It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump. I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.
— Rush Limbaugh, claiming that the coronavirus is fake news and accusing the media of exaggerating its severity.
Yes, this is the same Rush Limbaugh who was just awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Donald Trump. I’m also amused by his bragging that he is “dead right”.
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away.
— Donald Trump, expressing confidence that the epidemic will not seriously harm the global economy.
Yes, this is the same Donald Trump who slashed funding for the Centers for Disease Control, National Institute of Health, and the Agency for International Development, while dismantling the entire global health team in charge of handling pandemics.
The Trump administration recently overruled the CDC’s advice and put 14 Americans infected with the coronavirus on a plane back to the U.S. with others who were not infected. Trump was reportedly shocked and upset by the move. But if he didn’t know about it that is strong evidence of how ill-equipped the administration is to handle an outbreak. And if he did know about it, he simply lied, and thinks he can use PR and propaganda to make the problem go away, at the cost of American lives.
It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country any more but a question of when this will happen.
We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.
— Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Even Republicans are concerned that Trump is just sticking his fingers in his ears and pretending that this will go away. The Senate held a hearing Tuesday morning to address the outbreak, and it did not go well for the administration.
Senator Joe Kennedy (R-LA) castigated the Acting Homeland Security Director Chad Wolf for being unable to answer basic questions about the potential of an outbreak in the U.S., saying “You’re the secretary. I think you oughta know that answer.”
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) told Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar that the Trump administration’s coronavirus $2.5 billion emergency funding request “is lowballing it, possibly, and you can’t afford to do that.” He added, “If you lowball something like this, you’ll pay for it later.”