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Posted by: thepinetree on 03/27/2020 10:18 PM Updated by: thepinetree on 03/27/2020 10:18 PM
Expires: 01/01/2025 12:00 AM

President Trump at Signing of H.R.748, The CARES Stimulus Act

Washington, DC...Well, thank you all very much. This is a very important day. I’ll sign the single-biggest economic relief package in American history and, I must say, or any other package, by the way. It’s twice as large as any relief ever signed. It’s $2.2 billion, but it actually goes up to 6.2 — potentially — billion dollars — trillion dollars. So you’re talking about 6.2 trillion-dollar bill. Nothing like that. And this will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers, and businesses. And that’s what this is all about.

And it got a 96 to nothing. And, I don’t know, what was the number in Congress?

PARTICIPANT: A voice vote.

THE PRESIDENT: A voice? It was fantastic.

PARTICIPANT: I think it was just as close.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s pretty amazing. That’s about the same thing. Right, Kevin?


THE PRESIDENT: So, that’s fantastic. But I want to thank Republicans and Democrats for coming together, setting aside their differences, and putting America first.

This legislation provides for direct payments to individuals and unprecedented support to small businesses. We’re going to keep our small businesses strong and our big businesses strong. And that’s keeping our country strong and our jobs strong.

This historic bill includes the following:

$300 billion in direct cash payments will be available to every American citizen earning less than $99,000 per year; $3,400 for a typical family of four. So a family of four: $3,400.
And then $350 billion in job retention loans for small businesses, with loan forgiveness available for businesses that continue paying their workers. The workers get paid.
Approximately $250 billion in expanded unemployment benefits. The average worker who has lost his or her job will receive 100 percent of their salary for up to four full months.
So, things like this have never happened in our country.

$500 billion in support for hard-hit industries, with a ban on corporate stock buybacks — we don’t let them buy back the stock; we don’t let that happen — and tough limits on executive compensation.
Over $100 billion to support our heroic doctors, nurses, and hospitals. And you see what’s happening. And I want to thank, while we’re here, also the incredible job that’s done by the Army Corps of Engineers and by FEMA. It’s been incredible. They did four hospitals in two days or three days, in New York. And they’re, like, incredible structures. What a job they’ve been doing. And they’re doing them all over the country.
$45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, supporting our state, local, and tribal leaders.
$27 billion for the development of vaccines, therapies, and other public health response efforts, including $16 billion to build up the Strategic National Stockpile with critical stockpiles. And I’m going to — we have tremendous supplies coming into the stockpile, and you’ll be seeing that and hearing about it in a little bit because we’re doing a news conference at 5:30 on what’s happening.
We’ve had tremendous results on the respirators. We’ve had great results on just about everything we’re talking about. Boeing just announced that they’re going to be making the plastic field shields — the actual shields, which are hard to come by, and they’re going to be making them by the thousands a week.

And the ventilators, which is probably the most difficult because it’s like — it’s like building a car — we will be announcing thousands of — are going to be built and we have them under contract and we have fast deliveries. As you know, we delivered thousands to New York. And unfortunately — they were delivered to a warehouse, which was good — unfortunately, they didn’t take them, but now they’re taking them. New York is now taking them and redistributing them around the areas that they need.

So you have also $3.5 billion to states to expand childcare benefits for healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the frontlines of this crisis, and $1 billion for securing supplies under the Defense Protection Act. And, as you know, I’ve enacted the act. We’ve used it three or four times. I pulled it back three times because the companies came through, in the end. They didn’t need the act. It’s been great leverage.

I have instituted it against General Electric. We thought we had a deal for 40,000 ventilators and, all of the sudden, the 40,000 came down to 6,000. And then they talked about a higher price than we were discussing, so I didn’t like it. So we did — we did activate it, with respect to General Motors. And hopefully, maybe we won’t even need the full activation. We’ll find out. But we need the ventilators.

I said hello today — I called him — a wonderful guy, Boris Johnson. As you know, he tested positive. And before he even said hello, he said, “We need ventilators.” I said, “Wow. That’s a big statement.” And hopefully, he’s going to be in good shape.

I just spoke to Angela Merkel, and she’s quarantined also. She is right now, for a period of two weeks, being forced to stay in her house. So this is just an incredible situation.

Last night, I spoke to President Xi. We talked about the experience that they had in China and all of the things that have taken place. And we learned a lot. They’ve had a very tough experience, and they’re doing well and he’s doing well. President Xi is doing very well. But we learned a lot and we have great communication together.

We’re going to be sent great data from China — things that happened that they see that — you know, they’ve had a — they’ve had an early experience, and we’re getting all of that information. Much of it has already been sent. It was sent yesterday and sent to our scientists to study. So we’ll have more on that also. We’ll be discussing that at 5:30.

I just want to thank the people behind me. They’ve been incredible friends. They’ve been warriors. They — there’s nobody tougher or smarter than the people standing alongside of me. And I think I want to start off by asking Mitch and then Kevin to speak, and then we’re going to go through a few of the folks in the room if they’d like to say something.

