During an appearance Thursday night on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, President Donald Trump grossly suggested that New York might not actually need the tens of thousands of ventilators that they’ve been seeking amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. (The Coronavirus is a respiratory disease, and many patients in the U.S. and around the globe have needed ventilators and similar supplies.) During a Friday morning appearance on CBS, the Trump-appointed U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams actually backed up that suggestion, calling it a “fair question” whether New York Governor Andrew Cuomo truly “knows what he’s talking about.” Adams’s participation in this shines a grim light on the politicization of the Trump administration’s Coronavirus response.
"I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go to major hospitals, sometimes they have 2 ventilators." — Trump suggests Cuomo is exaggerating about the medical gear he needs to keep people alive pic.twitter.com/ADZb8fznOw
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 27, 2020
Thousands upon thousands of people have been hospitalized in New York City alone, and hundreds have died in the city from the Coronavirus — but Trump and now Adams too apparently are meandering around wondering about the precise scope of assistance that might be needed rather than just acting to help.
After poignantly noting that Trump has “no medical training” yet “continues to question the advice from medical experts and professionals,” CBS host Gayle King asked Adams:
‘We heard New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ask for ventilators, he gave very specific numbers, do you think he doesn’t know what he’s talking when it comes to this issue when he’s in constant contact with the top New York hospitals?’
And Adams suggested that yes, that’s a fair question indeed. He replied:
‘I think that’s a fair question, and I think that if you talk to experts, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx and others, the models in many cases are way off. New York City — we actually have people on the ground who have told us that there are a thousand ventilators sitting in a warehouse right now that haven’t been used. You heard Governor Cuomo yesterday say — look, we actually have resources; they’re just mismatched.’
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 27, 2020
So to be clear — that’s a top doctor in the United States falling in line behind the president’s useless politicization of the situation.
During his Fox appearance, he mockingly commented:
“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes and they’ll have two ventilators. Now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'”
This is monstrous and people will die. https://t.co/RpipBFJI9l
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 27, 2020
So in this crisis, he — and those around him — are treating his hunches and beliefs as apparent bases for action above the actual testimony of people actually doing meaningful work on the front line.
Trump has been belittling those working on the front line for some time. During a Hannity appearance this week, he said he’s having a “big problem” with “the woman governor… from Michigan.” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer commented in response on Twitter, addressing Trump directly:
‘Hi, my name is Gretchen Whitmer, and that governor is me. I’ve asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits. You said you stand with Michigan — prove it.’
Trump just keeps flailing.
Hi, my name is Gretchen Whitmer, and that governor is me 👋
I've asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits. You said you stand with Michigan — prove it. https://t.co/FtWlTLZdqW
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) March 27, 2020