to implement social-distancing requirements. Reeves’ decision also included religious facilities, despite an earlier directive by the state’s Department of Health that Mississippians avoid church services, weddings, and funerals to help curb the virus’ spread.

In other Republican-led states, the continued lack of prohibitions against public gatherings will spell disastrous consequences. Blue states and places like Ohio and Maryland, led by reasonable Republican governors, cannot combat the virus alone. If Trump keeps picking favorite states to help in the absence of a national approach, everyone will lose.

A moment like this requires leadership, but Trump is no leader. Sulking that he can no longer hold the public rallies that give him life, Trump is incapable of rallying the nation in defense of its own. With potentially millions of Americans at risk of dying from coronavirus, Trump’s only interest, as always, is in tending to his bruised ego, and he’ll ruthlessly play governors against each other to fulfill his needs.

In his Friday press conference, Trump told reporters, “All I want [governors] to do… I want them to be appreciative. We’ve done a great job.” All those governors want is a president who cares about the lives of their constituents, regardless of whether they voted for him.

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Recent and ongoing rantings of TOTUS have further shown the ineptness of this administration and it’s titular head. The failure of TOTUS to do his job as a National leader was inevitable from the first day. Every rollback of Obama anything regardless of the long and short term effects on the country as a whole and individuals in general has dire consequences. The egocentric actions of TOTUS has alienated us from trusted allies and allowed long time adversaries to rise exponentially. As the current health pandemic continues, TOTUS has threatened to quarantine some and restricted medical supplies to others primarily due to his dislike of the Governors and other administrative officials. The state of this  emergency is essentially the result of TOTUS’ ignorance on the subject and his inability to listen to experts on the subject. It is clear that any situation that does not afford a platform for his “genius” is unimportant (paper towels for Puerto Rico). After trying to urge “normalcy” in this Pandemic, TOTUS has failed to lead and thereby exacerbated the situation while pointing fingers at anyone he can including the Obama administration (which put in place a NSC playbook to deal with this type of situation after the Ebola and Flu out breaks). TOTUS ignored that playbook which gave guidelines as to how to deal with just this type of situation and reduced the funding for the CDC. There appears to be no other reason for TOTUS’ actions or lack of other than ineptitude or his own need to be the most important person for which we all bear the ill effects of.

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TOTUS again being his same vindictive self serving self, as I state again-Dude! it is not about you but now it is because of you! MA

By ZEKE MILLER, JILL COLVIN and DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press

10 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — After days of pleading from the nation’s governors, President Donald Trump took steps Friday to expand the federal government’s role in helping produce critically needed supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet the president rejected any criticism for the federal government’s response to a ballooning public health crisis that a month ago he predicted would be over by now.

“We have done a hell of a job,” Trump told reporters Friday, as he sent an ominous message to state and local leaders who have been urging the federal government to do more to save lives.

“If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said, shortly after telling reporters: “I want them to be appreciative.”

But after days of saying such a move was not needed, Trump on Friday signed an order aimed at compelling General Motors to prioritize the production of ventilators under the Defense Production Act. Hours earlier, Trump had taken issue with the very idea that states would need an influx of the machines.

One month after predicting the U.S. was days away from being “close to zero” coronavirus cases, Trump in recent days had increasingly tried to shift the blame to state and local leaders as the spread tops more than 100,000 cases nationwide.

He lashed out at governors, continued to diminish the risk posed by the virus and insisted that the federal government was only a “backup” as he looked to avoid political costs from a pandemic that has reshaped his presidency and tested his reelection plans.

In a Thursday night interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump declared that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee “should be doing more” and “shouldn’t be relying on the federal government.” He dismissed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s requests for additional ventilators to keep patients alive, saying, “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000” of the devices, which force air into the lungs of those too sick to breathe. And he said he was still weighing Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request for a disaster declaration, saying, “We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor from, you know who I’m talking about, from Michigan.”

“You know,” he added from the White House, “we don’t like to see the complaints.”

The administration’s mantra, frequently articulated by Vice President Mike Pence, has long been that the fight against the virus must be “locally executed, state managed, and federally supported.”

But Trump appeared to show little empathy for the states’ predicament, with his emphasis skewed toward the “locally executed” portion of that trifecta.