But, Mitch, I’d like — I’d love to say a few words because you — this man worked 24 hours a day for a long time. This is the result. It’s the biggest ever — ever approved in Congress: 6.2 bill- — $6.2 trillion. So, you know, we used to get used to the billion. It used to be million, then it was billion, now it’s trillion. And it’s going to go a long way. It’s going to make a lot of people very happy.

Mitch McConnell, please.

LEADER MCCONNELL: Thank you, Mr. President. Let me just say this is a proud moment for our country, for the President. The Republicans and the Democrats all pulled together and passed the biggest bill in history in record time.

I also want to thank Kevin McCarthy and our leaders on the Republican side in the House who helped speed this through to passage. The American people needed this rescue package, they needed it quickly, and we delivered. It’s a proud moment for all of us. Mr. President, thanks for the opportunity to be here.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. I’d love to shake your hand, but Anthony would get angry at me if I did that. (Laughter.) So I better not do it. I can’t — it’s so natural. I just want to go back and shake his hand.

They’ve done such an incredible job. Kevin, please.

LEADER MCCARTHY: Yeah, I do want to start. I want to thank all — the real — the real answer to America is: We’re listening to you. You do your part, and we’re going to do ours, and that’s exactly what’s happening today.

What Leader McConnell did was amazing. He made it bipartisan, bicameral. Everybody was involved. I wish we could have signed this earlier this week; maybe there wouldn’t be as many people who are out of work. But this will put people back to work.

I also want to thank Secretary Mnuchin. You’ve done an amazing job, and we thank you for that, and all the team that’s here.

Look, as I said in my speech, the virus is here. We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t invite it. We didn’t choose it. But we are going to defeat it together because we’re going to work together, and this is the first start of it. The hospitals will get money — the money they need. The small businesses will be able to hire their employees back. That is a grant; you don’t have to borrow from that place. The other businesses get a retention to keep your employees on. This has something for everything.

And to the task force and the Vice President, all the work that you’re doing with this President, this will be the needed resources you need as well. And thank you for that, and thank you for your leadership, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Very special.

Mike Pence? Mike? Could you please say something? You’ve been working very hard, in charge of our task force. And then I’d like to ask Steve to say a few words.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. Thanks for giving me the opportunity just to express all of our appreciation and the gratitude to the American people for the accomplishment that’s reflected in the legislation that you’ll sign in just a few moments.

You told the American people that we would do whatever it takes. You called on the Congress to step forward to make coronavirus testing free for every American, to make paid family leave available.

The Congress, with the leaders gathered around us here, stepped forward in a bipartisan fashion and delivered. But today, every American family, every American business, can know that help is on the way.

And I want to thank Leader McConnell for his yeoman’s work in really forging a bipartisan bill in the United States Senate. I want to thank Leader McCarthy for his great work. But as the President said, I also want to thank the Democrat and Republican leadership across the House and Senate. This is an American accomplishment. And, Mr. President, it’s exactly what you asked the Congress to deliver for the American people.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mike. And Steve Mnuchin, you know how hard he’s been working. And, Steve, please say a few words.

SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Mr. President, thank you very much for your leadership and for the Vice President’s leadership. You made it very clear to us, last week, we should think big, that this was a war on the virus, and that we should have the resources to protect American workers and American business.

And I’d like to thank the Senate. It was a great honor, Mitch, to work with you and everyone on a bipartisan basis to get this done. This is going to be a great thing for the American workers. And, Kevin McCarthy, thank you for all the work in the House did to pass this quickly.

So, at Treasury, as I’ve said, we are committed to move forward quickly, and we’re going to get money in people’s pockets quickly.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Great job, Steve. Gene? Please.

SECRETARY SCALIA: This is a great day for American workers, protecting American workers, American jobs. It’s been a hallmark of this presidency, and this bill today is another very important step in that direction. It includes unprecedented support for American workers who’ve lost their jobs, through no fault of their own because of this virus, and gives them, as near as we could, the same wage they would have gotten, through unemployment insurance if they’d been able to keep their jobs, for up to four months.

I think even more important, it includes $350 billion in loans for small business, but it’s structured in a way to incentivize them to keep their workers on payroll so that those loans could be forgiven at the end of the period.
And it comes on top of legislation the President asked — signed last week for paid leave for workers who have to be at home because of the virus. Paid leave reimbursed in full, dollar for dollar, to the employers. It’s the first federal paid leave law for the private sector ever. And that also was achieved on an unprecedented, bipartisan basis.

This is the third major bipartisan piece of legislation in three weeks — three bills, three weeks — to address this virus.

So again, I want to thank the President for his leadership, his commitment to American workers, the Vice President as well, and Leader McConnell, and also my colleague, Secretary Mnuchin who did work so hard to help you get this done.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Gene, very much.

Dr. Fauci, you may want to just say for a minute what hit the world. Something hit the world, and the world maybe will never be the quite same. But we’re going to make it a great place anyway. But certainly, you could maybe say a few words about it, please.

