Numerous officials inside former President Donald Trump’s administration were concerned about “critical mistakes” in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic according to emails that were obtained by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and published in Tuesday’s Washington Post.
Trump boasted in early March of 2020 that the federal government was prepared to tackle the outbreak, which he also described as a “hoax” engineered by Democrats to spoil his chances at winning reelection. But the emails – which the Post pointed out were sent from personal accounts – reveal that behind closed doors, Trump’s minions were concerned that he was overplaying his hand and not taking the emergency seriously enough.
Per the Post:
‘In truth we do not have a clue how many are infected in the USA. We are expecting the first wave to spread in the US within the next 7 days,’ adviser Steven Hatfill wrote to Peter Navarro, the president’s trade director, on Feb. 29, 2020. ‘This will be accompanied by a massive loss of credibility and the Democratic accusations are just now beginning. This must be countered with frank honesty about the situation and decisive direct actions that are being taken and can be seen in the broadcast news.’
Hatfill, a virologist who began advising the Trump White House in February 2020, blamed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for rolling out flawed coronavirus tests and urged Navarro to begin purchasing additional testing supplies, and to develop alternative ways to immediately screen for virus infections and deploy additional emergency response staff. His warning to Navarro came hours after Trump boasted of his administration’s “pretty amazing” response to the coronavirus.
In a statement to the Post, Hatfill said that Doctor Anthony Fauci sent mixed messages about the dangers of the virus, which led to confusion among Trump’s inner circle. Even if that were true, it does not dismiss Trump’s intentional downplaying of the severity of the problem.
Thus, Democratic lawmakers are itching to uncover the depth of the Trump Administration’s lethal incompetence, which ultimately resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.
“These exchanges add to the growing body of evidence that the Trump Administration knew the significant risk posed by the coronavirus but failed to execute an effective strategy to reduce the loss of American lives,” Subcommittee Chair James Clyburn (D-SC), the House Majority Whip, wrote to Navarro. “The Select Subcommittee seeks to understand what the leaders in the Trump Administration knew, when they knew it, and how their decisions may have contributed to the catastrophic loss of life.”
Navarro and Hatfill’s use of private email accounts is also under scrutiny by the Subcommittee.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.