Shocker: NY Times concludes that it’s all Trump’s fault…

Hindsight: “Woulda, coulda, shoulda”
=============

Now, that Drs. Fauci & Birx are telling us that the pandemic is nearing its apex, the New York Times thought it was the perfect moment to let a worried nation know that they had broken the case: it’s all President Trump’s fault.

click to read the article
image

Cutting through the political rhetoric, the Times appears to have 5 main beefs with the way Trump has handled the situation:

  1. He didn’t run around yelling “FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!” in January.
  2. He was slow to pull the trigger on the Chinese travel ban.
  3. He didn’t move quickly enough to place replenishment orders for medical supplies and equipment.
  4. He botched the roll-out of the testing system.
  5. He waited too long to order social distancing and shut-down the economy.

OK, let’s drill down on those one at a time.

=============

1. In January, Trump didn’t run around yelling “FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!” .

These days, with reopening the economy on the table, reporters are constantly taunting Trump: “Are you going to listen to the scientists (this time)?”

That’s an ironic question since in January, Trump was essentially channeling the scientists … and now, he’s being thrashed for doing just that.

As we previously posted, Dr. Birks has stated publicly: “I didn’t see it coming” and, until the very end of January, Dr. Fauci was saying:

This not a major threat for the people of the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about 

But, the Times argues that Trump should have been listening to the Intelligence Community since they had “concerns about what is now known to be the novel coronavirus pandemic and reported it in the President’s Daily Brief of intelligence matters in early January.” Source

So, on one hand, the trusted medical advisers were saying not to worry … on the other hand, the occasionally reliable Intelligence Community was offering up some vague warnings of a viral hell breaking loose.  Who to believe on public health issues — the scientists or the spooks?

Hmmm.

Also during January, Trump’s deputy security adviser Matthew Pottinger and trade adviser Peter Navarro were warning Trump of an impending disaster.

Note: The Times credentialed Pottinger as “a former WSJ correspondent “… and characterized Navarro as “as quick-tempered, self-important, prone to butting in and clashing with the administration’s health experts”.

Again, Trump’s words and actions at the time were consistent with the input that he was getting from Birx and Fauci.

Imagine the headlines if Trump had started soap-boxing dire warnings;

“Trump fear-mongering despite scientists’ assurances”

“Trump tries to shift attention away from impeachment to remote virus”

=============

2. Trump was slow to pull the trigger on the Chinese travel ban.

This criticism is downright laughable.

The Times says: “Mr. Pottinger, backed by (National Security Adviser)  O’Brien, became one of the driving forces of a campaign in the final weeks of January to convince Mr. Trump to impose limits on travel from China

But, the Times continues, Pottinger and Navarro — who also supported a travel ban — were running against strong headwinds:

In addition to the opposition from the economic team, Mr. Pottinger … had to overcome skepticism from the administration’s public health experts.

The public health experts were arguing that travel restrictions were usually counterproductive to managing biological outbreaks.

But on the morning of Jan. 30, Mr. Azar got a call from Dr. Fauci, Dr. Redfield and others saying they had changed their minds.

The next day, Trump issued the travel ban.

The reaction was predictable:  As the Times headlined: “It’s unjust and doesn’t work anyway” … the ban was further evidence that Trump is a racist and a xenophobe.

image

Imagine this headline  if Trump had acted before the scientists got on board.

  • “Neo-cons push Trump to another xenophobic travel ban”

Most people, including Dr. Fauci, now concede that the travel ban was a critical action that saved many lives.

=============

3. He didn’t move quickly enough to place replenishment orders for medical supplies and equipment.

Let’s focus on the big ticket items:: ventilators and  hospital beds (capacity).

A couple of weeks ago, Gov. Cuomo repeatedly (and loudly)  sounded the alarm that New York needed 30,000 ventilators and 140,000 additional beds.

Trump begrudgingly utilized the Defense Protection Act to force some companies into the ventilator business and readied the Army Corps of Engineers to build hospitals

The bottom line is that there have been zero reports of patients needing a ventilator not getting one.  In other words, no patients have died for lack of ventilators. Period.

The bulk of the new ventilators will be diverted to other virus-besieged countries or go directly into the Fed’s stockpile.

Same story for hospital beds, the army did warp-speed work building make-shift hospitals in NYC, the Navy sailed  the 1,000-bed USNS Comfort Hospital Ship to New York Harbor.

With NY said to be at its virus apex, virtually none of those additional beds have been utilized.

For more details, see Remember when Cuomo (and the media) trashed Trump for not believing the models?

My advice to the NYT staff: Focus on results, and quit trying to micromanage a process that you clearly don’t understand.

==============

4. Trump botched the roll-out of the testing system.

We’ve posted on this topic, referencing a NYT article: About the slow roll-out of testing kits

The bottom line: Technical flaws in a CDC design and legacy regulatory hurdles slowed the deployment of test kits.

The CDC was bound and determined to develop their own test — as they have always done in the past. And, the one they produced was both late and error-prone.  That’s a bad combination.

The FDA’s legacy processes (i.e. those established by prior administrations) were slow and cumbersome, demotivating private companies who wanted to develop test kits.

Finally, some of the red tape was cut and private companies rode in for the rescue.

Trump’s fault?

I think not.

===============

5. Trump waited too long to order social distancing and shut-down the economy.

Making his rounds on the Sunday Morning Talk shows, Dr. Fauci “downloaded” on Trump, asserting that:

Lives could have been saved if the US had shut-down in February – but (my) recommendation wasn’t taken.”  Source

The Times article, puts some meat on those bones:

By the last week of February, it was clear to the administration’s public health team that schools and businesses in hot spots would have to close.

Over the nearly three weeks from Feb. 26 to March 16, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States grew from 15 to 4,226.

It took President Trump three  weeks to announce serious social distancing efforts.

That was a lost period during which the spread of the virus accelerated rapidly.

Whoa, that sounds like a big strike against Trump, right?

But, wait a minute … let’s unpack the above excerpt.

Note that  the Times says that on February 26 (i.e. the last week in February) the US had recorded a whopping 15 confirmed coronavirus cases … not deaths, cases.

Can you imagine the blowback if Trump had ordered a nationwide shut-down of schools, businesses and the economy based on 15 confirmed cases?

As Crazy Joe Biden would say: ”C’mon, man”

One Response to “Shocker: NY Times concludes that it’s all Trump’s fault…”

  1. April 14: C-19 UPDATE | The Homa Files Says:

    […] News & Views on Marketing, Economics & Politics « Shocker: NY Times concludes that it’s all Trump’s fault… […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s