Watch Trump’s answer to Yamiche Alcindor‘s question during today’s coronavirus press conference:
Trump’s answer is quite shocking, and not just because he called Alcindor’s question “nasty.” He seems to have no clue what’s going on in his own administration. In May 2018, John Bolton, the National Security Adviser at the time, eliminated the Global Health Security team in the National Security Council set up to in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.
Here is The Washington Post on May 10, 2018:
The top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic has left the administration, and the global health security team he oversaw has been disbanded under a reorganization by national security adviser John Bolton.
The abrupt departure of Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer from the National Security Council means no senior administration official is now focused solely on global health security. Ziemer’s departure, along with the breakup of his team, comes at a time when many experts say the country is already underprepared for the increasing risks of a pandemic or bioterrorism attack.
Ziemer’s last day was Tuesday, the same day a new Ebola outbreak was declared in Congo. He is not being replaced.
Pandemic preparedness and global health security are issues that require government-wide responses, experts say, as well as the leadership of a high-ranking official within the White House who is assigned only this role.
Read the rest here.
On May 8, 2018, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown also expressed his concerns in a two-page letter to Trump:
As Brown wrote, “In our globalized world, where diseases are never more than a plane ride away, we must do all we can to prepare for the next, inevitable outbreak and keep Americans safe from disease.”
Alcindor asked a question that deserved an answer. Trump’s response shows the incompetency of the Trump presidency. I am reminded of homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem‘s remark yesterday:
— John Fea (@JohnFea1) March 12, 2020