At the same time, governors’ complaints about federal support have been mounting as state leaders grow more open to airing their frustrations, despite the perceived risks. They had faulted Trump’s refusal to use the DPA to force companies to manufacture critical supplies and his insistence that it should be up to states to purchase things like masks and testing agents on the open market. That has forced states to compete both against one another and the federal government, driving up prices, even as federal officials have pledged their help if states fail.

Whitmer, in particular, has criticized the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic –- including on national cable TV shows — saying that the federal government should do more and that Michigan’s allotment of medical supplies from the national stockpile is meager.

“It’s very distressing,” the Democratic governor told radio station WWJ. “I observed early on, like a lot of governors on both sides of the aisle, that the federal preparation was concerning. That apparently struck a nerve, and I’ve been uniquely singled out despite my voice not being the only one that observed that,” she said.

“I don’t go into personal attacks. I don’t have time for that,” she said. “I need partnership out of the federal government. We have to be all hands on deck here.”

Cuomo has also been on the forefront, some days criticizing the administration’s failure to act and at other times commending federal assistance. But the New York Democrat has remained clear that the state, which is now the epicenter of the crisis, needs many more ventilators than it has at the ready.

“That’s what the data and the science said,” Cuomo said Friday as he defended his ask for additional ventilators and issued a new request to Washington for an additional 41,000 beds in temporary hospitals.

Trump has repeatedly referred to himself as a “wartime president” — and now Cuomo and others have called on the federal government to act like it’s a war.

“What is unclear to me is why the federal administration refuses to direct industries to manufacture critical PPE,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said Wednesday, referring to personal protective equipment. “I’m not exaggerating when I say this outrageous lack of action will result in lost lives. Including those of our health care workers.”

Inslee, also a Democrat, tweeted: “We need a national mobilization of the industrial base in this country. That’s how we won WWII. To get that, we need a president to lead. Washingtonians’ lives depend on it.”

Even as Trump has publicly doubted the need for a massive increase in ventilators, the White House has been working behind the scenes to get more of them manufactured. Disagreements burst into the open Friday when Trump lashed out at General Motors and its CEO on Twitter, alleging that the company promised to build thousands more breathing machines than it can deliver.

“As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out,” Trump wrote, adding that the company promised 40,000 ventilators quickly but now says it will build only 6,000 in late April and at a high price. He said they should reopen a now-closed factory in Lordstown, Ohio — even though that factory has been sold.

The White House later announced that Trump had signed the order aimed at forcing the company to accept and prioritize federal contracts to produce ventilators. He also named trade adviser Peter Navarro to lead the government’s production effort.

“Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives,” he said in a statement.

Trump also authorized Defense Secretary Mark Esper to call up an unspecified number of federal reservists to help with the coronavirus response.

He said in a letter to Congress on Friday that he had authorized Esper to order units and individual members of the Selected Reserve, as well as certain Individual Ready Reserve members, to active duty. They are separate from, and in addition to, National Guard members who have been mobilized by state governors.

The reserve call-up likely is intended to fill gaps in medical expertise as the military deploys field hospitals to cities hard hit by COVID-19 and provides other forms of medical support to state and local authorities.

Pence, meanwhile, skirted the question of whether responsibility for the outbreak should be borne by the state or federal government in an interview with CNBC.

“I think it’s a responsibility of all of us at every level to bring our very best science, our very best recommendations, our very best counsel to the American people, and to American businesses,” he said Friday.

___

Associated Press writers David Eggert in Lansing, Mich., Tom Krisher in Detroit, Andrew Selsky in Salem, Oregon and Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Wash., contributed to this report.

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Again TOTUS is concerned about his image and not the health of the American Citizens. Anyone in his administration who tells the truth is on the short list to be dismissed. His stream of misinformation is dangerous. MA
HuffPost

‘Where Is Dr. Fauci?’ Key Expert Missing From Coronavirus Briefing For Second Day

HuffPost

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s touchstones for scientific wisdom amid the spread of COVID-19, was absent from the White House’s daily briefing for the second day in a row on Monday, prompting many to wonder where the nation’s top infectious disease expert was as the nation reels from the rising pandemic.

President Donald Trump spoke about the administration’s efforts to rein in the outbreak and provide personal protective equipment to some hospitals already straining under an influx of sick patients. But while the president repeated platitudes about the country soon being “stronger than ever before,” there was limited medical advice given.