DR. FAUCI: Well, thank you, Mr. President. And I want to thank everyone involved in this. This is what America is all about: a bipartisan approach, with your leadership, to do something that’s sorely needed by the American people.

Dr. Birx and I and all of our medical people here are fighting the virus directly. But the virus has an impact on the American people, both directly by illness and death, but also indirectly, because many of the things that we have to do to suppress the virus has a negative impact because of what we’re doing. To give them relief economically is absolutely essential.

So I feel really, really good about what’s happening today. Thank you all very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Tony. Thank you very much.

Deborah, perhaps you could say a few words or so about —

DR. BIRX: Well, thank you, Mr. President. Dr. Fauci covered it very well. As many of you know, I worked for him and he was my mentor 40 years ago.

I think whenever we start with one of these very serious diseases and a pandemic, the President’s first goal was ensuring the health of the American people, and that’s why we put out these very strong guidance.

It’s been a pleasure to work with the economic team here because they understand data in the same way. Economic data and health data is very similar in how you have to interpret it in a very granular way. And I think recognizing that the health of the American people is first, but the economic value of the nation is also critical.

And I just want to thank all of you for what you’ve done for the American people today.

THE PRESIDENT: Great job you’re doing too. Thank you.

Kevin, please.

REPRESENTATIVE BRADY: So just 20 days ago, I don’t know that anyone could have imagined how hard we’ve been hit medically or economically. But 20 days ago, I don’t think anyone could have imagined Congress pulling together so quickly and so forcefully behind what the President identified we needed for this country. This is a proud moment for all of us. And it’s just an example of what leadership can provide here in the White House, and then how we can respond as a Congress.

So thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership.

THE PRESIDENT: And I’m just saying, as Kevin is saying that, 20 days ago — a couple of days longer than that, maybe — we had a smooth-running, beautiful machine. We had the greatest economy in the history of our country. We had the highest stock price we’ve ever seen. It went up, I think, 151 times during the course of the presidency. And then we got hit by the invisible enemy, and we got hit hard. But it wasn’t just us, it was 151 countries, I think, as of the — as of this morning.

And you call Germany and speak to Angela — she’s in quarantine. And as you know, Boris was diagnosed that he’s positive. And all of the things that are happening, it’s hard to believe what’s gone on just in a short period of time.

And because of the talent behind me and lots of other talent in government, what we’ve done — this is a big part of it, obviously, but not the biggest part. Everybody has pulled together. Our nation has pulled together. The spirit is incredible. The people have pulled together more than anyone and better than anybody. And they’re doing really, really well.

But just to think how life can change where you go, 20 to 22 days ago, everything is perfect, we’re looking forward. I’m saying, “When are we going to hit 30,000? I want 30,000.” That means more jobs and more everything. And then, one day, we get hit with this thing that nobody ever heard of before. Nobody ever even heard of before. And now we’re fighting a different battle.

But I really think, in a fairly short period of time, because of what they’ve done and what everyone has done, I really think we’re going to be stronger than ever. And we’ll be protected from a lot of this. A lot of the things, Anthony, that we’ve done now — that we’re doing now — are going to protect us in the future if this should happen again.

DR. FAUCI: Absolutely.

THE PRESIDENT: From testing to so many other —

DR. FAUCI: Vaccines.

THE PRESIDENT: Even stockpiles. Right?

DR. FAUCI: And vaccines.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, the vaccines, hopefully. And vaccines, cures, therapeutics — whatever you want to call it — it’s a lot of progress. And I think on that score, I think we’re going to do a lot of progress on vaccines. We’re making, perhaps, a lot of progress on cures and therapeutics. We’ll be letting you know.

Anybody else have anything? Greg, please. Go ahead, fellas.

REPRESENTATIVE WALDEN: I would just say, I’ve never seen you shy away from a challenge. Your leadership and your policies and this great team brought America this enormous economy. And guess what? You get to do it again. This bill is the next step in that, and we can build back this economy with your leadership and with the healthcare team you’ve got here too. We’re doing the right thing for the American people, and they know that. I can tell you that from the ground. It’s not easy. It’s not easy.

THE PRESIDENT: No, it’s not.

REPRESENTATIVE WALDEN: We don’t want to shelter in place, as Americans. We want to be out, especially northwest.


REPRESENTATIVE WALDEN: But we know we have to do this for the safety of our relatives and families and our community and our country. So thanks for your leadership —

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

REPRESENTATIVE WALDEN: — and the great team you’ve assembled.

THE PRESIDENT: Appreciate it very much.

REPRESENTATIVE CHABOT: On behalf of small businesses, they’re the backbone of the American economy. About half the people that work in America work for a small business, and they’re hurting out there right now. I’m from Ohio. I’m the ranking member of the House Small Business Committee. And back there, nonessential small businesses are shut down.

