Members of the White House task force on responding to the Coronavirus have begun essentially ignoring President Donald Trump amidst his frequent paranoid meltdowns and factually inaccurate yet self-confident proclamations about the virus outbreak, according to the Daily Beast. Last week, the day after his own administration unveiled guidelines for phasing out Coronavirus-induced social distancing measures in states around the U.S., he even took to Twitter with calls to “LIBERATE” certain states with stay-at-home orders, a move that some on the White House task force have had to end up acting like didn’t even happen. If they did engage with the president’s every whim, they could put public health in danger.
An unnamed senior administration official working with the task force told the Daily Beast:
‘It is a pain in the ass sometimes, for sure. There isn’t much more [some of us] can do in that, except continue making sound policy recommendations and hope they sink in. Sometimes the president backs off on some things, sometimes he doesn’t. It’s his call.’
Trump said at the CDC on March 6: “Anybody that wants a test can get a test.” Increasingly, he’s been shifting the focus – and blame – on testing shortfalls to the states. https://t.co/WGHwaWBTjb
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 17, 2020
As the publication explains:
‘[The] White House’s coronavirus response has diverged into two camps: one that defends whatever the president has chosen to care about or watch on the TV, and another that actively works to ignore and paper over those excesses… Trump’s own aides and officials are aware that the president’s missives are at odds with the recommendations embraced by his top public-health experts. But rather than correct the record or even push back internally, they have tried to proceed as if the president didn’t just do what he had so clearly done.’
"To have an American president to encourage people violate the law, I can't remember any time in my time in America we have seen such a thing," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told @ABC News. https://t.co/ntbJtpnIHl
— ABC News (@ABC) April 21, 2020
This attempt to ignore the president has manifested via officials continuing to advocate for the same social distancing measures that Trump has been clamoring against. Officials including Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx have also been talking up the need for expanded Coronavirus testing before any relaxation of social distancing measures and economic reopening.
As Fauci put it on Sunday:
‘Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen.’
"Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen," Dr. Anthony Fauci on ABC this morning.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) April 20, 2020
These messages are the opposite of the wild rhetoric that Trump himself has been pushing. He has most recently insisted that the task of ramping up Coronavirus testing should be left to the states. It remains unclear, however, what the federal government’s health supply resources are there for if not to assist the states in times of crisis like the present.
I’m demanding answers from the Trump Administration about its failures to manage the national stockpile and get states the supplies needed to slow the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.https://t.co/I5beSbseqA
— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) April 17, 2020
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, recently approached South Korea for assistance in ramping up his own state’s testing, since assistance from the White House was nowhere to be found amidst the president’s self-obsession.
At a White House press conference this week, Trump ranted that Hogan supposedly “didn’t really understand the list, he didn’t understand too much about what was going on,” since, as the president claimed, lab space that the federal government had made available could be used for testing.
But lab space is useless without supplies, as Hogan memorably noted on Twitter. Even states have been left with no choice but to ignore the president’s frequently incoherent ramblings.
I’m grateful to President Trump for sending us a list of federal labs and generously offering Maryland use of them for #COVID19 testing. Accessing these federal labs will be critical for utilizing the 500,000 tests we have acquired from South Korea.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) April 21, 2020