Fauci, who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has for many become a beacon of truth and straight talk as coronavirus continues to spread around the country, often walking back unfounded claims made by the president (the timeline of a coronavirus vaccine, for example, or the growth rate of infections).

But Fauci’s microphone has also reportedly drawn the president’s ire. The New York Times reported Monday that Trump has become frustrated with Fauci’s blunt manner and his contradicting of White House statements.

The National Institutes of Health said Monday that Fauci was still a regular part of the White House briefing schedule.

“He has been at the White House today, in fact,” a spokesperson for the NIH told HuffPost. “They are doing a rotating cast for the briefings.”

When asked about reports that Trump had become frustrated with Fauci’s no-nonsense approach to his warnings about the threat of coronavirus, the NIH directed questions to the White House.

The Trump administration did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Fauci’s appearances.

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus as Attorney General William Barr and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, listen. (Photo: Alex Brandon/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus as Attorney General William Barr and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, listen. (Photo: Alex Brandon/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, spoke about the infection rates in states around the country, saying each state would have its own disease curve to deal with. But she declined to answer repeated questions on if she agreed with Trump’s assessments that the country could soon go back to business as usual or about what kind of timeline for a return to normality that Americans should expect.

“What the president has asked us to do is assemble all the data and give us our best medical recommendation,” she said. “We’re pulling all of the data pieces right now. I will never speculate on data. I will have to see that data.”

Fauci gave an in-depth interview to Science this weekend and addressed how he had managed to remain at the White House when many, many others who have stood in Trump’s path have been fired for disagreements.

“Even though we disagree on some things, he listens,” Fauci told the scientific journal. “He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.”

Trump did say Monday that he had “learned a lot” from Fauci and Birx.

“I can say I’m a student, you’re a student, we’re all in this together,” Trump said. “I’ve learned a lot from Deborah, I’ve learned a lot from Tony, from a lot of people.”

When pressed about where Fauci was on Monday, the president pledged he would be “back up very soon.”

“I was just with him for a long time,” Trump said. “He understand this is a tremendous test to our country. It was nobody’s fault; it just happened. This horrible virus came from nowhere. He fully understands that.”

“He’s a good man” the president continued. “I like Dr. Fauci a lot.”

Trump said repeatedly he was hoping to “open up” the country and its foundering economy “a lot sooner” than people were expecting. The Washington Post reported Monday that the White House was weighing calls from GOP lawmakers and advisers to scale back social distancing steps in order to kickstart the financial markets despite warnings from public health officials.

When asked what public health officials thought of the plan, including Fauci, Trump said they didn’t disagree with him, but he also alluded that measures called for by the medical community were at odds with what he considers best for the economy.

“If it were up to the doctors, they’d say let’s shut down the entire world,” Trump said, noting earlier: “I’m not looking at months. We’re going to be opening up our country. … You can’t keep it closed for years. OK? This is going away. We’re going to win the battle.”

 

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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*Dr. Fauci’s demeanor speaks volumes in photo below. MA

  • Deborah Birx, Anthony S. Fauci are posing for a picture: Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, and Anthony S. Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, listen as President Trump speaks at a news conference Friday.
    Deborah Birx, Anthony S. Fauci are posing for a picture: Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, and Anthony S. Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, listen as President Trump speaks at a news conference Friday.
Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker

President Trump was reeling from one of his worst weeks ever: The novel coronavirus was killing Americans, wrecking the economy and subsuming him and his presidency.

But in the pandemic, Trump saw an opportunity to cast himself in a new role: “Wartime president,” as he later dubbed it. Aides noted that Trump was punctual for last Saturday’s White House task force meeting, donning a navy “USA” cap and — instead of simply watching as Vice President Pence and the assembled health officials briefed the public that afternoon, as he’d initially planned — joining them at the rostrum.

All week, Trump reveled in his newfound character — that of a crisis commander steering his skittish nation through battle with what he called an “invisible enemy.” He parried questions, barked orders and stood stoically by as he accepted praise, day after day, from his underlings for his “strong leadership” and “decisive actions.”

But on Friday, Trump faltered. He argued based on “just a feeling” that, despite no scientific evidence yet, an anti-malaria drug could cure the coronavirus. He complained that he has not been credited for fixing a nationwide testing system that clearly is still broken. And when asked what message he had for Americans who were scared, he lashed out.

