Donald Trump came into office with the promise of basically gutting the government that has been operating in Washington DC and other locations for decades. “I alone can fix it” was a common refrain heard from the mouth of the man who won the hearts and minds of his conservative base.
From the very start of his Administration, Trump worked on delivering his promise to his base. He certainly made every effort to lesson the intrusion of government into the lives of his followers. I want to discuss some of the efforts that have certainly made an impact on the ability of the Trump Administrations’ to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In May of 2018, Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer left the National Security Council. He was the top Whitehouse expert on Global Health Security. Rather than replace him on the NSC, John Bolton disbanded the NSC team that was tasked with protecting the country from Global Health disasters. At this point, there was no Administration official solely focused on Global Health Security.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Patty Murry sent Bolton a letter complaining that the nation was going to be unprepared for future global pandemics and requesting a staff level briefing on the matter. They received a response from Bolton that basically ignored their requests. According to Warren “our government has been run for the past three years by people who don’t believe in Government. Day after day they stripped out people who perform the basic functions of Government.” She also said it was routine for the Whitehouse to ignore letters from the House and Senate.
The Trump Whitehouse has been removing the influence of legitimate science and scientific advisers since taking office. Trump is scientifically illiterate. His style of leadership does not rely on advice from people who know more than he does. His reliance on his “hunch” or his “gut feeling” is on full display every day of this pandemic. In the next post, I will discuss how Trumps insistence on a trade war with China, resulted in losing the ability to know exactly what China was doing early on in the pandemic.