When Mary Trump started writing her very interesting book, Too Much Is Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, one of her biggest fears was that the Narcissist-in-Chief would be responsible for loss of life by wittingly or unwittingly starting a war. At the time, she had no idea that he would be responsible for a huge number of American deaths through his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But neither Mary Trump nor many other observers have focused on what I firmly believe to be true: that Trump is not just responsible for the thousands upon thousands of COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Trump is, in fact, largely responsible for the entire global pandemic, and the millions of deaths, untold suffering and economic devastation that will ultimately result from it.
It has been widely reported that the White House ignored the pandemic response plan the Obama Administration left for the new administration. The Trump Administration later dismantled the federal government’s pandemic response team (the National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense) in May 2018.
Around the same time, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified before the U.S. Congress that “[w]hen you have a respiratory virus that can be spread by droplets and aerosol … there’s a degree of morbidity associated with that, you can have a catastrophe.” He went on to say, “We’ve experienced in [the] real world those types of things. The one we always talk about is the 1918 pandemic which killed between 50 and 100 million people.” Dr. Fauci couldn’t have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet he basically predicted the COVID-19 pandemic—and nobody in the Trump Administration listened.
Relatively less attention, however, has been paid to the fact that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had a U.S. public health official—a medical epidemiologist—embedded in China’s disease control agency until the Administration eliminated the role in 2019.
The American expert, Dr. Linda Quick, “was a trainer of Chinese field epidemiologists who were deployed to the epicenter of outbreaks to help track, investigate and contain diseases,” according to an article from the Reuters news agency. She was forced to leave her post—officially known as Resident Adviser to the U.S. Field Epidemiology Training Program in China—as the result of a bitter U.S.-China trade dispute that erupted in July 2019, during which it was announced that her position would be defunded and eliminated as of September 2019.
Had Dr. Quick remained in her position in China, she might have served as a valuable liaison between Chinese and U.S. officials when early signs of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in China’s Wuhan province in November 2019—the virus that causes the disease that has been dubbed COVID-19 (CO standing for “corona,” “VI” for “virus,” “D” for disease, and “19” for 2019, the year the virus and the disease emerged).
This is only speculation, of course, since there have been suggestions (which the Chinese government has disputed) that China was also negligent and delayed letting the rest of the world know about the gravity of the virus that emerged in Wuhan. But it’s possible that if Dr. Quick (or someone else in her position) had remained in China, she could, in fact, have alerted not only the U.S. but the rest of the world about the virus weeks earlier than Chinese officials did—and months earlier than the Trump Administration notified the American public. If so, the entire course of what became a worldwide pandemic could potentially have been suppressed.
For this reason, I say that the entire global COVID-19 pandemic is Donald Trump’s fault. I won’t even get into his Administration’s deplorable “response” (if you can call it that) to the crisis in the United States, where we have four percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s COVID-19 cases.
Suffice it to say that the man has blood on his hands.
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SOURCES AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING (more or less in the order in which these topics are addressed above):
Mary Trump, Too Much Is Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man (Simon & Schuster, 2020).
“Obama team left pandemic playbook for Trump administration, officials confirm,” NPR (May 15, 2020).
Beth Cameron, “I ran the White House pandemic office. Trump closed it.”, Washington Post (Mar. 13, 2020).
Glenn Kessler and Meg Kelly, “Was the White House office for global pandemics eliminated?”, Washington Post (Mar. 20, 2020).
Marisa Taylor, “U.S. axed CDC expert job in China months before virus outbreak,” Reuters (Mar. 22, 2020).
Video clip, “Fauci in 2028: ‘influenza-like respiratory virus … is the one that keeps me up at night,” C-Span, June 15, 2018 (where he says, “[w]hen you have a respiratory virus that can be spread by droplets and aerosol … there’s a degree of morbidity associated with that, you can have a catastrophe. We’ve experienced in [the] real world those types of things. The one we always talk about is the 1918 pandemic which killed between 50 and 100 million people.”). See also https://www.c-span.org/video/?447064-1/house-committee-holds-hearing-pandemic-preparedness.
“China delayed releasing coronavirus info, frustrating WHO,” Los Angeles Times (June 22, 2020).
“China rejects report that it delayed COVID-19 information sharing with WHO,” Reuters (June 3, 2020).
Scottie Andrew, “The US has 4% of the world’s population but 25% of its coronavirus cases,” CNN (June 30, 2020).