1. Early COVID
First things first: This report is not what America needs. The report is overly partisan and at times reads like a combination of score-settling against the Trump administration and justification of the Biden administration.
What we need is a comprehensive, non-partisan excavation of the American government’s response to COVID. Something along the lines of the 9/11 Commission. Because what we saw in 2020 and 2021 amounts to the greatest failure of the federal government in our lifetimes. The people responsible for this failure must be held accountable, on the record. And we must not be repeat this failure in the future.
All of that said, the factual material in this short report is . . . I don’t even know the right word for it.
Here are some highlights, in timeline form.
February 25, 2020: No Americans have died of COVID yet.
[T]he Trump White House blocked CDC’s requests to conduct public briefings for more than three months following a February 25, 2020, CDC briefing in which then-CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director Nancy Messonnier accurately warned the public about the risks posed by the coronavirus. Dr. Messonnier confirmed that this briefing “angered” then-President Trump.
February 29, 2020: The first American dies of COVID.
Total U.S. dead: 1
On February 29, advisers to the president send a memo warning about what is about to happen. From the report:
[A] ‘“first wave” of infections in the United States was imminent and that the federal government needed to “be honest about the situation and show it is undertaking major decisive actions” to combat the coronavirus. A memo to then-President Trump dated one day later warned that the country was facing “a very serious public health emergency” and recommended “Industrial Mobilization of Supply Chains,” while emphasizing that the Administration’s “movement is NOT fast enough.”
In response, the president and his surrogates attempted to publicly deny that there was any problem at all. For instance, here is Trump on March 10: “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” Read more…