Trump Really Did Try To Send Sick Americans To Island Of COVID-19
People who exist in reality understand that Donald Trump bungled the nation's COVID-19 response. He's not just stupid but he's also a narcissist who only cares abut himself. It's not a winning combination when managing a crisis.
In a letter to Nikita Khrushchev, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis observed that disaster can come from the actions of “little men" who are "more moved by fear and pride." That's a perfect description of Trump, which is why Hillary Clinton quoted this line during her 2016 Democratic National Convention speech. If only 70,000 more voters in the Rust Belt had listened, maybe we could've prevented 600,000 COVID-19 deaths.
A new book is coming out from Washington Post journalists Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, called Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration's Response to the Pandemic That Changed History. And even with everything we already know, the book manages to shock, which is impressive. There are no limits to Trump's moral depravity. He's a blooming onion of evil.
The authors describe how early into the pandemic, Trump was eager to suppress the rising COVID-19 numbers, so instead of bringing infected Americans back home for treatment, he suggested dumping them on an island, like a very twisted reality show.
"Don't we have an island that we own?" the president reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020, before the U.S. outbreak would explode. "What about Guantánamo?"
"We import goods," Trump specified, lecturing his staff. "We are not going to import a virus."
Yes, Trump is a heartless monster.
His aides were reportedly stunned, which seems hard to believe. Even if it was their first day, they should've at least learned that Trump was a garbage human during orientation. The so-called president brought up the idea again, but they successfully pushed back. Quarantining American tourists on the same island where the US government holds (and tortured) suspected terrorists isn't a good look.
Abutaleb and Paletta interviewed more than 180 people, including multiple White House senior staff members and government health leaders, who all recount how dysfunction and malicious incompetence derailed the Trump administration's COVID-19 response. Books about Trump's nightmare presidency often go into detail about the supposedly heroic efforts of his advisers to save Americans from their own commander-in-chief. Nightmare Scenario is no exception, as it describes the “enormous efforts made to prevent Trump from acting on his worst instincts," which are all of his instincts. He has no positive ones. Besides, spending all your time keeping a chimp with a gun from shooting someone doesn't make you a hero, especially if you helped give the chimp the gun in the first place.
Trump reportedly whined to then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar that testing for COVID-19 “is killing me!" What a repulsive choice of words considering the rising death rates under his watch. This was on March 18, 2020, a week or so before the country would start to shut down. Trump was already afraid the pandemic would cost him the election he already deserved to lose. He reamed out Azar on the phone so loudly that Azar's aides overheard the entire conversation. This is the unstable genius Republicans would love to nominate for the presidency a third time.
"I'm going to lose the election because of testing! What idiot had the federal government do testing?"
"Uh, do you mean Jared?" Azar responded[.]
Yes, Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is the idiot who took over the national testing strategy, which he later abandoned because the team of sociopaths thought they could just blame Democratic governors in the hardest-hit “blue states." This callous indifference to human life also demonstrated how little they understood about communicable diseases, which respect no borders.
Kushner reportedly flipped out in late March when he learned that an order of 600 million masks wouldn't arrive until June. He threw his pen against the wall in a furious Mr. Burns-like display of strength.
"You fucking moron," Kushner reportedly said. "We'll all be dead by June."
Such a grace under pressure! A few weeks later, Kushner would pitch the “great American comeback," which is when ignoring the pandemic became official White House policy.
It's possible that removing Trump from office after he was first impeached in 2019 might've saved lives. Haha, just kidding, that ship sailed when Hillary Clinton conceded the 2016 election. Nightmare Scenario reveals that Vice President Mike Pence and his chief of staff, Marc Short, were also overly focused on the “political and economic implications of the coronavirus response." Short believed Trump overreacted when he extended the economic pause through Easer 2020, claiming this was a “gift to Democratic governors." It appears that at no point did anyone in this administration view COVID-19 as a shared American crisis.
Short pushed back against an HHS plan to send free masks to every American, which might've prevented mask-wearing from becoming a culture war issue.
Several senior officials [...] compared masks to "underwear on your face," with one remarking that they looked like a "training bra."
The nation's COVID-19 response was managed by emotionally immature idiots who couldn't tell the difference between a facial mask and women's underwear. This was not a Trump-exclusive problem.
In a saner reality, the people involved in this disaster would be facing prison, not plotting their return to power.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."