Delusion and Paralysis by Trump Has Put a Bullet in America’s Head

MSNBC:  When it comes to responding to the coronavirus outbreak, one of Donald Trump’s most important missteps came before anyone had even heard of COVID-19. As we discussed on Monday, the president’s first error came back in 2018.

It was two years ago when Trump ordered the shutdown of the White House National Security Council’s entire global health security unit. NBC News had a good report on this recently, noting that the president’s decision “to downsize the White House national security staff — and eliminate jobs addressing global pandemics — is likely to hamper the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus.”

But now that the public health response is underway, is the president’s 2018 decision having a practical effect? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was unexpectedly candid on this point today.

In fact, Dr. Fauci took some of his most direct swipes at the White House since the outbreak began. When [Democratic Rep. Gerald Connolly] asked him about the 2018 eradication of the global health unit on the White House’s National Security Council, he answered, “It would be nice if the office was still there.”

The NIH leader added, “We worked very well with that office.”

Remember, Trump has struggled to explain why, exactly, he disbanded the global health security unit. As we talked about the other day, the president originally argued, “I’m a businessperson. I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them. When we need them, we can get them back very quickly.”

As it turns out, the administration cannot actually reassemble such a team “very quickly,” though Trump, still unfamiliar with how much of the executive branch works, may not have known that.

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