Without this legislation, it’s questionable whether they would reopen. Because of this legislation, they now have a great chance of that. And those people that work for small businesses, who are shuttered now, will be paid. That’s really important. This wouldn’t have passed without your leadership, Mr. President. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And, you know, Eric worked so hard. You all know Eric. And he was at Steve’s side the whole way. And where is our man? Do I see Larry? Yeah, Larry. The two of them. How about Eric and then Larry say a couple of words and (inaudible.)

MR. UELAND: Well, thank you very much, Mr. President. I really appreciate it, and Mr. Vice President, as well. So you encouraged your team to be bold, be brave, and go big. And we certainly delivered today. (Laughter.) $6.2 trillion is tremendous. So we’ve made sure that we can reassure Americans that their paycheck is protected and that their earnings are protected. We’ve made sure that we can provide significant reinforcement to the American economy as a result of your leadership.

And, finally, looking ahead to address the virus, we’ve included significant resources in order to ensure that those therapies and ultimately that vaccine can come online as quickly as possible. So, protecting the public health and protecting the economic health of America is what you’ve directed us to do. And together, with the team, we’ve worked hard to deliver today.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And Steve is going to work very hard on getting the money out quickly, and hopefully it can be distributed very quickly, especially when they have some old computer equipment that they have to use. But you’re going to work on that very hard.


THE PRESIDENT: Larry, please. Larry Kudlow.

MR. KUDLOW: Oh, thanks, sir. Just hats off to Mitch McConnell who did an amazing job, and House leadership as well. And I agree with the bipartisanship. I want to give special thanks to my friend Steven Mnuchin, who I think did an extraordinary job. We were up there helping him out in one spot or another. But he’s indefatigable and got it done.

And I’ll just say this, Mr. President: A few months ago, this economy was roaring and we’ve hit this — literally, this bug, this virus. And we will deal with it. And I think the assistance bill here, which does have growth incentives, will help lead us back to a very strong economic rebound before this year is over.

Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: I think that too. I think we’re going to have a tremendous rebound at the end of the year — toward the end of the year. I think we’re going to have a rebound like we have never seen before. Even now it wants to rebound. You can see it, feel it. It wants to rebound so badly.

And, you know, we’ve had those really big — I guess, the biggest-ever stock market surge two days ago. And yesterday, it was great. Three biggest days in the history of the stock market. It wants to rebound so badly, but we have to get rid of the bug, we have to get rid of the virus.

Now, I’m going to sign this, and it’s a great honor — $6.2 trillion. I’ve never signed anything with a “T” on it. (Laughter.) I don’t know if I can handle this one, Mitch. (Laughter.) We can’t chicken out at this point, can we?. (Laughter.) I don’t think so, huh?

All right. Thank you all.

(The CARES Act is signed.)

THE PRESIDENT: Good. I wanted them to be a nice signature. (Applause.) Come on, fellas. Come on over here. Elaine. What a job she’s doing with transportation. How’s transportation? Okay?

SECRETARY CHAO: Fine. You always talk about the supply chain.


SECRETARY CHAO: It’s really important.


SECRETARY CHAO: This bill is going to help the supply chain and the workers.

THE PRESIDENT: Anthony? Thank you. Thanks, Tony, very much. Bob Lighthizer, thank you very much. Bob was a little less involved in this. He’s too busy making trade deals.

Okay? You have one? You definitely have to have one. Go ahead. You’re all set.

Thank you, everybody. So we’re going to have a 5:30 news conference in the same location. Seems to be doing quite well. And we appreciate everything. And we really appreciate the fairness, at least from most of the press. We really do. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Q Mr. President, there was that rare moment of agreement today between you and Senator Kerry over —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.

Q — this issue with Massie. Can you expand a bit on that?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, he made a little joke about a man named Congressman Massie. I thought he was totally out of line — Congressman Massie. Because of that, I guess a lot of people had to come back, and they had to go into a place, which, frankly, we’re not supposed to be at, you know, in light of — of what we’re doing with Deborah and Tony and all of the professionals.

So people had to come back, and just no reason for it. So John Kerry made a little joke out of it, and I agreed with his joke. And I said, I never knew he had that kind of a personality. But we actually put it up, and he was right.

Okay, we’ll see you in a couple of minutes, folks. Thank you very much.

Comments - Make a comment
The comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for its content. We value free speech but remember this is a public forum and we hope that people would use common sense and decency. If you see an offensive comment please email us at
No Subject
Posted on: 2020-03-28 06:58:40   By: Anonymous
Just trump standing next to his republican trolls. His presidency has been a disaster from day one.

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2020-03-28 07:02:55   By: Anonymous
    If the Democrats weren’t working on this package the republican lawmakers and trump would have screwed America again. Example, the Republican tax bill. The impeachment with no documents and no witnesses. Trump’s incompetence, astounding.........

    [Reply ]

      Posted on: 2020-03-28 07:06:08   By: Anonymous
      Did he say the state’s should be showing him gratitude. For what, putting there lives at risk with his stupidity.

      [Reply ]

        Posted on: 2020-03-28 07:41:33   By: Anonymous
        President Trump looks like the good guy in all of this virus mess compared to all of the idiotic comments from these foothill Hillbillies.

