Mark Meadows and the Potemkin Shut-Downs: Welcome to the April’s Fool White House

I know the White House has been running on Trump’s fumes for so long we’ve forgotten that Chiefs of Staff can exercise real power.

I’d like to suggest two things we’ve seen in the last week may reflect the hand of Mark Meadows.

The first is Monday’s campaign video played in the middle of Trump’s briefing, something Trump said Dan Scavino made inside the White House — a violation of the Hatch Act.

In a mash up of clips and audio that amounted to campaign ad, Trump lashed out at critics and returned to his favorite past time of going after reporters. The video began with a white screen saying “the media minimized the risk from the start.” At one point, it showed news clips of different governors giving kind remarks about the president’s response to the pandemic.


When a reporter pressed him about the video resembling a campaign ad, Trump said it was done in the office. “We’re getting fake news and I’d like to have it corrected,” he declared.

The president also claimed that White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino created the video, prompting reporters to question the fact that he had government employees put together what was essentially a campaign advertisement.

There’s nothing that suggests Meadows determined the content of it, but several of the decisions made in the almost two weeks since Meadows has been in place involve merging the White House and the campaign — most notably, the replacement of Stephanie Grisham with his campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

But I also suspect Meadows is behind a far more important strategy on shut-downs, in which Trump allies carry out a Potemkin shut-down, only to reopen quickly, probably in the context of graft as payoff. For this one, there’s explicit evidence in the Bloomberg coverage of his first week: Meadows convinced a number of hold-outs to enact stay-at-home orders.

Meadows has also gotten involved in the administration’s coronavirus response, calling Republican governors who have held out against issuing stay-at-home orders in their states to ask them to implement the policies immediately, according to two people familiar with the calls. The president has said such decisions are up to state leaders and has not publicly criticized those who decline, who are all Republicans.


Meadows has also tried to persuade a group of holdout Republican governors that they should issue shelter-in-place orders to help curb the coronavirus outbreak. It isn’t clear if the new chief of staff has Trump’s blessing for the calls. The president has publicly said it is up to governors and local leaders to decide whether stay-at-home orders are appropriate and has declined to criticize the holdouts, all of whom are his political allies.

The governor of one of the holdout states, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, tweeted Wednesday that she’d spoken with Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is a top medical adviser to the president. “Thankfully, he AGREES that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t the answer in our state,” Noem wrote.

The tweet, according to one person familiar with the matter, was read by some as a signal to Meadows.

The week that Meadows started, a bunch of Trump flunkies issued stay-at-home orders: Arizona’s Doug Ducey (which was issued before Meadows officially started on April 1 and which extends through April 30), Florida’s Ron DeSantis (issued on April 1 and effective through April 30), Georgia’s Brian Kemp (which he has already extended through April 30), Mississippi’s Tate Reeves (imposed April 1, effective April 3, effective through April 20), Missouri’s Mike Parsons (imposed April 3, effective April 6, effective through April 24), South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster (imposed April 6, effective April 7, effective until rescinded). On March 31, Texas’ Governor Gregg Abbott issued an order that has been taken as a stay at home order which stops short of that; it remains in effect through April 30.

At least some of these governors, given the timing and the Bloomberg report, were cajoled by incoming Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to do so.

Last Thursday, days after his stay-at-home order, Ron DeSantis started talking about reopening schools in May (to be clear: this shut-down is having the greatest impact on children, especially those who don’t have WiFi at home and rely on schools for other services, like hot lunches). Yesterday, Gregg Abbott told Hannity most states don’t need to wait until May 1 to reopen (even though his own order goes through May 1). And of course, Mississippi and Missouri’s shutdowns don’t even last that long (indeed, they were never long enough to do any good).

So it seems likely that the same governors whom Meadows convinced to impose stay-at-home orders will shortly rescind them, giving Trump the story that he wants, that some of the nation’s biggest states have come through the COVID crisis. In Texas and Florida, in particular, a governor’s recision of a stay-at-home order might supersede those in badly affected cities (and both states are artificially limiting the number of official positive cases, in Texas by not testing likely cases in Houston, and in Florida by playing games with snowbirds.

