The Admin’s Failure to Deliver on Its Promises in March Caused Pandemonium
WASHINGTON, D.C. – One hundred days ago today, President Trump floated the prospect of allowing the death of up to 2.2 million Americans. During a Coronavirus Task Force meeting on March 14, the President asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, “Why don’t we just let this wash over the country?” According to models at the time, not taking action to limit the spread of COVID-19 would have meant millions would have died in the U.S., before even taking into account deaths from an overwhelmed health care system.
Meanwhile, states were trying to protect their people — but struggled as they received little to no help from the Trump administration in obtaining much-needed testing kits, ventilators, and masks. In a nationwide public records investigation, the “50 States Open Records Project,” Accountable.US found state governments struggling to locate the personal protective equipment they needed to prepare for the pandemic and support essential workers. As the virus spread by the hundreds in Georgia and officials in Oregon pleaded for testing materials that the federal government had promised, state officials were met with confusion, delays, and inadequate answers.
“For one hundred days, President Trump and his administration have abdicated their responsibility to lead an effective federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been needlessly infected, some have died, and millions more have been unable to access testing or personal protective equipment. Everywhere you look, Americans are living with the consequences of Trump’s disastrous decisions,” said Jenna Kruse, spokesperson for Accountable.US. “In the most critical days in March, the Trump administration failed to deliver on its promises and instead bungled the delivery of necessary medical supplies that left the American people to fend for themselves and states fighting with each other over precious resources. It did not have to be this way.”
- According to records, a top HHS official in late March acknowledged issues fulfilling public health laboratories’ orders for the CDC’s COVID-19 testing kit, even as Trump claimed there were no problems with testing.
- In mid-April, the Oregon Health Authority received an email from HHS’ Preparedness and Response Office regarding COVID-19 testing supplies, saying that they were “stealing from Peter to pay Paul…. and this is not sustainable.”
- The Trump administration gave Georgia the runaround on necessary medical equipment, failing to deliver more than 20 of the state’s requested 250 ventilators — while also fulfilling multiple requests for a total of 5,000 ventilators to Florida.
- A pattern of administrative incompetence at the federal level hindered the government from efficiently and successfully delivering supplies to Georgia which left state officials confused and angry.
- Idaho lost out on 2.5 million N95 masks after South Africa (allegedly) refused to let a shipment bound for the state out of the country after Trump said that the U.S. would stop sending PPE to its allies abroad. The state was working with a non-governmental contact to obtain the masks, who first told the state the shipment got held up by the FDA, and then said South Africa would not let the supplies out of the country. This shows that Trump’s belligerent conduct is negatively impacting our global relationships, and will likely continue to do so to the detriment of public health and safety in the U.S.
100 DAYS AGO SUNDAY: March 14, 2020
After repeatedly raising the question in Oval Office meetings, Trump asked Dr. Fauci during a Coronavirus Task Force meeting in the Situation Room, “Why don’t we just let this wash over the country?” Dr. Fauci responded, “Mr. President, many people would die.”