Trump Reinvents Pandemic Response Wheel After Scrapping Team Obama Left Him
WASHINGTON Six years after ridiculing predecessor Barack Obamas handling of a major health crisis and two years after dismantling the pandemic response team Obama left behind, President Donald Trump is now reinventing the infectious disease wheel.
Because of all Ive done, the risk to the American people remains very low, he said in a Wednesday evening White House news conference about the coronavirus crisis he has spent weeks downplaying. Weve had tremendous success beyond what people would have thought.
He also put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the governments coronavirus response, while denying Pence would serve as czar a title he had mocked when Obama had used in his response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
Mike is not a czar. Hes vice president, Trump said.
In 2014, Trump relentlessly attacked Obamas handling of the Ebola epidemic in Africa, savaging him in nearly 100 Twitter posts over a three-month period.
The United States must immediately institute strong travel restrictions or Ebola will be all over the United States-a plague like no other! Trump wrote on Sept. 30, 2014.
Obama just appointed an Ebola Czar with zero experience in the medical area and zero experience in infectious disease control. A TOTAL JOKE! he wrote two weeks later.
Trump, however, eliminated the pandemic response team, including the top-level NSC member, just as he has reversed Obama policies throughout the government.
Senior White House Correspondent, HuffPost
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Trump did attempt to cut the CDCs funding, but Congress prevented it from happening.
While officials in charge of the U.S. response to pandemics did leave in 2018, its unclear if they were fired.
The U.S. was not on a list of countries receiving COVID-19 tests from the WHO. But the U.S. doesnt usually rely on the agency for diagnostic tests, and the testing delay was due mainly to an error with the CDCs protocol.
While Trump has called the Democratic response to the coronavirus a hoax, he has not used the term to describe the virus itself.
Democrats have criticized President Donald Trumps response to the COVID-19 pandemic as disorganized and short-sighted. On Instagram, the critics include some celebrities.
On March 15, actor and comedian D.L. Hughley posted a screenshot of a tweet that makes several claims about the Trump administrations actions against coronavirus.
“Dear President Trump,” reads the tweet, which was published March 13 by an account called Translate Trump. “YOU cut funding to the CDC YOU fired the Pandemic Response Team YOU refused WHO tests YOU wasted 2 weeks calling this outbreak a Democrat hoax.”
“This is a what a failed public response to a pandemic looks like.”
This post was flagged as part of Facebooks efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. It had more than 42,000 likes as of March 17.
This is inaccurate.
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Im a business person, I dont like having thousands of people around when you dont need them, he added.
The US president has come under fire in recent days for his decision to disband the National Security Council directorate at the White House responsible for planning the USs preparedness for future pandemics.
The unit had been established by the previous White House administration in 2014 after the outbreak of Ebola.
A former director of the unit, Dr Beth Cameron, used an op-ed in The Washington Post to say that it is clear that eliminating the office has contributed to the federal governments sluggish domestic response”.
In a press conference on Friday, Mr Trump denied knowing anything about the cuts in 2018 when questioned by Yamiche Alcindor, a reporter for PBS.
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Conflicting Opinions On What Happened To The Team
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Beth Cameron, former Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense in the NSC, wrote, When President Trump took office in 2017, the White Houses National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense survived the transition intact.
Its mission was the same as when I was asked to lead the office, established after the Ebola epidemic of 2014: to do everything possible within the vast powers and resources of the U.S. government to prepare for the next disease outbreak and prevent it from becoming an epidemic or pandemic. One year later, I was mystified when the White House dissolved the office, leaving the country less prepared for pandemics like covid-19 .
On March 14, 2020, John Bolton described the changes made to the team as streamlining. He tweeted: Claims that streamlining NSC structures impaired our nation’s bio defense are false. Global health remained a top NSC priority, and its expert team was critical to effectively handling the 2018-19 Africa Ebola crisis. The angry Left just can’t stop attacking, even in a crisis.
On March 19, 2020, former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called the changes elimination. He tweeted: The Obama-Biden Administration set up the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense to prepare for future pandemics like COVID-19. Donald Trump eliminated it and now we’re paying the price.
Former Pandemic Team Leader Lays Out The Damage Trump Did By Kneecapping Our Response Capability
Today, during Donald Trumps coronavirus press conference/Walmart plug, PBS Yamiche Alcindor asked the pr*sident about his administrations decision to disband the National Security Councils office on pandemics.
My Q: You said you dont take responsibility for slow response to coronavirus but your administration disbanded the https://t.co/qQH9plV9uJ Yamiche Alcindor 1584131741.0
Thats a nasty question. And Alcindor is presumably another one of those nasty women.
But whats really nasty is expectorating lung tissue onto the last pallet of Costco toilet paper in the Pacific Northwest in order to claim it for your personal fiefdom simply because someone decided to save a few pennies by making government as useless as possible.
