Politico has published an explosive report that is going to be an utter nightmare for this administration.
According to the report, an NSC pandemic playbook that was written in 2016 would have significantly improved the response time of the administration had it been followed, especially concerning PPE gear and equipment.
How Politico got its hands on the playbook is unknown, but the guidelines within the playbook point to various timeline failures by the administration in its response to the coronavirus.
For a government report, it was rather simplistic but laid out very specific questions and timelines for very specific responses that should be put into play.
According to the report, four officials stated that the Trump administration was briefed on the existence of the playbook in 2017, “but two cautioned that it never went through a full, National Security Council-led interagency process to be approved as Trump administration strategy.”
Politico claims then-Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert was enthusiastic about the report, but he declined to specifically comment to Politico about the document.
He did, however, state, “I engaged actively with my outgoing counterpart and took seriously their transition materials and recommendations on pandemic preparedness.”
Current NSC officials stated that they were aware of the existence of the playbook.
The official stated, “We are aware of the document, although it’s quite dated and has been superseded by strategic and operational biodefense policies published since.
“The plan we are executing now is a better fit, more detailed, and applies the relevant lessons learned from the playbook and the most recent Ebola epidemic in the [Democratic Republic of the Congo] to COVID-19.”
The problem for Trump here is if that playbook had been followed, the funding for Phase 1, 2, & 3 would have been started earlier.
Additionally, stockpiles would have been distributed earlier as well as invoking the Defense Production Act earlier.
Considering how much feedback is coming in regarding health care workers running out of PPE gear, specifically masks, this is going to feed the fire of attacks Trump has been getting from the media and it will surely be a topic of discussion during today’s press conference.
I would expect Trump to dig on this not being an officially approved document, but he is going to have some serious questions to answer and it will surely hurt the overall public perception of how this administration has handled this crisis thus far.
To see the full playbook on Politico, click here.
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