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Ten days: After an early coronavirus warning, Trump is distracted as he downplays threat

Rogue Valley

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Ten days: After an early coronavirus warning, Trump is distracted as he downplays threat

imrs.php

9/16/20
In explaining why he repeatedly misled the American public about the early dangers posed by the novel coronavirus, President Trump has argued that he did not want to engender panic — and suggested that his actions showed he took the looming pandemic seriously. But a detailed review of the 10-day period from late January, when Trump was first warned about the scale of the threat, and early February — when he acknowledged to author Bob Woodward the extent of the danger the virus posed — reveals a president who took relatively few serious measures to ready the nation for its arrival. Instead, enabled by top administration officials, Trump largely attempted to pretend the virus did not exist — spending much of his time distracted by impeachment and exacting vengeance on his political enemies. He also carried on as usual with showy political gatherings and crowded White House events. On that final Tuesday in January, national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien had warned Trump during a top-secret Oval Office briefing that the virus “will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency.” In the hours to come on Jan. 28, Trump appeared at the White House alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before heading to a campaign rally in Wildwood, N.J., where he did not mention the virus.

He flew later that week on Air Force One to Mar-a-Lago, where he spent the weekend golfing and hosted a Super Bowl bash at his private club in Palm Beach, Fla. Later, back in Washington, the president focused first on his State of the Union address and then on vanquishing his perceived rivals following the Senate’s vote to acquit him of impeachment charges. Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro wrote a memo offering a much grimmer assessment, warning that the virus could evolve “into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.” “Hopefully it won’t be as bad as some people think it could be,” Trump said, adding, “We think it’s going to have a very good ending for it.” On Sunday, Feb. 2, as O’Brien appeared on “Face The Nation,” the president visited Trump International Golf Club for another day on the links. That evening, before returning to Washington, Trump hosted a Super Bowl party at his club, complete with cheerleaders shaking pompoms. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said Trump’s response to the virus — and specifically his decision to deliberately downplay the threat — “is an example of everything you should not do if you are the president of the United States and a pandemic of an emerging virus occurs.” “It’s not good to sit on information like that, and it’s even worse when somebody does what President Trump did,” Rasmussen said. “He didn’t only maintain calm; he completely dismissed the threat and actively encouraged the opposite of what people should be doing.”

With the November election looming, Trump now wants us to believe he took COVID seriously....

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His disinformation and lies have not changed. 201,000+ Americans are now dead.
 

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