I also suspect that one reason Mitch McConnell is refusing to negotiate with Nancy Pelosi over the other things she’d like to include in the next COVID relief package — which would include, among other things, $150 billion for state and local governments. McConnell wants to deal with such aid in a fourth aid bill and simply expand the funds available for the Paycheck Protection Program relief for small businesses, which is predictably already running out of money. The obvious reason to do that would be to withhold something that Trump can use as leverage over states and cities to do what he wants, rather than to give funds to them now without strings attached.

Trump believes, the Constitution notwithstanding, that he has either the authority or power to make states reopen. And given that Meadows was involved in getting a handful of states to impose what will amount to shut-downs that don’t appear to be good faith efforts to achieve the goal of shut-downs (though Kemp may have realized he has a bigger problem on his hands than he originally claimed), my suspicion is that those shut-downs were part of a plan to achieve some kind of leverage over reopening the economy.

69 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Meadows is far from the brightest bulb in the pack, but at times, he can be an effective, deeply cynical PR guy. This would be up his alley. Trump, as nuanced as a pollaxe, might not appreciate the subtlety, but if it gets him what he wants, he’ll take it. Shame about the public health in those deep Red states, though. I wonder if that gubernatorial cynicism will yield the same electoral result it did in Wisconsin.

  2. BobCon says:

    I think it’s possible that the plan may be to rescind stay at home orders, but I would not be surprised if events outstrip the plan.

    I think part of the plan was to use federal resources to boost red states and punish blue states. But I think the incompetence of Kushner and the predicted growth of cases in Trumpist red states may well mean that we see red state problems overwhelming the limited resources that the GOP can throw their way.

    Meaning that the deep red state governors may well end up extending and expanding restrictions, or else reestablishing them after a short hiatus.

    I don’t think this will play out in a way which does anyone any good, including people in well-managed states who will need to shoulder extra burdens to help out victims in states trashed by the Trumpists.

    • harpie says:

      federal resources to boost red states and punish blue states

      This sure sounds like a threat to “Democrat Governors”:
      10:57 AM · Apr 14, 2020

      Tell the Democrat Governors that “Mutiny On The Bounty” was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Sounds like an invitation to me. But it is a threat – be nice to His Greatness or he will deny you sustenance.

        Trump is only comfortable in chaos, when, he thinks, it’s every man for himself, devil take the hindmost, and professionalism and expertise are no longer of value. (He has neither, so he thinks chaos puts him on a level playing field.)

        The real world is likely to surprise him. Chef Jose Andres, quite a few pols, neighbors everywhere, and much of the medical community are proving him wrong.

    • harpie says:

      Deep red States…like DeSantis’ FLORIDA?
      10:42 PM · Apr 13, 2020

      Florida Governor Ron DeSantis deems pro wrestling ‘essential business’ amid statewide stay-at-home order [Miami Herald]

      [Via John Weaver]:
      11:20 PM · Apr 13, 2020

      Let’s sharpen this a bit.

      1] Linda McMahon made her fortune as a WWE executive.
      2] DeSantis just saved WWE from breaching their Fox TV contract and losing $205 million per year.
      3] McMahon currently runs Trump’s SuperPAC.

      Oh, hell, the Miami Herald missed the other chunk of the story!

      A WWE on-air employee tested positive sometime after March 26th. Not a wrestler. So they had a positive test, and they still got the OK to go back to live shows.

      • BobCon says:

        This article about South Dakota is a good illustration.

        Governor Noem is fighting serious efforts, despite an estimate that 70% of South Dakotans could be infected. The state AMA and 160 county and city leaders have petitioned Noem for statewide emergency action, which she has rejected.

        I’m not sure how long she can keep doing this. She can’t force people to support businesses, the economy will shrink regardless, and more people will get sick and die.

        • joejim says:

          This is a concerted effort.
          “We have to get our sports back. I’m tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old,” Trump WH press conference on 4/14, or the next day.

      • e.a.f. says:

        its hard to believe pro wrestling would be considered an essential service. explains what is wrong with some politicians. they’re too stupid to dance for the devil.

        You would think the people who work in the industry themselves would simply not go to work. Who wants to die from some disease you don’t have to acquire if you stay home.

        I think it reasonable to conclude the owners of these wrestling corporations have little regard for their workers. Don’t wrestlers like other sports have a union?

