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Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue – A True Story of Delay, Density and Denial

Guest post by Robert Best (opinion)

Yesterday’s post was a mystery story. Today’s is a tale of shock and horror …

“Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue – A True Story of Delay, Density and Denial!”

(Based on the excerpts below from an excellent Politco article by Daniel Lippman and Meredith McGraw - 04/02/2020.)

“On the second day in January, as a mysterious pathogen was infecting its way across China, Dr. Robert Redfield contacted the National Security Council. “The U.S. government had unconfirmed information about what officials believed to be a novel coronavirus, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Better pay attention.

“ … behind the scenes at the NSC, a lower-level policy team was working frantically to understand the virus and figure out what needed to be done. “Based on what they were learning about the virus, things were going to get bad. Really bad. The U.S. needed to act aggressively. “Matthew Pottinger, a former Wall Street Journal reporter in China turned marine turned Trump deputy national security adviser, was in charge, reporting up to his boss Robert O’Brien. “Pottinger, in fact, has emerged as one of the biggest internal proponents of preventative mask usage, having studied the impact widespread mask wearing has had on blunting the spread of respiratory illness in Asian countries like Japan and South Korea. “While then-acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney advised staffers in the White House not to wear a mask — a recommendation in line with CDC guidelines at the time — Pottinger has been wearing a standard surgical mask for weeks. “Pottinger has even worn a mask in front of Trump, out of concern that he could spread the virus to the president or another top official even if he was asymptomatic. Trump found the NSC deputy’s mask “wryly amusing,” the administration official said. “Mulvaney and his team initially opposed temperature checks, though Pottinger repeatedly lobbied the acting chief of staff to order the move. Mulvaney was openly scornful of those alarmed by the outbreak at the time: On Feb. 28, he told attendees at a conservative conference that coronavirus was only getting so much attention because the media thinks “this is going to be the thing that brings down the president. “… it was only after Trump ousted Mulvaney — which happened on March 6 — that the White House began doing temperature checks … “Pottinger has had less success in getting Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to stay as separate as possible, just in case one of them gets coronavirus: The two men continue to have lunch together on their regular schedule and appear together at the nightly briefings of the Pence-led coronavirus task force.”

In short, Trump, Pence and their gang of science-deniers has delayed and ridiculed attempts to treat the virus seriously, even within the White House. Only when polls showed that he should appear “more concerned” has Trump changed his act, though not very convincingly. The movie closes with Trump and Pence embracing and laughing at Governor Cuomo on television in the Oval Office. Outside, hundreds of thousands of people, who did not need to die, are expiring in hospital hallways, tents, ships, convention centers … and a myriad of other places we could have never imagined in our worst nightmares. Fade to black. -- Robert Best, Indivisible Evanston WI Voter Registration Project Read the entire Politico article HERE

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