‘Administration officials paint a portrait of chaos’: Washington Post reports on Trump’s ‘negligence’
President Donald Trump speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House (screengrab)

On Saturday evening, The Washington Post published a blockbuster report on President Donald Trump's "negligence" in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Since Election Day and for weeks prior, Trump has all but ceased to actively manage the deadly pandemic, which so far has killed at least 244,000 Americans, infected at least 10.9 million and choked the country’s economy. The president has not attended a coronavirus task force meeting in 'at least five months,' said one senior administration official with knowledge of the meetings, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid details," correspondents Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Philip Rucker reported.

"Now, as he fights for his political life, falsely claiming the election was somehow rigged against him, Trump has abdicated one of the central duties of the job he claims to want: leading the country through a devastating pandemic as it heads into a grim winter," The Post reported. "This account of Trump’s indifference and inaction on the newly surging coronavirus pandemic is based on interviews with more than a dozen administration officials, Trump allies, health advisers and others familiar with the response, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations."

"Trump has increasingly eschewed the advice of even his own public health and medical experts," the newspaper reported. "Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, has suggested several times reducing in-person dining in restaurants and bars, but Trump has dismissed her suggestions, a senior administration official said. He has also ignored the calls by Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for more aggressive messaging on the importance of mask-wearing, officials said."

"Trump’s negligence on the pandemic comes at a particularly precarious time, just as his administration is winding down and Biden and his team are preparing to assume power, experts said. But Trump — who so far has refused to acknowledge the election results — is further hindering the process by refusing to start a formal transition," The Post reported. "Behind the scenes, however, many administration officials paint a portrait of chaos, with senior advisers enabling some of Trump’s most questionable instincts on the pandemic."

Some former officials are pointing fingers at Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

"Two former administration officials put some of the blame for the laggard White House response on Kushner. Scott Atlas — a Trump coronavirus adviser who has espoused the dangerous theory of herd immunity and clashed with the other doctors — was recruited by Kushner and often spent time in Kushner’s office suite before he officially took the job, these officials said. They added that Kushner had been one of the leading voices stressing to Trump the importance of moving on from the virus," the newspaper reported.