        I suspect some politicians may believe by seeing wrestlers back ‘at it” people may be convinced they too can go back to work and be just like the wrestler. omg things are not going well in some American states. its a tragedy people will die for no reason beyond some politicians and ceo’s need for power and money.

  3. vicks says:

    Did Trump ever actually say it was the constitution that gave him ultimate power?
    I’m not sure if it’s related, but closing and then reopening a state could be meeting some threshold on a technicality.
    Money is always the logical explanation but I think it is important to consider rewriting history may be even more important to the many that are already involved in this historical f up.

    • P J Evans says:

      He’s claimed that Article II gives him all kinds of powers. (It doesn’t, but he can’t read that well. I think he relies on Miller, Mnuchin, and Hannity.)

    • Peterr says:

      Yes, he did say that, but he declined to say what part of the constitution.

      I’m sure he was given some kind of briefing on the law here, and it was likely filled with caveats and conditions. But somewhere in that briefing, in the midst of all those caveats, the person said “.the president has the ultimate authority” and that’s all that Trump can remember.

      • MB says:

        Probably it was Bill Barr whispering a dumbed-down version of his unitary executive philosophy in Trump’s ear. After all, he did such a splendid job with the Mueller report. And now Barr is anxious to report what their “findings” with the Durham investigation are, but it’s a little early for that, what with coronavirus and all that hogging the news spaces.

  4. harpie says:

    Trump Administration now files a “statement of interest” for the Baptist Temple Church in Greenville, Mississippi:

    Christians Were Fined $500 For Attending A “Drive In” Church — The Trump Administration Is Supporting Them In Court
    Federal lawyers filed a statement of interest in federal court on Tuesday to support the parishioners.
    April 14, 2020, at 2:10 p.m. ET

    [link at artilce]

    The United States of America respectfully files this Statement of Interest pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 517, which authorizes the Attorney General “to attend to the interests of the United States in a suit pending in a court of the United States.” The United States also enforces 34 U.S.C. § 12601, which allows the United States to bring suit when law enforcement officers engage in a pattern or practice that deprives individuals of their federal constitutional or statutory rights. […]

    • madwand says:

      “The United States also enforces 34 U.S.C. § 12601, which allows the United States to bring suit when law enforcement officers engage in a pattern or practice that deprives individuals of their federal constitutional or statutory rights. […]”

      So where are these people when states are taking away the right to vote?

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This utility worker serenaded a 94-year old woman, sitting alone in a garden on her birthday, when no one else could come near her for fear of inadvertently giving her Covid-19.

    Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, and many of their well-heeled patrons would evict her in a heartbeat for not paying rent or utilities on time. They would evict her anyway if Trump thought she voted Democrat.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I hadn’t read your comment when I made mine below. I picked that up from a ddayen tweet. I’d read it quickly and assumed it was not limited to banks. Banks, though, are the primary creditor (credit cards, personal and auto loans, mortgages) for people who can afford them. This will siphon off much of the money into the banking system, which is already benefiting from other USG aid.

        A normal government would have done the opposite: prohibited banks from accessing those funds so that food, medicines, and rent could be paid. Limitlessly better for people, far better for the economy. The only positive thing is that it tells any doubters what Trump’s priorities are.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Banks would not be the only creditors who could seize those funds. Payday lenders could, too, as well as others.

  6. Peterr says:

    The Missouri stay-at-home order was more of a suggestion. It is filled with at least as many gaps as Florida’s order, but Parson is up for reelection and is getting hammered by his likely Democratic opponent, Auditor Nicole Galloway. She’s the only statewide officeholder the Dems have, and she has been making a dent in Parson’s lead in the campaign over his handling of all this.