        [Reply ]

    Posted on: 2020-03-28 15:20:23   By: Anonymous
    For those with common sense:
    DO NOT try to convince your Fox-viewing friends that the virus is not a hoax. Chances are these Foxites are over 65 and given their ignorance they are not only more likely to get Coronavirus BUT statistically they are more likely to die from it. Eugenically, COVID-19 can get rid of these less than human arthropods. Let Fox do our job for us. Go Hannity. Go Ingraham. Go Guttfield. Let the caskets roll on.

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2020-03-28 08:21:33   By: Anonymous

"I said hello today — I called him — a wonderful guy, Boris Johnson. As you know, he tested positive. And before he even said hello, he said, “We need ventilators.” I said, “Wow. That’s a big statement.” And hopefully, he’s going to be in good shape."

What an idiot!

And then having everyone go around the group (who are not socially distanced) and kiss his a**. Only dictators and despots need that.

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2020-03-28 10:25:55   By: Anonymous
    He just talks, blabs whatever comes into his head. Difficult to follow his conversations.

    [Reply ]

      Posted on: 2020-03-28 10:42:29   By: Anonymous
      They’re symptoms of early onset dementia. Look at his eyes. He’s projecting when he calls Biden ( who we all admit looks like he has a bad case of melanoma all over his face, but he’ll get my vote regardless of the skin cancer) Sleeepy Joe, Trump’s not only losing his mind, he’s letting Ivanka and Kushner rule more than we thought.

      He’s using the North Korean model. Kim Jong Un is just a fat guy up there for show with binoculars and rocket man tests. That’s all propaganda to make them look like they’re developing something. But it’s Kim Jong Un’s sister, who is in the political shadow that runs the country.......

      So when you vote Trump2020 you’re actually going to be ruled by Ivanka and Jared, who have threesomes with Stephen Miller when life gets boring. Jared likes to be Forked while Ivanka smokes a cigarette.

      [Reply ]

        Envy of the people
        Posted on: 2020-03-29 21:38:27   By: Anonymous
        Not only do I like his tie, but I really like that leather chair.

        [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2020-03-28 08:27:55   By: Anonymous
The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life
The president was aware of the danger from the coronavirus – but a lack of leadership has created an emergency of epic proportions

by Ed Pilkington and Tom McCarthy in New York

When the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus.

On the very same day, 5,000 miles away in Asia, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in South Korea. The confluence was striking, but there the similarities ended.

In the two months since that fateful day, the responses to coronavirus displayed by the US and South Korea have been polar opposites.

One country acted swiftly and aggressively to detect and isolate the virus, and by doing so has largely contained the crisis. The other country dithered and procrastinated, became mired in chaos and confusion, was distracted by the individual whims of its leader, and is now confronted by a health emergency of daunting proportions.

Within a week of its first confirmed case, South Korea’s disease control agency had summoned 20 private companies to the medical equivalent of a war-planning summit and told them to develop a test for the virus at lightning speed. A week after that, the first diagnostic test was approved and went into battle, identifying infected individuals who could then be quarantined to halt the advance of the disease.

Some 357,896 tests later, the country has more or less won the coronavirus war. On Friday only 91 new cases were reported in a country of more than 50 million.

The US response tells a different story. Two days after the first diagnosis in Washington state, Donald Trump went on air on CNBC and bragged: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

‘A fiasco of incredible proportions’
A week after that, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by two former top health policy officials within the Trump administration under the headline Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic. Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb laid out a menu of what had to be done instantly to avert a massive health disaster.

Top of their to-do list: work with private industry to develop an “easy-to-use, rapid diagnostic test” – in other words, just what South Korea was doing.

It was not until 29 February, more than a month after the Journal article and almost six weeks after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country that the Trump administration put that advice into practice. Laboratories and hospitals would finally be allowed to conduct their own Covid-19 tests to speed up the process.

Today, 86,012 cases have been confirmed in the US, pushing the nation to the top of the world’s coronavirus league table
Those missing four to six weeks are likely to go down in the definitive history as a cautionary tale of the potentially devastating consequences of failed political leadership. Today, 86,012 cases have been confirmed across the US, pushing the nation to the top of the world’s coronavirus league table – above even China.

More than a quarter of those cases are in New York City, now a global center of the coronavirus pandemic, with New Orleans also raising alarm. Nationally, 1,301 people have died.

Most worryingly, the curve of cases continues to rise precipitously, with no sign of the plateau that has spared South Korea.

“The US response will be studied for generations as a textbook example of a disastrous, failed effort,” Ron Klain, who spearheaded the fight against Ebola in 2014, told a Georgetown university panel recently. “What’s happened in Washington has been a fiasco of incredible proportions.”

Jeremy Konyndyk, who led the US government’s response to international disasters at USAid from 2013 to 2017, frames the past six weeks in strikingly similar terms. He told the Guardian: “We are witnessing in the United States one of the greatest failures of basic governance and basic leadership in modern times.”

