There have been a number of failures from the Trump administration throughout this coronavirus crisis, but none greater than their inability to supply an adequate number of testing kits.
As the Guardian noted, “From Congress to state capitals across the country, politicians of both main parties have shown rare bipartisan agreement that the pace of federal testing is woefully inadequate.”
Testing, the report added, “could contain the outbreak and mitigate its most devastating impacts.”
It turns out the reason for the federal government’s failure to supply adequate testing kits is quite simple: Donald Trump knew more testing would mean more reported coronavirus cases, and he felt that would hurt his reelection campaign.
The revelation came from Politico reporter Dan Diamond, who said in an interview with NPR that “infighting at the Department of Health and Human Services and the need to flatter Trump impeded the response to the coronavirus.”
“Some of the decisions behind the scenes haven’t always reflected the best judgment of career professionals,” Diamond said. “In the case of Alex Azar (the Secretary of Health and Human Services), he did go to the president in January. He did push past resistance from the president’s political aides to warn the president the new coronavirus could be a major problem.”
The most damning revelation from Diamond’s interview:
But at the same time, Secretary Azar has not always given the president the worst-case scenario of what could happen. My understanding is he [President Trump] did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear – the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.
Trump is directly responsible for this crisis
Throughout American history, presidents have often received too much blame when things go wrong and too much credit when they go right.
But in the case of this global health emergency, Donald Trump is directly responsible for standing in the way of – or at least stalling – aggressive testing that could have curbed this outbreak and saved lives.
Now, the number of cases in the U.S. is growing exponentially, following the same path of the outbreak in Italy where more than 1,000 people have already died.
If and when the crisis in the U.S. reaches that level, Donald Trump will be directly responsible for it.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.