    On the other side of the state line, Laura Kelly, the Democratic governor of Kansas, has been holding her own. Last Wednesday, she strengthened her earlier stay-at-home order to eliminate the exemption for religious groups to hold meetings with 10 or more people which immediately pissed off the GOP in the legislature. Earlier this year, Kelly and the GOP negotiated a process where the Legislature could overturn a governor’s emergency declaration within five days, and that’s what the GOP promptly set out to do. Kelly then filed suit, and persuaded the Kansas Supreme Court to take the matter up directly, and to do so on Saturday morning via a Zoom hearing, simultaneously broadcast via YouTube Live. The GOP side featured an old familiar face to the Emptywheel crowd: Brad Schlotzmann, he of the US Attorney firing scandal. He acquitted himself about as well as you would imagine. Several of the justices slapped him and his arguments down hard, very quickly, during oral arguments, and it was pretty clear by the time it was over how they were going to rule. That evening, they upheld Kelly’s order, mostly on procedural grounds. The GOP came up with a crazy workaround to give them a veto over the governor’s emergency orders, but set it up as a rule rather than as a law — and so when Kelly’s attorney pointed to the law, the justices said “Yep – she can do this.” Oh, and the GOP didn’t even follow the rule all that carefully, which was another problem.

    • rosalind says:

      Bradley!! wow, a blast from the Plame past. is the vid still up? may have to search it out to listen to that ol’ Schlotzy voice again.

      and thanks for the Missouri/Kansas update!

  7. greengiant says:

    Self directed isolation is bi-partisan. One issue, ( abortion or 2a) trump supporters will continue to just stay home if they can afford to. I heard a restaurant manager in Ohio say his business was off 50 percent two days before the governor shut them down.That day March 13th there were no deaths and only 413 cumulative positives in New York city. Thinking half the service industry is out of business until this is fixed back to March 13th levels.

    • P J Evans says:

      I had a dental appt on March 20 – the highways had a lot less traffic than usual, because the ports were all but shut down, so far fewer big trucks.

  8. Frank Probst says:

    Kristi Noem rocketed to number one on my Stupid Governor list when she announced a statewide trial of hydroxychloroquine for people who have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, starting with 2,000 people who aren’t even hospitalized. I’m hoping that “exposed” means that the RT-PCR test is positive, but the person is not yet showing symptoms, but this would still be insane. They’re also being careful about NOT saying that a “controlled” trial means that half of those 2,000 get a placebo.

    • joejim says:

      Kristi Noem went to three different colleges to gain credits towards her bachelors degree in political science, but only attained it after she was elected to the US congress. An on line university gave her credit for learning on the job when she went to Washington, and that got her through the finish line.
      About equally qualified to make public health decisions as the president.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The incessant marketing spiel resumes. Donald Trump is offering to help other countries manage their Covid-19 response. (Typhoid Mary offers to help the NYC public health commissioner by visiting every ward in the city.)

    Trump is blaming the WHO and will “withhold” American funding – because IT severely mismanaged handling Covid-19. He’s arguing for “accountability.” LOL. But he’s spending a lot of time on it. His pathology and dementia are becoming more severe, presumably because his fear level is off the charts. To coin a phrase – fuck him.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The contradictions are sky high. “I knew those who didn’t get ventilators would die. I KNEW!” “I instructed my team to move heaven and earth….” We have all we need and more!! Before that, he said governors were asking for unreasonable numbers of ventilators that they didn’t need and wouldn’t get from his responsible hands. (For one thing, HE didn’t have them and has done SFA to get them.)

    Trump claims we’ll have massive numbers of ventilators – by year end!! Eight months away won’t help this wave of infection. And Trump’s massive number – as much as 200,000, more likely half that – are a fraction of the number needed and leave nothing for stockpiling or shipping offshore to others who need them.

    The bullshit is repetitive, tired, desperate. Trump’s breathing is more labored, his energy level is even lower. He hands off to a flunky, but hovers near, should he need to retake the mike. Literally shuffles back to it now. Doesn’t raise his feet, extend his legs, or bend his hips. Not a well guy.

    MSNBC gives us realtime fact checking now, which is more helpful. Compares So. Korea’s very effective response – using the same WHO info that Trump complained about for being faulty. The US does provide significant funding to the WHO. If Trump follows through on his promise – a rare event – it will cause significant global harm, until other countries pick up Trump’s slack. If they do, hell will freeze over before they invite the US back to the table. That will be true on all fronts, not just regarding the WHO.

    Normally vapid Toddler Chuck makes a valid observation. If Trump had news about his new, improved Covid-19 Task Force, he would have led with that. Which means he’s got bupkus. WTF would want to join it, only to have Trump’s used socks stuffed down your throat every time you had something to say?

    He’s now bragging about the ultra-high stock market and his booming country. He’s lamenting and pining for the massive stock gains of not long ago. It’s amazing he is as physically able as he is, what with so little brain function.

