Trump’s Incompetence Made Everything Worse

Since the 1994 right wing take over of the Republican Party, that party has been contemptuous of government, science and expertise. As influential Fortune 500/GOP lobbyist Grover Norquist once said: “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Unfortunately, this radical GOP philosophy has had negative real world consequences.

We first saw it play out in 2005 when New Orleans was wrecked by Hurricane Katrina. Under President Clinton, FEMA was a model agency that successfully responded to several natural disasters. After Bush took office, he gutted the agency and put the hapless Mike Brown in charge. Brown had no background in disaster management and before he took the job of FEMA head, he had been the Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association.

After the Bush presidency imploded, Obama successfully rebuilt the federal government and successfully dealt with several pandemics. Obama’s response to the Ebola virus in 2014–15 was a model in how to deal with a dangerous virus since no American lives were lost.

During the Ebola crisis, Obama was subjected to withering criticism from the GOP on a daily basis. Then TV reality star Donald Trump tweeted that Obama was “incompetent” and “dumb.” Moreover, Trump tweeted that Obama’s refusal to halt flights from Africa was “almost like saying F-you to U.S. public,” and “he should be ashamed.” Trump even went so far as to demand Obama’s resignation.

Now Trump and many of those same Republicans who blasted Obama’s response to the Ebola virus are now telling us we’re not supposed to “politicize” Trump’s shambolic response to the deadly corona virus. In other words, we’re supposed to cease criticizing Trump. Former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes recently tweeted: “The Republican “don’t politicize X issue” line only works if you willfully forget the Republican response to literally everything that happened during the entire Obama presidency.”

Even though Trump didn’t cause the current crisis, his incompetent response has made it much worse. Let’s take a look at the record before Trump and his propaganda machine try to rewrite history.

During the transition in January 2017, the outgoing Obama Administration warned the Trump transition team of a potential pandemic. According to the Politico website: “The Trump team was told it could face specific challenges, such as shortages of ventilators, anti-viral drugs and other medical essentials, and that having a coordinated, unified national response was “paramount” — warnings that seem eerily prescient given the ongoing coronavirus crisis.”

According to the Obama team, Trump’s staffers looked bored and apathetic during the meeting. Current Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross even dozed off. Since that fateful meeting, approximately 2/3 of the Trump officials who were in the room have left the Administration.

After Trump took over, the Trump Administration conducted a government exercise in 2019 simulating a severe influenza pandemic. The exercise demonstrated that the Administration was woefully unprepared for a pandemic. According to the New York Times: “The HHS draft report concluded that the US doesn’t have the capacity to manufacture personal protective equipment, needles and syringes. The report noted that these supplies, along with antiviral medications, respirators and ventilators, would be “limited and difficult to restock,” due to them being largely manufactured overseas.”

Since the current corona virus has broken out, Trump and the GOP responded to the virus by claiming it was a “hoax” designed to undermine his presidency. Initially, all Trump cared about were his re-election prospects, his image and the stock market.

The following timeline of Trump’s false and idiotic statements are damning and shouldn’t be forgotten:

January 22:

Trump: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

January 31:

Hannity: “Coronavirus, how concerned are you?” Trump: “Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China. “

February 2:

Trump: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.

February 10:

Trump: “A lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in.”

February 24:

Trump: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. . . . Stock Market starting to look very good to me.”

February 26:

Trump: “[The number of people infected is] going very substantially down, not up.” “The 15 [cases] within a couple of days, is going to be down to zero.”

February 27:

Trump: “It’s going to disappear one day, it’s like a miracle.”

March 6:

Trump: “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 10:

Trump: “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

March 13:

Trump: “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

Trump on March 17:

“I’ve always known this is a real — this is a pandemic. I’ve felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. All you had to do was look at other countries … No I’ve always viewed it as very serious. There was no difference yesterday from days before.”

Former senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer compiled this list of Trump Administration failures:

  • Trump shut down the White House’s pandemic response unit bequeathed to him by President Obama
  • Trump resisted efforts to expand and expedite testing
  • Trump ignored specific warnings about the dangers of the virus
  • Trump’s failed for weeks to order FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other government agencies to build up health-care and other necessary infrastructure
  • Trump continues to delay invoking the Defense Production Act to marshal U.S. industries to ramp up production of ventilators, personal protective equipment, and other necessary items that are in dangerous short supply
  • Trump cut CDC funding
  • Trump waited for months to declare a national emergency and wasted critical time unleashing the federal government’s resources

The Republicans in Congress are equally responsible for this disaster. As we learned last night, four prominent Republican U.S. Senators received briefings from the Trump Administration and the Senate Intelligence Committee about the deadly consequences of the corona virus outbreak in early February. Instead of warning the Trump Administration and the public about the coming crisis, these senators sold off millions of dollars worth of stocks that they owned.

At the same time, the likes of Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler assured the American people that the economy was strong and the U.S. was “better prepared than ever before” to handle threats like this one.

“People are missing something about Burr scandal. If senators knew so did Trump. He did nothing. Burr should resign but so should Trump. They both misled Americans. “ Jennfier Rubin of the Washington Post. “Trump and the rest of the Republicans had the power to make America better prepared, save lives, and spare the economy, instead they decided to profit off the pandemic.” Dan Pfeiffer

It is no coincidence that this is the second consecutive Republican administration to lead the United States into disaster. This is the direct result of the GOP’s bankrupt governing philosophy that rejects science, expertise and government itself. The Republicans like to tell us that government doesn’t work and then they wreck government in order to prove it.

It is time for all Democrats to pledge to vote blue no matter who this November. We don’t have the luxury of re-litigating 2016 and settling old scores. The Democratic Party is the only check and balance on a radicalized GOP and Joe Biden is the only candidate who can defeat Donald Trump. United we are strong! United we will win!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.