Juliette Kayyem, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Intergovernmental Affairs for President Barack Obama, warned last year that President Donald Trump's obsession with the U.S./Mexico border would ultimately make American's less safe because he was taking his eye off the ball in other ways.
Speaking to The Atlantic in April 2019, Kayyem explained that Trump's relentless focus on immigration was a myopic understanding of how Homeland Security works.
“What you’re seeing is the second pivot, where Trump views it solely as a border-enforcement agency,” said Kayyem. “It means that all these other things—climate change, terrorism, election security—all of those things become irrelevant next to the border enforcement and wall. We’re like we were after 9/11, when all we focused on was stopping 19 guys from getting on four airplanes.”
As the coronavirus makes landfall in the United States, Kayyem's prediction is coming to fruition. The virus has a death rate of 2 percent, according to the National Institute of Health, where the flu has a 0.1 percent fatality rate.
In a Twitter thread, Kayyem is now urging people not to panic. She also predicted that the White House would likely trade between freaking out or tuning out any reality of the virus. The White House has had at least two months to prepare for the contagion and a possible pandemic. They chose to trust China would contain it.
"That bought time, not bad, but that's not a strategy," she said.
Thread: So how can you prepare for #coronavirus? I'm a big proponent of preparedness as being something we can cont… https://t.co/pGtrjIBFcc— Juliette Kayyem (@Juliette Kayyem)1582652521.0
There are plenty of options between tuning out and freaking out. WH will swing wildly between two, assisted by me… https://t.co/tJXCKBD1nH— Juliette Kayyem (@Juliette Kayyem)1582631623.0
We need a global response to a global threat. We also need a domestic plan for a homeland threat. We had nearly 2… https://t.co/54p8yQDXWk— Juliette Kayyem (@Juliette Kayyem)1582649830.0