The Trump administration has proven to be wholly unprepared for the pandemic outbreak that has gripped the world and brought the US economy to a standstill. The president has displayed how unqualified he is to sit at the helm with a panicked population in need of a leader. Trump never listens to experts or even past presidents for guidance during tough times. There’s a reason for that. Trump is a narcissistic rage-machine who thinks he knows everything.
Our country has endured outbreaks before, but Trump thinks he’s untouchable, even when he rode on his predecessor’s coattails to tout the economy. And even now, Trump attempts to blame former President Barack Obama for his own failures to lead an isolated country.
Former President George W. Bush warned us in 2005 of the need to be prepared for a pandemic after he began reading an advanced copy of a new book about the 1918 flu pandemic that couldn’t put down, ABC News reports.
Unfortunately, we now have a president who doesn’t read. When Bush, though, read the book, he sprang into action.
When he returned to Washington, he called his top homeland security adviser into the Oval Office and gave her the galley of historian John M. Barry’s ‘The Great Influenza,’ which told the chilling tale of the mysterious plague that ‘would kill more people than the outbreak of any other disease in human history.’
‘You’ve got to read this,’ Fran Townsend remembers the president telling her. ‘He said, “Look, this happens every 100 years. We need a national strategy.”‘”
From that, the nation’s most comprehensive pandemic plan was formed that consisted of a playbook that included diagrams for a global early warning system, funding to develop new, rapid vaccine technology, and a robust national stockpile of critical supplies, such as face masks and ventilators, Townsend said, according to the news outlet.
It didn’t happen overnight, obviously. It was a three-year effort that included exercises where cabinet officials gamed out their responses. The effort did not entirely sustain, but Townsend said, “Despite politics, despite changes, when a crisis hits, you pull what you’ve got off the shelf and work from there.”
When Bush first told his aides he wanted to focus on the potential of a global pandemic, many of them harbored doubts, and that sounds very familiar to today’s issue, except it’s the current president who was doubtful.
“My reaction was — I’m buried. I’m dealing with counterterrorism. Hurricane season. Wildfires. I’m like, ‘What?'” Townsend said. “He said to me, ‘It may not happen on our watch, but the nation needs the plan.'”
“A pandemic is a lot like a forest fire,” the former president said at the time. “If caught early it might be extinguished with limited damage. If allowed to smolder, undetected, it can grow to an inferno that can spread quickly beyond our ability to control it.”
“To respond to a pandemic, we need medical personnel and adequate supplies of equipment,” Bush said. “In a pandemic, everything from syringes to hospital beds, respirators, masks, and protective equipment would be in short supply.”
“If a pandemic strikes, our country must have a surge capacity in place that will allow us to bring a new vaccine on line quickly and manufacture enough to immunize every American against the pandemic strain,” he said.
Trump really needs to talk to President Bush asap. Over 8,500 Americans have died from COVID-19.
Featured image via Political Tribune gallery
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