    He will tell ALL of America’s governors when and how they WILL reopen their economies. On a date that will be very very close. Reminds me of Elmer Fudd talking about that pesky wabbit.

    • P J Evans says:

      i saw it pointed out elseweb that when he turns, it’s a whole-body turn, instead of turning at the waist, like most of us would do. I wonder if he has serious problems with his spine now. (With the weight he’s carrying around, I’d expect some.)

      • Tom says:

        One day last week Trump seemed to wince as he stepped away from the podium, though he also could have been grimacing at a reporter. When off to the side, he stands awkwardly with his torso bent forward and his arms hanging limply at his sides. He shifts and moves frequently as if he’s in pain and is vainly looking for a comfortable position to maintain. I wonder if it’s physical pain in his back, hips, or knees that accounts for the varying length of his briefings. Perhaps getting angry with reporters provides him with a distraction or a boost of some pain-relieving hormones. At the end, he walks away slowly and ponderously with his head and shoulders bent forward. Not exactly the happy warrior.

        • P J Evans says:

          The oversized lifts in his shoes can’t help, and his excess weight is surely damaging his knees.

        • e.a.f. says:

          It would be nice to think trump was in some sort of pain. He is causing enough of it in the U.S.A. and by his withdrawal from the WHO. Of course the WHO will solider on and the U.S.A. will become irrelevant in another international sphere. by the time trump is finished the U.S.A. will no longer be a player on the world stage. It will be relegated to the end of the line like Russia. Perhaps trump and putin can get a room together somewhere.

          With any luck the U.S.A. will elect a Democratic President and a few more Democrats in the Senate. They will of course have to spend a great deal of time and money rebuilding the country and their international reputations

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A reminder, as Dave Dayen points out over at, that Trump’s $1200 Treasury checks – will they really have his illegible Sharpie scrawl on every one – can be hijacked by creditors before they can be used to pay for food and rent. The cruelty of this cretin knows no bounds.

  11. Chetnolian says:

    BBC reporting USA is really stopping funding the of all times. Doeas anyone in the Administration even understand how hated around the World they will be? Or does Trump think of the World as like the Mainstream Media, nasty to him? This crisis has tested the USA’s system of government to destruction and I have to tell you it has indeed proved to be broken.

    I don’t know how the UK will pan out in the struggle against the virus, but it is estimated 90% are complying with our drastic lockdown and politics, though still functioning, is being kept polite in the national interest. And of course no one questions our universal free at the point of use NHS. The contrast could not be greater. How sad for the USA.

      • BobCon says:

        The Cheney/Bolton crowd is loving it too. They are still convinced to this day that the problem with the wars in Southeast Asia is that not enough people — Americans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians — died in them.

    • P J Evans says:

      Trmp thinks everyone should honor him, if female should love him, and if male should respect him. Everyone not doing those is an enemy to be humiliated and destroyed.

  12. orionATL says:

    one of president trump’s notable public speaking habits of late is to loudly accuse some other person or entity in words that precisely describe a failure or inappropriate action of his own. this indicates that our president has both a very clear understanding of how he has failed and a very strong need to jettison it; he then looks for a scapegoat onto whom he can unload his feelings about his mistakes and incompetencies.

    recently trump commented on speaker pelosi in ways that described with precision some his own personal charactetistics. today he chose the world health organization (WHO) as his scapegoat:

    “… 1h ago18:22 Fact check: WHO

    Trump has accused the WHO of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus crisis.

    The WHO has been criticized for a 14 January tweet, which Trump has referenced, that noted that a preliminary investigation by Chinese officials found no evidence of human-to-human transmission. However, by 30 January, the organization declared coronavirus a “public health emergency”, and went on to declare a pandemic on 11 March after numerous countries – including the US and UK – failed to follow its advice. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke of “alarming levels of inaction” from many countries.

    The WHO “has been drained of power and resources”, said Richard Horton, editor of the influential medical journal the Lancet. “Its coordinating authority and capacity are weak. Its ability to direct an international response to a life-threatening epidemic is non-existent.”

    The Trump administration and the president himself repeatedly played down the crisis – specifically downplaying the threat to the US, inaccurately compared it to the flu and told his supporters that growing worries about the coronavirus was a “hoax”…”.