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter,” Trump answered to NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander. “That’s what I say.”

Trump’s past seven days at the helm of the coronavirus effort illuminated his mercurial nature and underscored his difficulty overseeing the national response to a global catastrophe largely out of his — or any other leader’s — control.

Trump — whose moods often determine policy and are almost directly correlated to the vagaries of 24-hour news cycles — has been lapsing into his self-destructive ways even when aides stress the importance of steady leadership during a national emergency.

Fixated on his portrayal in the media, Trump has used this past week to try to rewrite history in hopes of erasing the public’s memory of him dismissing the severity of threat and bungling the early weeks of the administration’s response.

“I’ve felt that it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,” Trump said Tuesday. Only five days earlier he had declared, “It’s going to go away,” and two days before that he had said, “It will go away. Just stay calm.

After the coronavirus was first detected in China and swept across Europe, and even after the first reported case in the United States on Jan. 21, Trump tried to wave off the danger. He was then in the throes of the impeachment battle and distracted by the Democratic presidential primaries. The president accused the media of perpetuating a hoax, arguing that news organizations were drumming up hysteria over the growing public health crisis as a way to hurt his presidency.

The nadir for Trump came March 6, when he visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta and appeared to make a mockery of the scientists’ warnings. He then decamped for the extended weekend to Palm Beach, Fla., where he played golf and hung out with friends at his Mar-a-Lago Club, which itself turned into a coronavirus petri dish.

Trump’s public posture began to shift, however, once the financial markets started to plummet. He was particularly taken with the numbers — not just the cratering Dow Jones industrial average but also the briefings he received from Vice President Pence, multiple times a day, with fresh data and figures showing how the virus could devastate the nation if left unchecked.

A new study released earlier this week by the Imperial College London — which projected that 2.2 million would die in the United States alone if no steps were taken to curb the outbreak — was particularly influential among Trump’s inner circle.

Trump also was influenced by his conversations with business leaders and wealthy supporters, who lit up the presidential phone line with angst and alarm over the Wall Street meltdown. Their message: Get it together. The world’s collapsing and you’re flaunting that you don’t care.

Trump then took a series of steps in quick succession to try to gain control over the spiraling crisis. He delivered a prime-time address to the nation. He banned travel from Europe. And he declared a national emergency.

Though Trump claims his Jan. 31 restrictions on travel from China as evidence that he always has taken the coronavirus seriously, one senior White House official said his March 11 announcement prohibiting most travel from countries in the European Union — a critical diplomatic ally and trade partner — helped truly underscore for Trump the severity of the crisis.

Trump was angry that his error-riddled prime-time Oval Office address to the nation, in which he announced the Europe ban, was widely panned, and frustrated that so few allies defended him on television the next day. But on March 13, a news conference in the Rose Garden — at which he announced a new testing website and new testing locations, both of which were half-baked at best — buoyed his spirits because he finally felt he had at least the illusion of control, aides said.

Officials also pointed to Hope Hicks — Trump’s former communications director and close confidante who recently returned to the White House after a stint in Los Angeles — as a calming presence who helped focus Trump.

Each day after the task force meets and before members present their latest message to the public, a small group retreats to the Oval Office to strategize about the news conference. The group includes whatever officials are speaking that day, as well as Pence, Hicks, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, the vice president’s chief of staff Marc Short, and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Hicks often offers tonal suggestions, helping steer Trump toward the sort of more measured language that his advisers have long been pushing.

On Monday, Trump adopted the far more serious tone that his advisers had encouraged. He echoed the guidance of infectious disease experts and offered direction about what people should and shouldn’t do. He advised against gatherings of more than 10 people, as well as discretionary travel, and urged whoever could work from home to do so. He even hit the pause button on his various feuds with Democrats and the media.

“My focus is really on getting rid of this problem — this virus problem,” he said Monday. “Once we do that, everything else is going to fall into place.”

Trump spoke of the coronavirus as if it were a foreign adversary at war, drawing parallels between the ways Americans are adapting their lives to adhere to social distancing guidelines to the sacrifices citizens made during World War II. Speaking about his own leadership, Trump said Wednesday, “I view it as, in a sense, a wartime president.”

Historian Michael Beschloss said Trump’s conception of himself as a wartime leader is potentially apt.

