Politics - News Analysis

In 2018, Trump Fired the Entire Chain of Command for Pandemic Response Because Obama

Of course he did.

In a move that has taken on acute importance over the last few weeks, people are now being reminded – or, if you’re like me, learning for the first time – that in 2018 Trump fired the entire White House chain of commend for any pandemic response.

It is almost like the Trump administration doesn’t want U.S. citizens to know of, or do anything about, a critical issue threatening our nation and all citizens. One would think that no one could possibly think this is a good idea, and yet it is more apparent than ever that this is simply the principle by which Trump works.

Wait, oh, okay – I understand now. I think I have a handle on exactly why Trump would do such a deranged and bizarre thing:

When Ebola broke out in West Africa in 2014, President Barack Obama recognized that responding to the outbreak overseas, while also protecting Americans at home, involved multiple U.S. government departments and agencies, none of which were speaking to one another. Basically, the U.S. pandemic infrastructure was an enormous orchestra full of talented, egotistical players, each jockeying for solos and fame, refusing to rehearse, and demanding higher salaries—all without a conductor.

To bring order and harmony to the chaos, rein in the agency egos, and create a coherent multiagency response overseas and on the homefront, Obama anointed a former vice presidential staffer, Ronald Klain, as a sort of “epidemic czar” inside the White House, clearly stipulated the roles and budgets of various agencies, and placed incident commanders in charge in each Ebola-hit country and inside the United States. The orchestra may have still had its off-key instruments, but it played the same tune.

It was organized by Obama, so no matter how dangerously ineffective the response had previously been, no matter how big an improvement was made, and no matter how serious the topic and potential damages, it had to go because “Obama.”

As each hour has gone by throughout this presidency, whenever I believed I had reached a point where I couldn’t possibly have more contempt for the man or his “administration,” I find a way.

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Jared will run it, I am sure.

Or no one. Because Trump will so obviously make this the most beautiful pandemic you have ever seen. He will make it sound like the coronavirus will be “good” for America just as Wilbur Ross – Commerce Secretary – said earlier this week.

In such a dark time, you didn’t want any more bad news, but you did need this news. If our response to this pandemic is inept and maddening, if it needlessly harms large numbers of Americans and some Trumpers near you are wondering why, you can clarify exactly why.

In 2017 and 2018, the philanthropist billionaire Bill Gates met repeatedly with Bolton and his predecessor, H.R. McMaster, warning that ongoing cuts to the global health disease infrastructure would render the United States vulnerable to, as he put it, the “significant probability of a large and lethal modern-day pandemic occurring in our lifetimes.” And an independent, bipartisan panel formed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies concluded that lack of preparedness was so acute in the Trump administration that the “United States must either pay now and gain protection and security or wait for the next epidemic and pay a much greater price in human and economic costs.

After studying the issue some, we’re left with the exact same response we’ve had so many other times. Of course Trump took something that was proven to work reasonably effectively and busted it all up. We cannot imagine a situation where Trump wouldn’t.

Meanwhile, Trump was asked at the recent economic forum in Davos how he intended to respond to the epidemic. He said the “situation was under control and a world away from the United States.”

Yep, that’s the guy we have come to expect.

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Peace, y’all

Jason

[email protected] and on Twitter @MiciakZoom

 

 

meet the author

Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.

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