In Konyndyk’s analysis, the White House had all the information it needed by the end of January to act decisively. Instead, Trump repeatedly played down the severity of the threat, blaming China for what he called the “Chinese virus” and insisting falsely that his partial travel bans on China and Europe were all it would take to contain the crisis.

‘The CDC was caught flat-footed’
If Trump’s travel ban did nothing else, it staved off to some degree the advent of the virus in the US, buying a little time. Which makes the lack of decisive action all the more curious.

“We didn’t use that time optimally, especially in the case of testing,” said William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University medical center. “We have been playing reluctant catch-up throughout.”

As Schaffner sees it, the stuttering provision of mass testing “put us behind the eight-ball” right at the start. “It did not permit us, and still doesn’t permit us, to define the extent of the virus in this country.”

Though the decision to allow private and state labs to provide testing has increased the flow of test kits, the US remains starkly behind South Korea, which has conducted more than five times as many tests per capita. That makes predicting where the next hotspot will pop up after New York and New Orleans almost impossible.

In the absence of sufficient test kits, the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initially kept a tight rein on testing, creating a bottleneck. “I believe the CDC was caught flat-footed,” was how the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, put it on 7 March. “They’re slowing down the state.”

The CDC’s botched rollout of testing was the first indication that the Trump administration was faltering as the health emergency gathered pace. Behind the scenes, deep flaws in the way federal agencies had come to operate under Trump were being exposed.

In 2018 the pandemic unit in the national security council – which was tasked to prepare for health emergencies precisely like the current one – was disbanded. “Eliminating the office has contributed to the federal government’s sluggish domestic response,” Beth Cameron, senior director of the office at the time it was broken up, wrote in the Washington Post.

Disbanding the unit exacerbated a trend that was already prevalent after two years of Trump – an exodus of skilled and experienced officials who knew what they were doing. “There’s been an erosion of expertise, of competent leadership, at important levels of government,” a former senior government official told the Guardian.

“Over time there was a lot of paranoia and people left and they had a hard time attracting good replacements,” the official said. “Nobody wanted to work there.”

It was hardly a morale-boosting gesture when Trump proposed a 16% cut in CDC funding on 10 February – 11 days after the World Health Organization had declared a public health emergency over Covid-19.

Schaffner, who describes himself as the “president of the CDC fan club”, said he has been saddened by how sidelined the CDC has become over the past two months. “Here we have the public health issue of our era and one doesn’t hear from the CDC, the premier public health organization in the world,” Schaffner said.

Under Trump, anti-science sweeps through DC
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the diagnostic tests and will control any new treatments for coronavirus, has also shown vulnerabilities. The agency recently indicated that it was looking into the possibility of prescribing the malaria drug chloroquine for coronavirus sufferers, even though there is no evidence it would work and some indication it could have serious side-effects.

The decision dismayed experts, given that Trump has personally pushed the unproven remedy on a whim. It smacked of the wave of anti-science sentiment sweeping federal agencies under this presidency.

As the former senior official put it: “We have the FDA bowing to political pressure and making decisions completely counter to modern science.”

Highly respected career civil servants, with impeccable scientific credentials, have struggled to get out in front of the president. Dr Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert who has become a rare trusted face in the administration amid the coronavirus scourge, has expressed his frustration.

This week Fauci was asked by a Science magazine writer, Jon Cohen, how he could stand beside Trump at daily press briefings and listen to him misleading the American people with comments such as that the China travel ban had been a great success in blocking entry of the virus. Fauci replied: “I know, but what do you want me to do? I mean, seriously Jon, let’s get real, what do you want me to do?”

Trump has designated himself a “wartime president”. But if the title bears any validity, his military tactics have been highly unconventional. He has exacerbated the problems encountered by federal agencies by playing musical chairs at the top of the coronavirus force.

The president began by creating on 29 January a special coronavirus taskforce, then gave Vice-President Mike Pence the job, who promptly appointed Deborah Birx “coronavirus response coordinator”, before the federal emergency agency Fema began taking charge of key areas, with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, creating a shadow team that increasingly appears to be calling the shots.

“There’s no point of responsibility,” the former senior official told the Guardian. “It keeps shifting. Nobody owns the problem.”

Trump: everything’s going to be great
Amid the confusion, day-to-day management of the crisis has frequently come directly from Trump himself via his Twitter feed. The president, with more than half an eye on the New York stock exchange, has consistently talked down the scale of the crisis.

On 30 January, as the World Health Organization was declaring a global emergency, Trump said: “We only have five people. Hopefully, everything’s going to be great.”

On 24 February, Trump claimed “the coronavirus is very much under control in the USA”. The next day, Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s top official on respiratory diseases, took the radically different approach of telling the truth, warning the American people that “disruption to everyday life might be severe”.

Trump was reportedly so angered by the comment and its impact on share prices that he shouted down the phone at Messonnier’s boss, the secretary of health and human services, Alex Azar.

“Messonnier was 100% right. She gave a totally honest and accurate assessment,” Konyndyk told the Guardian. And for that, Trump angrily rebuked her department. “That sent a very clear message about what is and isn’t permissible to say.”

