Team Trump keeps botching the coronavirus response—and it could cost them the election. Here’s how.

02/23/2020 5:57 pm ET Dara Brewton

Screenshot / YouTube

Competency has never been synonymous with the Trump administration.

But the rapid spread of coronavirus outside of China just upped the stakes, and the White House keeps botching the response. Cases have started multiplying all over the world, and the United States is woefully unprepared.

Experts are even saying that Trump and his administration have “sabotaged” the country’s ability to respond.

If the virus becomes a global pandemic that threatens the United States—by endangering public health, the economy, or both—then Trump’s policies, his downplaying of the severity of the virus, and the way he has sabotaged our response will be key reasons he fails to secure his reelection in November.

1. Ignoring the CDC’s advice

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Top officials in the Trump administration disregarded the recommendations made by the CDC when they flew Americans home from the quarantined cruise ship.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship contained 328 American passengers, some of who had tested positive for coronavirus. The administration agreed to fly the passengers back home, even though the CDC advised against it.

The Washington Post reports that the catalyst for the decision was the prodding of Representative Phil Roe (R-TN) who had friends aboard the ship.

2. Sticking his head in the sand

GOP Ostrich

Source: Flickr/Storm Williams

Trump has been ignoring the crisis from the beginning and acting like coronavirus is nothing to be concerned about.

When asked for his thoughts while attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January, Trump responded:

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

3. Firing the response team!

Virus Pandemic CDC

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It is hard to believe that things are “totally under control” when the country does not have a pandemic response team—because Trump fired them.

In another one of his efforts to erase Obama’s legacy, Trump got rid of the entire global health security unit within the NSC. Obama created a multiagency response team to deal with the Ebola crisis overseas.

The goal was to ensure that the United States was properly prepared to help on a global level as well as ensure the United States was prepared to handle any problems at home.

Trump fired the entire team in 2018 and never replaced anyone.

4. Underfunding the CDC

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In light of a global pandemic, the fact that Trump wants to cut the budget for the CDC by 16% becomes preposterous.

The lack of funding has many worried about the country’s ability to respond to this “grave threat.

But it isn’t just the CDC that is losing out in Trump’s proposed budget, the global health fund will also be cut from $571 million to $532 million.

5. Spreading false information

Trump open-mouthed

Source: Flickr/Evan Guest

The President has repeatedly made the unsubstantiated claim that coronavirus will dry up by April because spring weather will kill it.

Experts disagree.

“We know we absolutely nothing about this particular virus,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. He called Trump’s statements “reckless.”

6. Ignoring warnings

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The administration has received warnings that the United States is unprepared from infectious disease experts. Those warnings have gone completely unheeded.

A former Ebola response coordinator, Ron Klain has warned the Trump administration that the U.S. is not properly prepared to handle a pandemic. Bill Gates also tried to give them his two cents on the matter.

The White House’s response has been negligible. In fact, the Trump administration has cut the global health section of the CDC down so drastically staff has been let go, and the global presence of the agency has dropped from 49 countries to just 10.

7. Thinking it will bring jobs

Wilbur Ross Commerce

Flickr / Gage Skidmore

The economic cost of a global epidemic can be devastating. Trump’s team may be hyped up thinking coronavirus will bring jobs back to America, but experts disagree with the notion.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made the claim that coronavirus “will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North American.” His main line of thinking was that Chinese manufacturing will be slowed due to the outbreak there which will lead to hypothetical opportunities in America.

He actually went on Fox and made that claim.

8. Making the economy vulnerable

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The line of thinking expressed by Secretary Ross is not shared by financial experts.

The New York Times pointed out the fallacy:

“If the virus seriously disrupts Chinese production, its impact on the U.S. economy will be like an extreme version of Trump’s trade war, except without any compensation in the form of tariff revenue.”

The United States is already in a precarious situation with record farm bankruptcies, slowing job growth, and slowdowns in other job sectors. If the virus was to become an epidemic in the United States, the economic strain would likely be too much for the country to bear.

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