“The war metaphor is actually a good one if what it means is that the president is acting as a commander in chief does, which is trying to orchestrate all of the power of the federal government to solve the problem and to level with the American people,” Beschloss said. “But this is not a war against a foreign enemy. It is not military. Waging a war is not the same thing as fighting an illness.”

The president’s resolve, however, did not last. Trump has never demonstrated the ability to sustain discipline or message control over an extended period — frequently following fleeting periods of calm with bursts of seeming self-sabotage — and this week was no different.

On Thursday, Trump snapped at a reporter who began a question by stating that “the economy is essentially ground to a halt.”

“Thanks for telling us — we appreciate it,” Trump said, before adding, “Everybody in the room knows that.”

By Friday, Trump was in full tirade mode. Seemingly desperate for a miracle medicine, he kept on pushing an anti-malarial drug as a potential cure-all, prompting Anthony S. Fauci, the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to gently offer a more nuanced view.

But even the normally placid-faced Fauci could barely contain himself when Trump referred to “the State Department or, as they call it, the ‘Deep State’ Department.” Fauci, standing just behind Trump’s left shoulder but still on camera, smirked and touched his fingertips to his brow to cover his face as he struggled to suppress a chuckle.

Other moments were less humorous. When Alexander, the NBC reporter, asked Trump what message he had for “Americans who are watching you right now who are scared,” Trump angrily attacked him as “a terrible reporter” and called it “a very nasty question.”

When Alexander later posed the same question to Pence, it was Trump’s No. 2 who offered the words one might ordinarily expect from a wartime president: “Don’t be afraid. Be vigilant.”


By Mary Papenfuss

The president’s transcript changes “corona” to the dog-whistle misnomer as he dodges criticism of his administration’s failures in addressing COVID-19.

Trump’s news conference statement Thursday shows where the word “corona” was crossed out and replaced with “Chinese” virus as he speaks to reporters. An enterprising Washington Post photographer captured a startling image of President Donald Trump’s altered news conference script Thursday showing what appeared to be his own handwritten change from “corona” to “Chinese” to form “Chinese virus.”

It appeared he used his favorite reality-altering tool: a black Sharpie.

Photographer Jabin Botsford posted the close-up on Twitter amid raging criticism of Trump over his repeated insistence this week on incorrectly calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” Critics have slammed the implied racism of his tactic, which they say is aimed at blaming a nation and a race of people for the pandemic to distract the American public from the dangerous failings of his own administration to battle the virus

Close up of President @realDonaldTrump notes is seen where he crossed out “Corona” and replaced it with “Chinese” Virus as he speaks with his coronavirus task force today at the White House. #trump #trumpnotes  

A closeup of Donald Trump's news conference statement Thursday shows where the word "corona" was crossed out and replaced witJabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Trump on Wednesday dismissed the idea that the term “Chinese virus” was in any way racist. “It comes from China,” he said. “It’s not racist at all. I want to be accurate.”

It’s not accurate. Trump’s own top health advisers, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield have said it is inappropriate and inaccurate to label the novel coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”

The correct term is coronavirus (officially SARS-CoV-2), which causes the disease COVID-19. Those are the terms international scientists, the World Health Organization, U.S. health officials, physicians and much of the general public use.

A report by Human Rights Watch on Thursday linked Trump’s use of his term Chinese virus to the fueling of “anti-Chinese sentiment” as anti-Asian hate crimes soar in the U.S.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), in an opinion article in The Washington Post on Wednesday, slammed Trump for “stoking xenophobic panic in a time of crisis” and shrugging off blame instead of doing his job to help Americans survive the pandemic.

Ted Lieu

✔@tedlieu

US House candidate, CA-33

Dear @WhiteHouse: This virus has an official name, Covid-19 and an unofficial name, Coronavirus. Your language will cause more discrimination against Asian Americans.

What would help is if you can get hospitals & first responders much more test kits & protective equipment. https://twitter.com/whitehouse/status/1240345890159824901 …

The White House

✔@WhiteHouse

Spanish Flu. West Nile Virus. Zika. Ebola. All named for places.
Before the media’s fake outrage, even CNN called it “Chinese Coronavirus.”
Those trying to divide us must stop rooting for America to fail and give Americans real info they need to get through the crisis.

