President Donald Trump hit out at Dr Anthony Fauci Sunday night by retweeting the #FireFauci hashtag and claimed that he banned flights from China ‘long before people spoke up’ just hours after the nation’s top immunologist said his recommendation for a US shut down in February was ignored.
Trump retweeted a post from former congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine who wrote: ‘Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives.
‘Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US public at large. Time to #FireFauci.’
The president not only retweeted Lorraine’s tweet, but he added his own comment: ‘Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up.’
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President Donald Trump hit out at at Dr Anthony Fauci by retweeting the #FireFauci hashtag (pictured) Sunday night, just hours after the nation’s top immunologist said he received a lot of pushback for recommending a United States shutdown in February
Trump’s (right) apparent dig at Fauci (left) came just hours after the doctor suggested Sunday morning that more lives could have been saved if Trump had initiated a coronavirus shutdown earlier than mid-March
Trump says Health Secretary Alex Azar and trade adviser Peter Navarro didn’t warn him about coronavirus before China flight ban
In a series of tweets Sunday night, the president called out several people, including Dr Anthony Fauci and Azar, two top officials who say they warned Trump about the virus several weeks before his administration put out guidelines for social distancing in mid-March.
First, Trump slammed The New York Times for a piece published in the newspaper on Saturday claiming the president repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and had been warned about the magnitude of the virus multiple times by top White House officials.
He then claimed that Azar told him nothing until after the ban on flights from China.
Word of the virus was included in several of the president’s intelligence briefings, but Trump wasn’t fully briefed on the threat until Azar called with an update on January 18 while the president was at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
Trump reportedly spent much of the conversation wanting to talk about vaping; he was considering a new policy restricting its use.
At that time the president was also reportedly more concerned about his then-ongoing impeachment trial.
Trump also referred to Navarro in his Sunday night tweet. It was recently revealed that Navarro issued his first grim warning in a memo dated January 29 – just days after the first COVID-19 cases were reported in the US.
The president has previously claimed that he didn’t receive such a memo from Navarro at the time.
In January, Trump was publicly downplaying the risk that the virus posed to Americans – though weeks later he would assert that no one could have predicted the devastation seen today.
Navarro penned a second memo about a month later on February 23, in which he warned that as many as two million Americans could die from the virus as it tightened its grip on the nation.
In a second tweet Trump slammed The New York Times for a piece published in the newspaper on Saturday that claims the president repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and had been warned about it multiple times by top White House officials.
‘The @nytimes story is a Fake, just like the “paper” itself. I was criticized for moving too fast when I issued the China Ban, long before most others wanted to do so,’ Trump tweeted.
The president then wrote: ”@SecAzar told me nothing until later, and Peter Navarro memo was same as Ban (see his statements). Fake News!’ the president added.
He also said that Peter Navarro’s memo ‘was same as Ban (see his statements). Fake News!’
Trump was referring to a January 29 memo from senior White House aide Navarro who accurately predicted some of the challenges faced by the US from what would become a pandemic, though he was hardly the first to sound the alarm.
On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a global health emergency while Trump held a packed campaign rally in Iowa.
The next day, the Trump administration banned admittance to the US by foreign nationals who had traveled to China in the past 14 days, excluding the immediate family members of American citizens or permanent residents.
Trump styled it as bold action, but continued to talk down the severity of the threat. Despite the ban, nearly 40,000 people have arrived in the US on direct flights from China since that date, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
The president’s dig at Fauci came just hours after the doctor suggested Sunday morning that more lives could have been saved if Trump had initiated a coronavirus shutdown earlier than mid-March.
Fauci said more could have been done that would have potentially slowed the spread and lessened the ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak in the US.
‘Obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier you could’ve saved lives, obviously,’ Fauci told CNN‘s State of the Union.
‘No-one is going to deny that,’ he continued, but added ‘there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then’.