Konyndyk recalls attending a meeting in mid-February with top Trump administration officials present in which the only topic of conversation was the travel bans. That’s when he began to despair about the federal handling of the crisis.

“I thought, ‘Holy Jesus!’ Where’s the discussion on protecting our hospitals? Where’s the discussion on high-risk populations, on surveillance so we can detect where the virus is. I knew then that the president had set the priority, the bureaucracy was following it, but it was the wrong priority.”

So it has transpired. In the wake of the testing disaster has come the personal protective equipment (PPE) disaster, the hospital bed disaster, and now the ventilator disaster.

Ventilators, literal life preservers, are in dire short supply across the country. When governors begged Trump to unleash the full might of the US government on this critical problem, he gave his answer on 16 March.

In a phrase that will stand beside 20 January 2020 as one of the most revelatory moments of the history of coronavirus, he said: “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment – try getting it yourselves.”

To date, the Trump administration has supplied 400 ventilators to New York. By Cuomo’s estimation, 30,000 are needed.

“You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?” Cuomo scathingly asked on Tuesday. “You pick the 26,000 who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.”

‘A total vacuum of federal leadership’
In the absence of a strong federal response, a patchwork of efforts has sprouted all across the country. State governors are doing their own thing. Cities, even individual hospitals, are coping as best they can.

In an improvised attempt to address such inconsistencies, charitable startups have proliferated on social media. Konyndyk has clubbed together with fellow disaster relief experts to set up Covid Local, an online “quick and dirty” guide to how to fight a pandemic.

“We are seeing the emergence of 50-state anarchy, because of a total vacuum of federal leadership. It’s absurd that thinktanks and Twitter are providing more actionable guidance in the US than the federal government, but that’s where we are.”

Valerie Griffeth is a founding member of another of the new online startups that are trying to fill the Trump void. Set up by emergency department doctors across the country, seeks to counter the top-down chaos that is putting frontline health workers like herself in danger through a dearth of protective gear.

Griffeth is an emergency and critical care physician in Portland, Oregon. She spends most days now in intensive care treating perilously ill patients with coronavirus.

Her hospital is relatively well supplied, she said, but even so protective masks will run out within two weeks. “We are all worried about it, we’re scared for our own health, the health of our families, of our patients.”

Early on in the crisis, Griffeth said, it dawned on her and many of her peers that the federal government to which they would normally look to keep them safe was nowhere to be seen. They resigned themselves to a terrible new reality.

“We said to ourselves we are going to get exposed to the virus. When the federal government isn’t there to provide adequate supplies, it’s just a matter of time.”

But just in the last few days, Griffeth has started to see the emergence of something else. She has witnessed an explosion of Americans doing it for themselves, filling in the holes left by Trump’s failed leadership.

“People are stepping up all around us,” she said. “I’m amazed by what has happened in such short time. It gives me hope.”

[Reply ]

    tRump Removes Oversight
    Posted on: 2020-03-28 08:36:05   By: Anonymous
    This is how the tRump crime family will steal the $ - he removes any oversight.
    Besides the lies, ignorance and denying help to Governors who don't kiss his azz , he will just steal the $ outright.
    The tRump CDC just allowed cruise ship passengers on a ship that had 4 dead of the virus just get of in Miami, and go thru airports, and fly home spreading the virus to tens of thousands, This is the height of stupidity.

    Trump, by way of a signing statement, noted that his administration would quite simply override a provision in the nearly 900-page stimulus bill that would require the country’s newest inspector general–just created and tasked with overseeing the disbursement of the stimulus funds–to report to Congress any time the administration stonewalled about where or how those funds were being spent.

    [Reply ]

    Re: /\/\ Trumps failed leadership....
    Posted on: 2020-03-28 21:39:30   By: Anonymous
    Yadda,Yadda, Yadda-could you do a better job than our POTUS?

    [Reply ]

Wow Trump and Republicans are lazy pieces of sh*t
Posted on: 2020-03-28 09:14:39   By: Anonymous
Good morning white trash communities !

[Reply ]

    Re: Wow Trump and Republicans are lazy pieces of sh*t
    Posted on: 2020-03-28 10:04:29   By: Anonymous
    POS POTUS. !!

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2020-03-28 09:14:44   By: Anonymous
All you whiners, drop your checks off at an undisclosed location, we hillbillies will gladly, and thankfully, spend your whiny ass money!

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2020-03-28 09:17:53   By: Anonymous
    You hillbilly white trash m*therf*ckers are glad to spend any grocery-gift-cards you can get so STFU you Tranny !

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2020-03-28 09:16:51   By: Anonymous
By the way, where is Sleepy Joe in all of this, I heard they had to FChuck Shumer backside to get more plugs for SLEEPY!

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2020-03-28 09:23:06   By: Anonymous
    What’s the difference between rural California homesteads and a trailer parks in Texas?