 

Trump complained on Thursday that China “could have given us a lot earlier notice” about the spread of the disease there, which began in early December. Chinese officials informed the World Health Organization on Dec. 31. It wasn’t until this week that Trump first pledged to ramp up testing in the U.S., which remains far behind other nations and the current demand.

Trump actually thanked the Chinese in January for their efforts against the illness and for their “transparency.”

Akshaya Kumar

✔@AkshayaSays

Replying to @jabinbotsford @realDonaldTrump

Words matter!@hrw found COVID19 motivated anti-Asian hate crimes including physical attacks & beatings, violent bullying in schools, angry threats & discrimination in workplaces.

Instead of warning against that, our president is stoking those fireshttps://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/19/human-rights-dimensions-covid-19-response# …

Steve Herzfeld @american2084

Replying to @jabinbotsford and 2 others

Perhaps it’s now time for someone to use a Sharpie to cross that out and write ‘Trump’.#TrumpVirus
Trump’s exceptional incompetence is making this pandemic far worse.

268

2:21 PM – Mar 19, 2020

No matter how many times we mention or speak his name with facts, TOTUS will continue to invent what ever he believes will benefit his image (which by the way is that of an inept leader whose shortsightedness was legend before he became (gag) President).

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It is apparent that our expectations of this administrations ability have been met. We have arrived at a lower point than we imagined. TOTUS has dismantled many programs that provided us with the ability to address climate change, health issues (coronavirus) and the ravages of financial mismanagement and predatory practices. We are now in the grips of a health crisis which was dismissed by TOTUS (like anything he deems colors his image). As I have written before: “Dude, it is not about you!”. Until we (voters) pull the plug, this miscreant behavior will continue to push us downwards as a country. Except for those who support him through ignorance or their own personal gain, there is no broad support for this administration. Political parties are as much a part of this debacle as TOTUS as they have allowed them selves to be split over whats good for the voters or their re election. TOTUS has shown his ineptitude since day one of his residency amid the cheers of folks who refuse to extend their gaze beyond now and consider what the end result of these poor policies will be. With the aggregated abilities of his cabinet ministers we have a net of Zero good accomplished for the people.

Our Losses:    Huge tracts of public lands that will be devastated by commercial drilling                              and mining.

Theft (yet again) of native American lands

Economic downturn due to poor fiscal policies

Cooperative  partnerships with long time allies

An Impartial Federal Judiciary from local to the high court

Disruption of normalcy (such as it is) in the Federal Government

Just to name a few. The remedy is  intelligent and well informed voters no matter the party preference (given the polarization, this may not be best practice).

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The Administrations boot lickers are putting us all at risk with their unfaltering faith in an inept megalomaniac. MA

For the Love of God, Why Is the Trump Administration Blocking Medicaid Access to Fight Coronavirus?

Luke Darby

GQMarch 13, 2020, 11:46 AM CDT

Early Friday morning, Donald Trump took to Twitter to let the world know exactly who was responsible for the U.S.’s disastrous response to the on-going coronavirus outbreak—the Centers for Disease Control and former president Barack Obama. He claimed that the CDC knew it “would always be inadequate and slow for a large scale pandemic” and that Obama “made changes that only complicated things further.” This is after, in 2018, his administration dismantled the global health security team left in place by the Obama administration to confront pandemics like this, and cut 80 percent of the CDC’s efforts to prevent global outbreaks.

But Trump claims that under his leadership, the CDC is now in shipshape: “Their response to H1N1 Swine Flu was a full scale disaster, with thousands dying, and nothing meaningful done to fix the testing problem, until now. The changes have been made and testing will soon happen on a very large scale basis. All Red Tape has been cut, ready to go!”

Like many of Trump’s statements about how his administration is handling the COVID-19 outbreak, this isn’t accurate. The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, has been imposing extremely strict guidelines for who can and can’t access the limited coronavirus tests available, essentially guaranteeing that people only get tested once they’ve already developed symptoms and causing delays that likely resulted in hundreds more people getting infected.

