Over the weekend, a rather explosive report came out from the New York Times saying that President Trump delayed his response and ignored the advice of health experts to shut down the country.
Depending upon which alert was given to Trump, that could range anywhere from three to six weeks.
Much of the criticism Trump is now getting is centered on a recent interview by Jake Tapper on CNN with Dr. Fauci.
The Backlash Begins
Here is the interview from Dr. Fauci in full…
Now, if you saw what the media was reporting, it was select parts of the interview, completely discounting disclaimers by Fauci that shutting down the country involves a lot of moving parts.
He did state there was significant pushback as far back as three weeks before the actual shutdown, but there should have been.
It is probably a safe assumption that pushback was coming from several people considering the ramifications of such a move.
Additionally, he did not single out Trump as giving the pushback, just that there was pushback.
(Update 5:03pm – during today’s press conference, Fauci admitted “pushback” was probably the wrong word, as when these discussions were happening, people were presenting the ramifications of such as move. Additionally, he stated that he was NOT under any pressure and insisted EVERYTHING he does is voluntary.)
It is very easy to have hindsight, but we were far from prepared to shut down things at that point.
Honestly, I still believe Congress failed us on this front because measures that were put in place several weeks later by Congress should have already been ready to fire as soon as this decision was made.
This should have been a decision made by the White House in conjunction with actions being taken by Congress.
For example, had Congress had the legislation ready to go, the SBA could have had the guidelines in place and ready to roll as soon as loan applications started to roll in.
The treasury could have had the rollout of stimulus checks to go immediately rather than waiting weeks.
Instead, we took an action then reacted to that action when we should have been completely prepared for the action, then taken the action with all the pieces ready to roll.
On that front, our entire government failed us.
It is for that very reason that I do not believe the calls for urgency were as loud as everyone now claims.
If they had been, I think everyone would have been better prepared for the action.
To me, this seems like we now have people talking out of school to reporters in an effort to cover their own asses. They can now run to the media and tell everyone they rung a bell and nobody would listen but the actual public evidence tells a far different story.
That assumption is backed up by statements made by Dr. Fauci on February 29 while appearing on Today.
Dr. Fauci was asked if we should be worried or even start to consider making adjustments to our routine in response to a possible pandemic outbreak.
He responded, “No, right now, at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.
“Right now, the risk is still low, but this could change. I have said that many times…”
So, if Dr. Fauci and his fellow health experts were ringing the bell for drastic actions in mid-February, why was he not even hinting that people should start to take precautions on February 29?
I am not accusing Dr. Fauci of lying, but I am saying the reporting on this may be skewed.
We can only go by what we were told and what is public record and to this point, everything I have been able to find says there was no bell being rung in terms of urgency until mid-March.
On March 15, the Los Angeles Times reported that Fauci was open to a 14-day national shutdown, the first mention I could find of such actions.
He stated, “Everything is on the table. Right now, myself personally, I wouldn’t go to a restaurant. I just wouldn’t because I don’t want to be in a crowded place… I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m going to be all of a sudden self-isolating for 14 days.”
He later added, “We feel that with rather stringent mitigation and containment, without necessarily complete lockdown, we would be able to prevent ourselves from getting to where, unfortunately, Italy is now.
“With regard to domestic travel bans, we always talk about it, consider everything. But I can tell you that has not been seriously considered, doing travel bans in the country… I don’t see that right now or in the immediate future.”
On March 16, the White House officially introduced the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” program.
Now, if that is not acting quickly and taking the expert’s advice quickly enough, I am not sure what is.
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