And, finally, Donald Trump is being called out for this supremely boneheaded move.
Enter Beth Cameron, the former senior director for global health security and biodefense on the White House National Security Council. When she left her position in 2017, her team was still intact, but the office was dissolved a year later in a move that mystified her.
So was this just another redundant bureaucracy that we could afford to 86? Apparently not. In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Cameron clearly detailed what we lost by making government small enough to drown in a petri dish:
And heres what her former team would have worked on, had they been allowed to keep their jobs:
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Did Donald Trump Fire Pandemic Officials Defund Cdc
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- Fired may be a little strong, but in 2018, top national security officials handling pandemics left abruptly and were not replaced by the Trump administration.
- As for funding, theres no question that the Trump administration sought to cut key CDC budget categories. But thanks to Congress, that funding was restored and even increased in bills that Trump ultimately signed.
During a CNN town hall before the South Carolina primary, Mike Bloomberg a former New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate was asked whether he had confidence in President Donald Trump to handle a potential coronavirus pandemic, officially known as the COVID-19 virus.
After jokingly saying, “I feel so much better,” Bloomberg told the audience, “No. 1, he fired the pandemic team two years ago. No. 2, he’s been defunding the Centers for Disease Control. So, we don’t have the experts in place that we need. I hope he’s right that the virus doesn’t come here, that nobody gets sick. That would be a wonderful outcome. But the bottom line is, we are not ready for this kind of thing.”
Bloomberg had a point that the Trump administration ousted some of its officials dealing with global pandemics, but “defunding” the CDC is more complicated than he let on.
Instead, Trump has looked within his administration to fill roles for the coronavirus response.
Pandemic Response Unit Was Formed Under Obama
In 2016, President Barack Obama expanded the National Security Council to include the Directorate of Global Health Security and Biodefense.
The unit, which focused in large part on pandemic preparedness, was formed in response to criticism of how his administration handled the Ebola outbreak in 2014-15, according to USA TODAY.
In May 2018, former national security adviser John Bolton restructured Trump’s National Security Council and disbanded the global health unit. Its former head, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, resigned from the administration and was not replaced.
Tim Morrison, a former senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense on the NSC, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post that he “inherited a strong and skilled staff in the counterproliferation and biodefense directorate” when he joined in July 2018.
“This team of national experts together drafted the National Biodefense Strategy of 2018 and an accompanying national security presidential memorandum to implement it an executive order to modernize influenza vaccines and coordinated the United States response to the Ebola epidemic in Congo, which was ultimately defeated in 2020,” he wrote.
He also said that the reorganization of the NSC was necessary after the “bloat that occurred” under Obama, when the staff quadrupled to nearly 400 a figure that even members of the Obama administration agreed was too large.
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Trump Has Taken Some Steps As The Pandemic Has Worsened
Trump initially focused his response to coronavirus on travel restrictions, first against China and most recently against Europe. While this likely bought the US a little time with China, the Trump administration didnt use that time properly.
And in the case of Europe, the restrictions will likely do little to nothing. Theres one simple reason for that, Kates told me: The virus is already here. Since the coronavirus is already spreading within communities, the concern is no longer the virus coming in from outside the US.
Even conservatives have been critical of Trumps response. The National Review editorial board wrote earlier this month:
resisted making the response to the epidemic a priority for as long as he could refusing briefings, downplaying the problem, and wasting precious time. He has failed to properly empower his subordinates and refused to trust the information they provided him often offering up unsubstantiated claims and figures from cable television instead. He has spoken about the crisis in crude political and personal terms. He has stood in the way of public understanding of the plausible course of the epidemic, trafficking instead in dismissive clichés. He has denied his administrations missteps, making it more difficult to address them.
The US was not prepared, Kates said. A good preparedness plan would have helped address this and had things in place to allow for that increased need to be met.
National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases
NIH is the HHS agency leading the research response to COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus that causes the disease, SARS-CoV-2. Within NIH, NIAID is responsible for conducting and supporting research on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
NIAID responds rapidly to threats of emerging infectious diseases, by accelerating fundamental basic research efforts, engaging a domestic and international basic and clinical research infrastructure that can be quickly mobilized, and leveraging collaborative and highly productive partnerships with industry. NIAID also provides preclinical research resources to scientists in academia and private industry throughout the world to advance translational research on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. These research resources help bridge gaps in the product development pipeline, thereby lowering the scientific, technical, and financial risks incurred by product developers and incentivizing companies to partner with us in developing safe and effective countermeasures including vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
Developing Vaccines to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection
The rigorous clinical testing required to establish vaccine safety and efficacy means that it might take some time for a licensed SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to be available to the general public. The COVID-19 response currently is focused on the proven public health practices of containment and mitigation.
Identifying Therapeutics to Treat COVID-19
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