It’s particularly ironic that Trump brings up the H1N1 outbreak of 2009 though, which the Obama administration declared a national emergency. Commonly called swine flu, it was a kind of influenza that resulted in 12,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. As states struggled to deal with the spread of the disease, the federal government loosened restrictions so that state governments could use Medicaid funds to help with testing. Right now, the Trump administration is stonewalling that same process for the coronavirus, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Medicaid is the federal and state program that helps poor people get health care, and it’s a massive safety net with tough restrictions for how it can be used. The Trump administration hasn’t taken any steps to help states access the funds for the coronavirus outbreak, despite the fact that it’s been made available in the past for other disasters, like after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the H1N1 outbreak. Per the Times:

One reason federal health officials have not acted appears to be President Trump’s reluctance to declare a national emergency. That’s a key step that would clear the way for states to get Medicaid waivers to more nimbly tackle coronavirus, but it would conflict with Trump’s repeated efforts to downplay the seriousness of the epidemic. Another element may be ideological: The administration official who oversees Medicaid, Seema Verma, head of the government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has been a champion of efforts by conservative states to trim the number of people enrolled in Medicaid.

Seema Verma was appointed to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) after a stint working as a consultant for vice president Mike Pence back when he was governor of Indiana. In Pence’s Indiana, she helped push a plan that expanded access to Medicaid for childless adults, but only under a waiver that allowed the state to start charging premiums. Verma has spent years helping conservatives find ways to undermine public health programs like Medicaid, as Mother Jones exhaustively detailed last year. Her work at CMS so far has consisted largely of finding ways to let states avoid using Medicaid money, like inventing state-imposed spending caps, which constrict the flow of funds without the administration explicitly cutting the budget for Medicaid. Under her leadership, CMS has approved multiple requests by Republican-led states to start imposing work requirements for Medicaid, and in Arkansas alone that’s expected to strip health care from 30,700 to 48,300 people.

Speaking to Fox News on Thursday night, Verma repeatedly refused to answer whether or not America would be facing a shortage of ventilators and intensive care units as the current outbreak escalates. Health professionals coordinating the outbreak response in Italy recently published a letter saying that hospitals there were overwhelmed due to “a very high number of ICU admissions, almost entirely due to severe hypoxic respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation.” Each time Verma was explicitly asked about equipment shortages, she responded instead by praising Trump.  

According to the Times, state leaders are likely unwilling to criticize Trump’s coronavirus response out of fear that he’ll lash out at them personally or even deny their state funds in the future. In February, Washington state governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, tweeted, “I just received a call from @VP Mike Pence, thanking Washington state for our efforts to combat the coronavirus. I told him our work would be more successful if the Trump administration stuck to the science and told the truth.” Speaking to reporters later at the CDC in Atlanta, Trump said, “I told [Mike Pence] not to be complimentary of that governor because that governor is a snake. So Mike may be happy with him but I’m not, OK?”

 


TOTUS refuses to meet with Speaker Pelosi regarding a potentially National Health issue. Apparently the miscreant child can’t get over his easily bruised ego. This action clearly shows that his focus is on his own self aggrandizement and not on the best actions for the country- you know the people and Nation he took an oath to protect and serve. MA

 

Trump reportedly won’t meet with Pelosi on a coronavirus bill, or for any reason, because he’s mad at her

Peter Weber
The Week

President Trump traveled to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss a coronavirus economic stimulus package with Senate Republicans. Any bill would have to be approved by the Democratic-led House, where Trump’s big idea, a payroll tax cut, is a nonstarter. So why didn’t he also meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)? “Trump and Nancy Pelosi aren’t exactly on speaking terms,” Politico reports, “so he’s deputized Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to handle talks with the speaker.”

Senate Republicans are also leery of the payroll tax cut, especially as Trump gave the impression he wants the taxes used to fund Social Security and Medicare slashed to zero, permanently, The Washington Post reports. Pelosi’s caucus is already putting together its own bill funding paid sick leave for workers and lunches for students whose schools are closed during the outbreak. Mnuchin “is going to have ball control for the administration, and I expect that will speak for us as well,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said after meeting with Trump. “We’re hoping that he and the speaker can pull this together.”

On MSNBC Tuesday, CNBC’s Eamon Javers said the White House doesn’t think it “would end well” if Trump met with Pelosi. “It’s a tragic statement that because he’s so wounded — I mean, we’re in the middle of a national crisis, and he can’t get in a room with the speaker of the House?” host Nicole Wallace asked. “What the White House would say is, that’s Pelosi’s fault,” Javers said. “Because she ripped up his speech, she’s been tough on him, she impeached him, and therefore the president has every right to not want to be in a room with her.”

