The Greatest Scandal In American History: The Trump Cover Up Of A Looming Public Health Crisis.
This should be the scandal of the century. In a rational world it would destroy Trump’s Presidency and end the Republican Party as a political force for years. For weeks the President of the United States, and many in his party, engaged in a systematic cover up of a looming public health crisis. When it came, as they were warned it would, hundreds (likely thousands or tens of thousands before it is through) of Americans would die. A nation enjoying a prolonged period of economic prosperity would be pushed into a recession. While those engaged in this cover up did not prepare the nation, they often prepared themselves, their political supporters, and their families, for the financial shock by dumping soon to be greatly devalued stocks.
This is no Presidential cover up of a burglary, or lying about some Oval Office fellatio. It’s not even akin to seeking foreign help to smear your political opponents. This is life and death, and economic ruin for millions of Americans, spawned by the most malicious lies, corruption, and cover up imaginable.
“U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus . . . Taken together, the reports and warnings painted an early picture of a virus that showed the characteristics of a globe-encircling pandemic that could require governments to take swift actions to contain it . . . The warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies increased in volume toward the end of January and into early February, said officials familiar with the reports. By then, a majority of the intelligence reporting included in daily briefing papers and digests from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA was about covid-19.”
Of course the warnings did not just emanate from U.S. intelligence agencies. The American press and media also warned that the pandemic’s arrival and spread in America was inevitable. CNN, the Washington Post, The New York Times — all the major outlets (not counting Fox).
On February 26th (the same day as the Trump tweet below) the American press reported that Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters that it was only a matter of when the pandemic spread throughout America and that its impact on business and our lives “could be bad.”
Trump acknowledged the efforts of the press by attacking them, claiming they were part of a plot to bring him down.
For the record, CNN, The Washington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times, etc, were right and Trump was wrong.
Trump restricted, but did not ban, travel from China on February 3d. Beyond that, almost nothing was done as Trump, and his Administration, repeatedly assured the American people there was nothing to be concerned about. Consider this timeline of statements from the President of the United States.
January 22: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
February 2: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
February 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
February 25: “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”
February 25: “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”
February 26: “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
February 26: “We’re going very substantially down, not up.” [Note: The number of U.S. cases when Trump said this was about 60. The current U.S. cases, as of this writing, is well over 30,000. For about the last week the number has roughly doubled every two days. That is neither substantially down from 60 nor “close to zero.”] [Additional note: This is the same day the CDC issued the stark warning discussed above]
February 27: “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
February 28: “We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.” [Note: There is no evidence any medical supplies were stockpiled and critical supplies, including ventilators and protective masks for medical personnel are now in desperately short supply]
March 2: “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?” [Note: The direct answer from the doctor was “No!”]
March 2: “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”
March 4: “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
March 5: “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
March 5: “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!” [Note: As of this writing the United States has over 32,000 cases and over 400 deaths]
March 6: “I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”
March 6: “The tests are beautiful…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.” [Note: As Trump’s own experts admitted, the tests failed. They had to start research and production all over again. Tests available in the field still do not meet demand]
March 6: “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”
March 6: “I don’t need to have the numbers to double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”
March 8: “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”
March 9: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
Trump has come around since these comments, declaring a national emergency and urging social distancing, but has continued to present irrational and false promises for treatments and vaccines. His doing so is again often directly contradicted in real time by his own medical experts.
The Trump Media’s Participation
Trump’s cover up on the coronavirus threat was abetted by his effectively state-operated media machine. On February 26, Rush Limbaugh, fresh off that Medal of Freedom award from Trump, declared:
“We have people who are purposely creating a panic here — or trying to — to have a negative impact on the stock market, to maybe have a negative impact on the economy, because they are hoping to have a negative impact on President Trump . . . You’re gonna waste time getting mad at me if you think I’m underselling this by saying it’s just the common cold, ’cause right now that’s all it is.”
On March 9th Fox News Business anchor Trish Regan accused the media and democrats of inducing “mass hysteria to encourage a market sell off” aimed at demonizing Trump. On March 11 Sean Hannity used his radio show to read a tweet stating:
“coronavirus fear-mongering by the Deep State will go down in history as one of the biggest frauds to manipulate economies, suppress dissent, and push mandated medicines.”
