President Donald Trump has given up on the coronavirus that is raging through the White House and the Secret Service, according to a White House reporter.
More than 130 agents are in quarantine or isolation, and at least 34 members of Trump's inner circle -- and the president himself -- have tested positive for COVID-19 since late September, but Associated Press correspondent Jonathan Lemire told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the fight has been abandoned.
"As the president has been solely focused on his re-election, failed re-election effort, he's largely stopped his day job," Lemire said, "and that nowhere more striking than this, managing the coronavirus pandemic. As Dr. [Anthony] Fauci said he hasn't attended a meeting, a task force briefing, in months and according to our reporting he's not receiving regular updates anymore."
"He's been largely shut off from the process, and where we are now as the nation deals with this terrible wave, and we are seeing states suffer record number of infections, there's no real federal leadership at all," Lemire added. "There's a vacuum."
Trump's refusal to deal with the virus makes the next administration's job even harder, Lemire said.
"When we're back to where we were in March and April and the states were left to fend for themselves, but now we have a president who, with his refusal to cooperate with the transition, is actively slowing down with the federal response could be," he said. "Not just now, in the short term, but what may happen when Joe Biden takes office in January, as he likely takes office as this virus is surging out of control."
The president clearly cares more about his long-shot legal fight to overturn the election results than slowing the spread of the deadly virus, Lemire said.
"There's been little public rhetoric on any subject other than his re-election," Lemire said. "It's where his focus is, both publicly and privately. We have seen, of course, the tweets, but we're also now seeing other than his remarks Friday, in which he touted the development of the vaccine and assigned more credit to the federal government than deserved for the breakthroughs from Pfizer and other companies, his own rhetoric on the virus has been what we heard from him in the campaign, when he made the baseless claims that the nation was rounding the corner on the pandemic, which, of course, is not the case, and now Democrats tell me and advisers to Joe Biden tell me they're concerned that if this transition, if the White House doesn't engage further on this matter, that it will hamper their efforts come January, particularly when they need to roll out safely a distribution mechanism for this vaccine."
"Ideally the Donald Trump and Biden administrations would be working together to make that happen," he added, "as those first doses come out, and instead that's not happening and the president, who sits largely alone in a West Wing that has been emptied out because of the coronavirus outbreak there, is not lifting a finger to help."