Chaos & Confusion Caused By Trump Worsens Supply Shortage
April 1, 2020
Trump’s coronavirus response has been plagued by chaos and confusion, making it more difficult for states and hospitals to get the supplies they need. Despite being warned early on, Trump refused to take action and is now refusing to take responsibility as supply shortages grip the nation.
Trump’s administration was warned last September that a pandemic could kill half a million Americans and devastate the economy — they did nothing.
New York Times: “White House economists published a study last September that warned a pandemic disease could kill a half million Americans and devastate the economy. It went unheeded inside the administration.”
Trump refuses to show any leadership and is instead placing responsibility, and blame, onto the states.
Politico: “The Trump White House is doubling down on a strategy to govern the coronavirus pandemic: pushing authority and responsibility for the response onto the states.”
Trump’s response has been plagued by chaos and confusion that has made it more difficult for states and hospitals to get the supplies they need.
CNN: “Pentagon says it still hasn’t sent ventilators because it hasn’t been told where to send them”
Washington Post: “Governors and state officials have become increasingly frustrated by what they describe as a byzantine and unsteady process for distributing medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile. As they try to combat a worsening pandemic, several have complained about chaos and disarray within the system and a lack of guidance about how they can secure lifesaving supplies, according to interviews and documents from officials in more than a dozen states.”
Politico: “Last week, a Trump administration official working to secure much-needed protective gear for doctors and nurses in the United States had a startling encounter with counterparts in Thailand. The official asked the Thais for help—only to be informed by the puzzled voices on the other side of the line that a U.S. shipment of the same supplies, the second of two so far, was already on its way to Bangkok.”
NBC News: “The president’s ‘Hunger Games’ approach to scarce resources has pitted states against one another and the federal government, as more Americans die.”
Many governors are now even concerned that Trump is playing politics with people’s lives by picking and choosing which states get critical supplies.
Washington Post: “It’s a disparity that has caused frustration and confusion in governors’ offices across the country, with some officials wondering whether politics is playing a role in the response.”
As Trump downplays the ventilator shortage, his own officials are telling hospitals that they can split ventilators between patients amidst shortages.
Politico: “Trump officials tell desperate hospitals that patients can share ventilators”
Many states across the country still do not have adequate testing, and shortages could cause the coronavirus to spread even more rapidly.
Politico: “As the coronavirus marches from America’s coastal cities to its heartland, testing gaps in the South and Midwest are crippling efforts to contain emerging hotspots in smaller cities and rural areas. … After struggling to obtain critical testing materials from the federal government, Oklahoma recently bought supplies to test 10,000 people on the private market. State officials are worried that without adequate testing, the disease will spread stealthily into rural areas and overwhelm communities already underserved by doctors and hospitals.”
Trump could have invoked the Defense Production Act to accelerate production of medical supplies sooner, but he refused to, despite his administration having done so hundreds of thousands of times before.
New York Times: “The Defense Production Act has been invoked hundreds of thousands of times in the Trump years. But with the pandemic, the president sees it as a ‘break the glass’ last resort.”