What didn't Trump know and when didn't he know it?
Concerning Trump in general and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, the simple answer is that he always knows nothing. Despite being "a very stable genius," perennial ignorance is his stock in trade. It lets him avoid responsibility across the board. Unlike President Truman, the buck never stops at Trump's desk (or if it does, like Macavity, Trump isn't there. He never got the memo.)
Unfortunately for America, sometimes ignorance, especially arrogantly willful ignorance, has costs, real-world impacts that can't be dodged or erased by shifting blame to someone else (right now WHO's on first), smearing someone with a smarmy nickname, or filing a lawsuit.
As I write this, 613,886 Americans have been sickened by the coronavirus, and 29,798 have died. That's more cases than the next four worst-hit countries combined, and more deaths than any other country. So much for MAGA and "we're number one".
Tragically, neither those deaths nor those yet to come are likely to make a difference to Trump's core supporters; his approval ratings have ranged from 41 to 49 percent as the pandemic has raged. Still, for those of us who at least try to live in a fact-based world, it might be interesting to figure out what Trump ought to have known and could have known, and when he chose to ignore it and go with his--also brilliant--gut.
We now know that multiple agencies were trying to alert Trump to the approaching tsunami starting in January. These included the National Security Council, Health and Human Services, the CDC, Homeland Security, the VA and the Pentagon. Clearly enough of these early warnings got through to him to persuade him to do something that comes naturally to him--closing borders. On January 31 he banned most travelers coming from China.
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