Hannity then described that as “maybe true.” When Hannity said this there were about 1,200 Coronavirus cases in the United States and eight deaths. Those numbers are now 32,000+ and over 400+ respectively. That was 11 days ago.
Trump lied and engaged in this cover up to prop up the markets, but eventually the truth found its way into the market. Viruses have no concern for markets or the fantasies of corrupt Presidents and complicit reporters. The results were devastating. Trump’s pride, the robust stock market, has now fallen about 33% (so far) in 2020. The Dow Jones is sitting below what it was when Obama left office.
An unprepared nation and public now finds itself reeling into at best a recession, and likely a depression. Entire industries have evaporated into nothing. The entire hospitality industry has ground to a halt. Those working in tourism, hotels, restaurants, bars and so forth, are now mostly out of work. It’s much larger than that, of course. Businesses across the nation have shuttered to facilitate “social distancing.” Schools are closed, concerts cancelled, the NBA season cancelled, the NCAA Tournament cancelled. The list is too long to continue.
401Ks and other investments for ordinary Americans have been devastated. But not for all Americans. Trump’s coverup propped up the stock market until the fake crutch was kicked away by undeniable events. In that time, the privileged, with access to the secret information of intelligence agency warnings, were able to dump their stocks. At least four Senators (including Democrat Diane Feinstein) with access to these briefings made quick stock sales in affected industries.
One of those, Senator Richard Burr, secretly warned his wealthy North Carolina supporters on February 27th that it could be akin to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that killed millions:
“There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history. It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic . . . Every company should be cognizant of the fact that you may have to alter your travel. You may have to look at your employees and judge whether the trip they’re making to Europe is essential or whether it can be done on video conference. Why risk it? . . . There will be, I’m sure, times that communities, probably some in North Carolina, have a transmission rate where they say, ‘Let’s close schools for two weeks. Everybody stay home’” — Republican Senator Richard Burr to a closed, meeting of the well-heeled Tar Heel Circle, which costs $500 to $10,000 to join, on February 27th.
That’s the same day that Trump was telling the American public, “like a miracle, it will disappear.”
The Worst Consequences
Devastating as the human costs associated with our economy are, and as profoundly disturbing as the in-the-know privileged scrambling to avoid personal losses, the real consequences are far more directly human.
Given the President’s weeks-long cover up of this impending health crisis, is it any wonder we were caught so ill prepared? How can anyone pretend to be surprised that our healthcare workers don’t have the supplies they need to treat the infected and protect themselves? How can anyone feign shock that testing kits were not available when the disease suddenly exploded into our society? And, as predicted by the experts all along, it exploded suddenly, with exponential growth.
We were caught flat footed, without testing kits or equipment, and without warning, because for the entire period of slow growth, up until mid-March, we were being lied to by the President of the United States. We were being told to not buy into the “mass hysteria” and “fake news propaganda.” We were further assured that our government was ready, that the testing was “beautiful”and “perfect,” “like the letter was perfect.”
Without the testing, any chance to contain the disease was lost. The opportunity to detect those with the disease, trace their chain of transmission, and to isolate and break those chains, disappeared in a flood of cases. The wider testing finally becoming available now is too little, too late, trying to close the barn door after the horse has run out.
But that’s not the end of it. Despite his belated change in tone, the weeks and weeks of Presidential messaging that there was nothing to worry about cannot be reversed on a dime. Millions of Americans remain convinced of the President’s prior messaging that it was all an overhyped Democrat, Deep State, or Fake News attack on his Presidency. Polls show 60% of Republicans don’t believe it is a serious concern. Do you think they are taking last week’s message to socially isolate seriously? Particularly when they have been told for three years that there is no one in the media to trust?
Trump’s weeks-long cover up of this disease has made everything worse, much worse. Far beyond the economic costs, there are healthcare workers who will contract the disease and die from inadequate protection and increased spread from lack of testing kits that should have been ready with weeks to prepare (but weren’t). Those confused by Presidential mixed messaging and his continuing exhortation to distrust the media will further spread the disease by being slow to accept social distancing.
More people will become seriously ill because of Trump’s cover up. More people will die, many more, than would have, had he been honest with the American people early. That’s the most serious consequence of all.
This is greatest scandal in American political history. It should be reported as such. This scandal will kill many more Americans than died at Benghazi, by orders of magnitude. It should be proportionally more zealously investigated and prosecuted.