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Trump knew coronavirus could be a crisis but ‘made clear’ lower numbers ‘were better’ for his re-election: report

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Politico reporter Dan Diamond is out with a bombshell story about how President Donald Trump and his administration not only botched the management of what is now the coronavirus pandemic, but clearly took steps that were not in the best interest of the public in order to help the President’s re-election efforts.

In short, according to Diamond, Trump was warned “the new coronavirus could be a major problem,” but “made clear – the lower the numbers on coronavirus… the better for his potential reelection.”

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In this interview Diamond tells NPR’s Terry Gross that President Trump “did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear – the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.”

Just to be clear, let’s look at that again: Trump “did not push to do aggressive additional testing” and “had made clear – the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.”

NPR took to Twitter to ensure the quote was clear, emphasizing that it was indeed President Trump’s decision to not push for testing – in order to keep the documented cases of coronavirus as low as possible – despite the clear public health risks.

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(It does not seem to be a stretch to say that the lack of testing – for whatever reason – will likely lead to coronavirus related deaths.)

Diamond says that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar “did go to the president in January. He did push past resistance from the president’s political aides to warn the president the new coronavirus could be a major problem. There were aides around Trump – Kellyanne Conway had some skepticism at times that this was something that needed to be a presidential priority.”

So Conway, who just days ago on national television lied, insisting the Trump administration had “contained” the coronavirus outbreak, reportedly didn’t think a global pandemic – it has been clear that’s where this was headed – was important enough to involve the President.

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Diamond tells Gross that “some of the decisions behind the scenes haven’t always reflected the best judgment of career professionals.”

Clearly that’s correct.

There’s a great deal more of how the Trump administration has not just mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic, but horrifically mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic, and in some cases to benefit Trump’s re-election efforts. The NPR interview is 44 minutes long. You can read it or listen to it at NPR, or listen to it below.

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Image by The White House via Flickr


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2020 Election

Trump ripped as a ‘traitor’ by veterans for his mask photo-op at Walter Reed Hospital

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The veteran advocacy organization Vote Vets on Sunday blasted President Donald Trump for holding a photo-op at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

After a round of golf on Saturday, Trump traveled to the hospital to be photographed by the press pool wearing a mask, which was a first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vote Vets, which says it has raised over $120 million since being founded in 2006 and made over 50 million voter contacts, released a new video on Trump's visit.

The ad says it shows "what wounded warriors see when Trump comes for a photo-op."

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2020 Election

Trump’s push to reopen schools prematurely is an assault on states’ rights that may prove deadly

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It’s hard to avoid a sense of déjà vu as the Trump regime threatens to withhold federal education funding from states that refuse to re-open their schools this fall. The contours of the “debate,” such as it is, perfectly align with the one we had a couple of months ago about re-opening businesses in the midst of a pandemic.

Then, as now, conservatives tried to frame the issue as a choice between re-opening and staying stuck in quarantine indefinitely. Those less moored to reality, including the President, insisted that proponents of quarantines were only motivated by a desire to undermine Trump’s prospects for re-election. The real divide at the time was between those of us who wanted to follow the science, build up adequate testing and contact-tracing capacity and re-open safely once the rate of infection had declined, and those, mostly on the right, who wanted to re-open prematurely either because they believed we’d achieve herd immunity if we let the outbreak run its course or because they thought Covid-19 was a “hoax” that was no more serious than the seasonal flu.

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2020 Election

How 68,000 COVID-19 survivors created a world-class patient resource group in just four months

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Diana Berrent was one of the first people in her hometown of Port Washington, New York, to get COVID-19. Back then, in early March 2020, only immunocompromised and seniors were believed to be high-risk; hence, as a 46-year-old yoga practitioner and runner, Berrent was "shocked" when she woke up with a 103-degree fever and respiratory infection — symptoms that strongly suggested she had coronavirus, which was later confirmed by a test.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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