    “severely mismanaging and covering up” the covid-19 crisis in the u.s. is precisely what president trump has done since january 2020. (and it is categorically not what the WHO has done.)nthis charactetistic of scapegoating has both personal psyvhological benefitvand poltical benefitvyo thebpredident?

    • orionATL says:

      correction of final lines (qb called for failing to get the play off):

      “(and it is categorically not what the WHO has done.)nthis charactetistic of scapegoating has both personal psyvhological benefitvand poltical benefitvyo thebpredident?”

      should read:

      “(and it is categorically not what the WHO has done.) this characteristic of scapegoating has both personal psychological benefit and wider political benefit to the president.”

  13. greengiant says:

    · Amateur hour at the White House. “Release clinical professions close to end of training: 4th year medical students, PA’s, Nursing
    Students, dental students to re-open preventive care, well child etc” Even Gottlieb must know this is not how it works. How much of the medical profession is out of work because of lack of PPE and the stopping of elective surgery. Gottlieb links a report from late March to April 4th of some 215 birthing women in NYC 29 were positive and only 4 were symptomatic. 3 developed symptoms before discharge and a 30th was tested positive. Who is going to get up close and personal with random people without excellent PPE?

  14. Mitch Neher says:

    The only way Trump will ever make “the most important decision of his life” is if Trump does not have to take any responsibility at all–let alone sole responsibility–for making “the most important decision of his life.”

    Somebody else has to make this decision for Trump. Trump cannot make this decision for himself. He does not know how.

    All of Trump’s bluster about absolute authority merely turns the abject confession of his own irresponsibility into yet another boast about his glorious leadership.

    Yet Trump knows not how to lead, either. Trump’s genuine cluelessness has become the only real thing about Trump.

    That and the fact that Mother Mary McLeod is no longer available to help her poor boy.

  15. harpie says:


    10:29 AM · Apr 15, 2020

    I’ve compiled a side-by-side comparison of the reaction to coronavirus by Trump and the World Health Organization.

    The timeline is utterly, comprehensively damning to Trump.

    What it shows about him is far worse than what it shows about WHO. New piece: [link]

    Trump’s ugly new blame-shifting scam spotlights his own failures
    April 15, 2020 at 10:23 a.m.

  16. harpie says:

    By Jan. 23, the WHO was already warning that coronavirus could “appear in any country,” and urged all countries to be “prepared for containment” and get ready to exercise “isolation” and “prevention” measures against its spread.
    At around the same time, on Jan. 22, Trump was asked point blank whether he worried about coronavirus’ spread, and he answered: “No, not at all,” insisting it was just “one person coming from China” and that “we have it totally under control.”

    ALSO on Jan. 22, 2020
    11:07 AM – 22 Jan 2020

    As predicted, the video of Trump’s South Lawn chopper talk calling for Ukraine and China to each start “a major investigation into the Bidens” was just played at his impeachment trial in the Senate.

    11:11 AM – 22 Jan 2020

    Add-on to @nycsouthpaw tweet … Reminder of this: “Michael Pillsbury, an informal White House adviser on China, told the Financial Times that he secured information about the business activities of Hunter Biden during a visit to Beijing.” [link]
    2. “I got quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese,” Mr. Pillsbury told the Financial Times. Pillsbury visit to China: week of Sept 30-Oct 3 Trump statement on getting dirt from China on Biden: Oct. 3

    • harpie says:

      Sargent [Plum Line]:

      […] Thus, Trump’s constant citation of his [China] travel restrictions actually points to a major failure: The decision persuaded him he had shut out coronavirus successfully, helping spawn the lax posture that produced all that lost time, the horrifying consequences of which are unfolding right now.

      Indeed, that decision to this day still continues to delude him into believing he managed this disaster effectively. That’s why he keeps citing it as representative of his glorious, decisive leadership — and contrasting it favorably with the WHO’s response. […]

      That is one of the reasons WHY the WHO recommended against travel bans in November 2014 [Ebola]:
      7 November 2014

      […] WHO does not recommend general bans on travel or trade, or general quarantine of travellers arriving from Ebola-affected countries, as measures to contain the outbreak.
      Such measures can create a false impression of control […]

  17. harpie says:

    Retweeted by Marcy:
    It’s not the WHO’s fault that Trump didn’t prepare for the coronavirus
    The White House is blaming the organization. Don’t fall for it.
    Thomas J. Bollyky and Jeremy Konyndyk
    April 14, 2020 at 9:29 a.m.

