The New York Times spoke to several White House insiders regarding the whys and wherefores of Donald Trump’s failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The upshot seems to be practically every decision was predicated on: what would it mean for Trump?
Between Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and not-an-infectious-expert Dr. Scott Atlas bending to Trump’s ego, scientists and doctors had a tough time getting solid health policy implemented.
Trump thought wearing face masks wouldn’t appeal to his base, so he didn’t really encourage their use.
And he really hated how the positivity rate of testing ‘made him look bad.’ Trump reportedly didn’t want folks tested for COVID until they were so sick they landed in an emergency room and were vomiting.
From the New York Times:
It was a warm summer Wednesday, Election Day was looming and President Trump was even angrier than usual at the relentless focus on the coronavirus pandemic.
“You’re killing me! This whole thing is! We’ve got all the damn cases,” Mr. Trump yelled at Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, during a gathering of top aides in the Oval Office on Aug. 19. “I want to do what Mexico does. They don’t give you a test till you get to the emergency room and you’re vomiting.”
Mexico’s record in fighting the virus was hardly one for the United States to emulate. But the president had long seen testing not as a vital way to track and contain the pandemic but as a mechanism for making him look bad by driving up the number of known cases.
“I’m going to lose,” Trump told Kushner during one exchange. “And it’s going to be your fault, because of the testing.”
In another episode, Jared Kushner and Hope Hicks tried to get Trump to embrace face mask use but with Meadows and adviser Stephen Miller pushing back, the Donald refused.
Read the full report at the New York Times.