    [Reply ]

      Re: 😆🙄
      Posted on: 2020-03-28 09:23:49   By: Anonymous

      [Reply ]

        Re: 😆🙄
        Posted on: 2020-03-28 09:26:56   By: Anonymous
        I was gonna say methlabs but clearly you Republican’ts are cookin’ up dust. But you gotta be careful with your inflatable sex dolls, we can tell when you haven’t used them lately. Your really grumpy when y’all ain’t gettin’ in the inflatable drive.

        [Reply ]

          Re: 😆🙄
          Posted on: 2020-03-28 09:29:05   By: Anonymous
          And for all you b*tches that keep calling me the N word, that went to Yeezy and the Kardashian Instagram accounts and I tweeted it to NPR and the WP. 🐾🐾🐾 cannot deny your racist rural behavior, you leave footprints yo!

          [Reply ]

            Re: 😆🙄
            Posted on: 2020-03-28 09:30:45   By: Anonymous
            And Kanye’s the only black man in America with a Red Hat so he didn’t appreciate your throwing out that word so easily, but we didn’t expect much else from you creepy pieces of white trash.

            [Reply ]

              Re: 😆🙄
              Posted on: 2020-03-28 09:36:25   By: Anonymous
              So say what you want but it’s getting screenshots and you just make John Hamilton look like a racist, sexist, squealing pig with a toupee that makes him look a lot like Moe. Who was a racist sexist pig, so it’s fitting. Keep it up Moe, you makin’ the white man look worse!

              [Reply ]

                Re: 😆🙄
                Posted on: 2020-03-28 10:26:57   By: Anonymous
                If you read most of these comments it appears that these people are illiterate Hillbillies that have some serious mental issues and if you say you are a flatlander then God help us all.

                [Reply ]

                  Re: 😆🙄
                  Posted on: 2020-03-28 10:29:49   By: Anonymous
                  I’m a flat lander

                  [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2020-03-28 10:24:17   By: Anonymous
Surround yourself with well wishers and those who want to keep your favor. Despite Trump's claims of building unity not one Democrat invited for the photo though their contribution was equal, perhaps more so in making sure corporations had some oversight in how their stimulus money would be spent. In the old day of business, we called this a "dog and pony show."

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2020-03-28 10:25:09   By: Anonymous
    It’s a wall and crony show

    [Reply ]

      Posted on: 2020-03-28 10:29:34   By: Anonymous

      [Reply ]

ALWAYS a photo op and vote getting from the Big One!!!
Posted on: 2020-03-28 11:15:21   By: Anonymous
ALWAYS a photo op and vote getting from the Big One!!!

[Reply ]

    Re: ALWAYS a photo op and vote getting from the Big One!!!
    Posted on: 2020-03-28 12:37:56   By: Anonymous
    Trump had to have John McCain's name covered on the war ship. He can not have any Democrats in his Fox News photo.
    He thinks the state governors owe him gratitude, for what exactly? He told Americans things that will most likely cost lives. He is a incompetent, lying idiot.

    [Reply ]

      Re: ALWAYS a photo op and vote getting from the Big One!!!
      Posted on: 2020-03-28 12:40:44   By: Anonymous
      His presidency is a embarrassment that America will never get passed.

      [Reply ]

      So Socialism Is Ok?
      Posted on: 2020-03-28 12:44:50   By: Anonymous
      So when the sh** hits the fan as in 2007, the Republicans get religion- socialism.
      Yes socialism, bailouts are socialism. Conservatism as Hoover used after the 1929 crash only made the economy worse.
      FDR was elected on a socialism platform, he implemented socialistic principals and started a recovery.
      The same in 2007. The bailouts of the banks mainly was pure socialism to save the economy as much as possible until the recovery $ -4Trillions filtered into the economy.
      Socialism to the rescue. When the Republicans and their pals are against the wall, they applaud socialism, not more Conservatism.
      This exposes all the Conservatism arguments for the BS it is.
      What saves America? Socialism Again.

      The bail out $ must help the poor and middle class, unlike in 2007, when $Trillions was shoveled into the banks who caused the sub prime crises to begin with, the loss of Glass Stegal which was an economic firewall in place since 1930. Clinton threw it out with applause on both sides and in 8 years, the banks had crashed the economy as the predatory capitalists have so many times.

      The cure once again is socialism, watch the Republicans cheer it on.
      What hypocrites. Except the socialism is for the monied interests, not the people..

      [Reply ]

        Re: So Socialism Is Ok?
        Posted on: 2020-03-28 18:07:10   By: Anonymous
        Liberalism is worse than the China flu. Rots the brain quicker.

        [Reply ]

          Re: So Socialism Is Ok?
          Posted on: 2020-03-28 19:48:46   By: Anonymous
          It’s better than communist propaganda and dictatorship authoritarian rule.🇺🇸🚬 🇷🇺🇨🇳🇰🇵

          [Reply ]

            Re: eat sh*t for breakfast
            Posted on: 2020-03-28 19:52:15   By: Anonymous
            Socialism is being thrown around constantly. We’re not going to turn from a democratic to a socialist society if Trump * is not re-elected.

            It doesn’t just switch....

            [Reply ]

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