    There are two dates even before the Plumb Line’s timeline, above:

    […] On Jan. 9, the WHO reported that the mysterious pneumonia illness in China was a novel coronavirus, the same type of pathogen that had caused the SARS epidemic in 29 countries in 2002 and 2003. The next day, [Jan. 10] the WHO issued a comprehensive package of technical guidance with advice to all countries for how to detect, test and manage potential cases. […]

    • harpie says:

      When Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was warning in late February that this coronavirus “absolutely” had pandemic potential, Trump was still saying that U.S. reported cases would soon go from 15 “down to close to zero.”

      The problem is not that, as the president now says, the WHO “called it wrong.” Rather, the organization called it pretty well. He simply didn’t listen. […]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One reason Trump is so uncharacteristically fluent when he gets to this topic in his campaign rallies from the White House is that he’s recounting his own failures. He does it in the manner most pleasing to him – he blames other people for them (here, the WHO). It allows him to persuasively but falsely express righteous indignation.

  18. harpie says:

    Can TRUMP unilaterally stop funding WHO?
    According to House Appropriations Committee spokesperson, the answer is NO:

    Trump says he is halting funding for the World Health Organization
    President Donald Trump accused the WHO of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus crisis, specifically the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China.
    April 14, 2020, 6:38 PM EDT / Updated April 14, 2020, 9:42 PM

    Evan Hollander, spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee, called Trump’s announced move “a desperate attempt to deflect blame,” and said “The President does not have the unilateral authority to withhold the United States’ contribution to the World Health Organization.”

    Trump’s recent budget request called for cutting WHO budget. [Also, Redfield’s not on board with the WHO bashing.]:

    CDC director: WHO remains ‘a great partner for us’ despite Trump’s funding cuts
    Robert Redfield declined to denounce the international agency and said the move to freeze its funding fell outside his official purview.
    04/15/2020 09:41 AM

    […] Among the WHO’s 194 member states, the U.S. remains the greatest contributor to the agency’s $4.8 billion budget, pledging more than $400 million per year. Trump’s funding halt comes after his fiscal year 2021 budget request proposed cutting in half the amount Congress allocated the agency in 2020 — from roughly $122 million to less than $58 million.

    According to the WHO, the United States owed more than $99 million to the agency as of March 31. That amount covers “assessed contributions,” which are essentially the mandatory dues countries agree to pay to fund its operations. Most of the U.S. contributions to the WHO are so-called voluntary dollars, and those funds are typically are funneled through grants.

    • harpie says:

      Chamber of Commerce ALSO NOT on board:
      11:21 AM · Apr 15, 2020

      NEW: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says in a statement that “cutting the WHO’s funding during the COVID-19 pandemic is not in U.S. interests given the organization’s critical role assisting other countries — particularly in the developing world — in their response.”

    • harpie says:

      One more thing [from Sen. Chris Murphy] [emphasis ADDED]:
      11:51 AM · Apr 15, 2020

      The WHO had produced 1.4 million tests by the end of February.


      BECAUSE Trump decided to produce his own test, then botched the development and roll out.

      It wasn’t the WHO that put us in the position we are today. It was our own President.

  19. e.a.f. says:

    Trump will blame any one or anything for his own failures. It isn’t the WHO’s fault he’s an idiot. When news reports about the virus in Wuhan became part of the Canadian news cycle, I knew it would come to other countries. The sibling and I determined it would be in our best interest to add to our 4 week earthquake stores. Added another 4 weeks. Now if we can figure it out why can’t the government of the U.S.A. By the time the first case hit Vancouver Island we had been self isolating for 3 weeks, given our health conditions).

    Trump has no one to blame for the problems in his country but himself. As soon as the cases hit Washington State, they ought to have implemented a plan. Instead that piece of shxt. referred to Gov. Inslee as a snake. Trump is a disgusting excuse for a human. His antics at the press conferances ought to be simply not be shown It encourages his bad behavior. Its not like he provides important information. He just goes on ranks.

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