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Trump administration’s lack of experience has left the VA and other departments getting updates from cable news

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The New York Times reported Thursday that one of the greatest obstacles for President Donald Trump in responding to the coronavirus crisis has been that he is missing so many crucial staff in key positions.

There are a total of 75 senior positions in the Department of Homeland Security, 20 are either vacant or filled by “acting” officials, including acting Secretary Chad Wolf. He was the most recent Trump official who struggled under questioning by the U.S. Senate about how many respirators and protective masks were available from the federal government.

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When people breached the 6-foot distance requirement to see the cherry blossoms at the Washington, D.C. Tidal Basin, there was no director at the capital region’s National Park Service. The department is like many agencies, full of vacancies.

Workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs don’t have any experience in disaster response. They failed to prepare for the overwhelming number of cases they would face at VA hospitals. They’re desperately trying to buy medical supplies on Amazon. Senior officials said they have no idea whether they should continue to refuse care and send veterans back into the community for healthcare. They explained that they only learn about updates the news media about what they’re supposed to do.

Secretary Robert Wilkie is one of those at the VA with no experience in emergency management. His second in command, however, had worked on past disasters, but he was fired recently. The head of emergency preparedness at the VA retired.

“Empty slots and high turnover have left parts of the federal government unprepared and ill equipped for what may be the largest public health crisis in a century, said numerous former and current federal officials and disaster experts,” wrote the Times.

A whopping 80 percent of the senior positions at the White House below cabinet level, have turned over since Trump took over. About 500 people have left the administration since the inauguration.

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In just three years, Trump is on his fourth chief of staff, his fourth national security adviser, and fifth Homeland Security secretary.

“Between Mr. Trump’s history of firing people and the choice by many career officials and political appointees to leave, he now finds himself with a government riddled with vacancies, acting department chiefs and, in some cases, leaders whose professional backgrounds do not easily match up to the task of managing a pandemic,” the Times explained.

“Right now for the life of me, I don’t know who speaks for DHS,” said former Secretary Janet Napolitano, who served under President Barack Obama. “Having nonacting leadership, and I think having consistency in your leadership team and the accumulation of experience, really matters. And I think it would be fair to say the current administration hasn’t sustained that.”

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People who are new to the administration or working in government don’t have relationships with private sector CEOs and with lawmakers, who they would normally seek out to coordinate efforts and assistance.

Former homeland security adviser and longtime disaster expert Thomas Bossert was ousted in 2018 by John Bolton. His position was never filled, it was merely folded into the office that handles weapons of mass destruction.

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For all of his scandals, Scott Gottlieb leaving the FDA put oncologist Dr. Stephen M. Hahn in charge. Hahn struggled to answer questions, while Gottlieb has been advocating for broad coronavirus testing.

Ken Cuccinelli at Homeland Security scared the public last month when he began asking for information about coronavirus on Twitter. He said he didn’t have access to a Johns Hopkins University map of the virus’s spread. It prompted many to ask why Cuccinelli didn’t have data from within the administration to consult.

Even the Pentagon faces problems. More than one-third of civilian positions are vacant.

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Now the IRS is facing a huge responsibility of getting people the stimulus money from the package that should be passed by Congress by Friday.

“The tax collection agency has faced deep cuts to its budget over the last decade, leaving some of its technology out of date,” the Times reported. “Now the IRS must cope with Tax Day being delayed by three months and a deluge of questions from confused taxpayers calling employees that are teleworking. The shortfall in staff is likely to be especially problematic as the Treasury Department tries to send stimulus money to Americans by using the IRS’s taxpayer database to track them down.”

Read the full report at the New York Times.


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Former acting CIA director explains why Trump’s inaction on Russian bounty scandal will make things worse

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It was revealed nearly two weeks ago that the Russian government is paying a bounty to the Taliban for killing American soldiers.

Since then, President Donald Trump has denied that he and his administration didn't know anything about it. Then he claimed it was a hoax. Now it has become clear that the stories are not only true but that if Trump read his presidential daily briefing in 2019, he would have been aware of the problem.

Speaking to the House Thursday, Trump's former acting CIA director Michael Morell explained that things are being made far worse by the president's denial.

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Here are 7 hilarious videos about wearing COVID-19 masks to send people who won’t wear them

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While late-night shows are off for a Summer break, Americans are glued to TikTok and Twitter for their humor and every folks have delivered.

The latest trend is to mock fools who refuse to wear masks. While many people who refuse to wear a mask tuck their tails and sulk as they walk away, some take it to a whole new level of fury. Those precious souls are being mocked and shamed all around the world.

Here are seven videos that are hilarious or adorable that encourage wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Wearing a mask is like wearing a lifejacket.https://twitter.com/mattbooshell/status/1280933495674732544

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Trump tells Fox News the ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign on Fifth Avenue is like he’s being ‘prosecuted’

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President Donald Trump appeared to reveal another quid pro quo during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell pointed it out during an interview with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

"I was very nice to Mayor de Blasio. I got him ventilators when he needed them... I got him the gowns. I got him the masks. I got him everything. Then he throws a big Black Lives Matter sign right down in the middle of Fifth Avenue. I was so good to him and to Gov. Cuomo, like nobody's ever been good. And then all you end up doing out of that place is getting prosecuted."

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