In fact, White House spokesman Judd Deere said Monday that Trump had declined Pelosi’s invitation to attend the annual St. Patrick’s Day lunch — a bipartisan tradition that started in 1983 as a fence-mending gathering hosted by House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill (D-Mass) for President Ronald Reagan — because “the speaker has chosen to tear this nation apart with her actions and her rhetoric.”

“You know, Bill Clinton built part of his political narrative by saying ‘I feel your pain,'” former Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) told Wallace on Tuesday. “Donald Trump is asking the nation to feel his, and it is a weird leadership quality in a moment of crisis.”

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A spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence denied the unnamed official’s claim, calling it “complete fiction.”

NEW YORK (AP) — The White House overruled health officials who wanted to recommend that elderly and physically fragile Americans be advised not to fly on commercial airlines because of the new coronavirus, a federal official told The Associated Press.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention submitted the plan this week as a way of trying to control the virus, but White House officials ordered the air travel recommendation be removed, said the official who had direct knowledge of the plan. Trump administration officials have since suggested certain people should consider not traveling, but they have stopped short of the stronger guidance sought by the CDC.

The person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity did not have authorization to talk about the matter. The person did not have direct knowledge about why the decision to kill the language was made.

In a tweet, the press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence, Katie Miller, said that “it was never a recommendation to the Task Force” and called the AP story “complete fiction.”

On Friday, the CDC quietly updated its website to tell older adults and people with severe medical conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease to “stay home as much as possible” and avoid crowds. It urges those people to “take actions to reduce your risk of exposure,” but it doesn’t specifically address flying.

Pence, speaking Saturday after meeting with cruise ship industry leaders in Florida, targeted his travel advice to a narrower group: older people with serious health problems.

“If you’re a senior citizen with a serious underlying health condition, this would be a good time to practice common sense and to avoid activities including traveling on a cruise line,” Pence said, adding they were looking to cruise line officials for action, guidance and flexibility with those passengers.

Vice President Mike Pence, center, along with Florida Sen. Rick Scott, far left, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and CDC Directo

Vice President Mike Pence, center, along with Florida Sen. Rick Scott, far left, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, right, speaks to the media after a meeting with cruise line company leaders to discuss the efforts to fight the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at Port Everglades, Saturday March 7, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar suggested older Americans and those with health problems should avoid crowds “especially in poorly ventilated spaces.”

For most people, the flu-like viral illness causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But — like the flu — it can cause pneumonia and be much more lethal to people made frail by old age and by conditions that make it harder for their bodies to fight infections.

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, this week warned U.S. lawmakers against minimizing the viruses risk for vulnerable people. During a Congressional hearing, he said the coronavirus “is like the angel of death for older individuals.”

Some experts this week said clearer and louder guidance should be made to vulnerable people, so they take every possible step to avoid settings where they might more easily become infected.

“The clear message to people who fit into those categories is; ‘You ought to become a semi-hermit. You’ve got to really get serious in your personal life about social distancing, and in particular avoiding crowds of any kind,’” said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University expert on infectious diseases.

That can include not only avoiding essential commercial travel but also large church services and crowded restaurants, he added.

Dr. Tom Frieden, a former CDC director, said whether to recommend the frail and elderly avoid air travel is “a difficult question,” but clearly this is a time when such conversations should be taking place.

“At this point the risk in the U.S. remains low, but we are seeing it spread rapidly. We are going from the calm before the storm to the beginning of the storm,” said Frieden, who now heads Resolve to Save Lives, an organization promoting global public health.

The new virus is a member of the coronavirus family that can cause colds or more serious illnesses such as SARS and MERS. Health officials think it spreads mainly from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.

The virus first emerged late last year in mainland China, but this year has increasingly been spreading around the world. More than 100,000 illnesses have been reported globally, in more than 90 countries and territories. the count includes more than 3,500 deaths.

For weeks, cases in the U.S. remained very low, but the count has been accelerating in the last several days.

President Donald Trump visited the CDC in Atlanta on Friday, where he defended his administration’s handling of the outbreak and tried to reassure Americans that the government had the virus under control. But Trump also detoured from that message, calling Washington state’s governor a “snake” and saying he’d prefer that people exposed to the virus on a cruise ship be left aboard so they wouldn’t be added to the nation’s tally.

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Associated Press writers Lynn Berry in Washington and Kelli Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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