A new report from the Wall Street Journal details how Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told President Trump as early as January 29 that the burgeoning coronavirus outbreak was under control.
According to the report, sources say that Azar waited for weeks to brief the president on the threat, "oversold his agency’s progress in the early days and didn’t coordinate effectively across the health-care divisions under his purview."
Buried in the report is an incident that took place on February 25, when CDC official Nancy Messonnier told the Wall Street Journal that the agency was expecting the coronavirus to spread in the U.S. After her words were reported, the stock market tanked. Despite Azar's attempts to quell the fears of investors, a furious Trump called him and threatened to fire Messonnier.
"The next day, the president announced he was putting Vice President Pence in charge of the federal response—news Mr. Azar learned a few hours before the announcement," WSJ reports.
Read the full report over at The Wall Street Journal.