There are several reports that intelligence officials told the White House that there was a virus threat coming from China as early as November, indicating that the president knew about coronavirus sooner than he let on.
‘You know, Jake, as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint,’ Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper. ‘We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it’s not.’
‘But it is what it is,’ he continued. ‘We are where we are right now.’
Trump also claimed that he was ‘criticized for moving too fast when I issued the China Ban, long before most others wanted to do so’
The president said that Alex Azar, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services ‘told me nothing until later’
During a task force meeting in the Situation Room in March, Trump proposed to Fauci that they just let the coronavirus ‘wash over’ the US, instead of issuing a strong federal response, according to a report from The Washington Post.
Two sources familiar with the meeting told the Post that the conversation happened the same day the administration was adding Ireland and the United Kingdom to its travel restrictions.
‘Why don’t we let this wash over the country?’ Trump asked of Fauci, the sources claimed.
Trump was asking the immunologist why a ‘herd immunity’ was a bad idea.
If the US took a ‘herd immunity’ approach, it would allow coronavirus to sweep across nation with the belief that those who survived would then be immune to the disease.
‘Mr President, many people would die,’ Fauci said, according to the two people in the meeting.
Fauci (right, on CNN’s State of the Union) said more could have been done that would have potentially slowed the spread and lessened the ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak in the US
Trump tells governors it’s their responsibility to get coronavirus ‘testing programs & apparatus perfected’
Trump also told governors on Sunday evening that it’s their responsibility to get coronavirus testing ‘perfected’ after several states complained that kits provided by the White House were unusable.
‘Governors, get your states testing programs & apparatus perfected,’ Trump ordered in a tweet. ‘Be ready, big things are happening. No excuses!
‘The Federal Government is there to help. We are testing more than any country in the World. Also, gear up with Face Masks,’ he continued.
Trump’s latest comments come days after the federal government purchased rapid coronavirus testing machines – which are able to deliver results within 15 minutes instead of days – and began distributing them across the country last week.
Every state except for Alaska was given 15 machines, regardless of its population or severity of its outbreak.
However, excitement among Governors who had lauded the prospect of being able to run up to 3,000 tests per day quickly dissipated shortly after the machines arrived.
The frustrated parties said the machines are actually sitting idle because they weren’t given enough supplies to use them, with many of the machines arriving with only 120 cartridges, enough for about 100 tests.
So far, more than 22,000 people died in the US after contracting coronavirus and there are more than 561,000 cases as of Sunday evening.
Trump often lauds his response to the pandemic, praising his administration for cutting off travel from China early on in the outbreak.
The president also continues to push for the reopening of the country as soon as possible to kickstart a suffering economy.
Unemployment levels reached an all-time-high as more than 15 million new applications for benefits were submitted in the past few weeks as non-essential businesses shut down and several companies went through rounds of layoffs.
The task force initially rolled out a 15-day plan to stop the spread, which would have been completed at the end of March if it were not extended by the administration for another 30 days until April 30.
Trump set a new ideal for the country to reopen from lockdown on May 1, which some experts claim it’s ‘too soon’ to tell and a bit optimistic.
Fauci, a National Institute of Health expert on infectious diseases who serves on the White House coronavirus task force, said that he believes there could be a resurgence of the virus in the fall.
‘I don’t want to be the pessimistic person – there is always the possibility, as that – as we get into next fall, and the beginning of early winter, that we could see a rebound,’ Fauci told CNN of a potential for the virus’ severity to return in a few months after seeing a drop off.
The administration’s lockdown guidelines, and several state ordinances, have closed all non-essential businesses and push individuals only to leave the home for absolutely necessary reasons like grocery shopping or going to the doctor.
There are more than 561,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US with 22,129 deaths
The lockdown also prohibits social engagements from exceeding 10 people, and some states will even fine individuals for hosting such an event.
Fauci told CNN the country might be able to begin to ease up stay-at-home measures by next month, but said a ‘rolling re-entry’ would have to happen, claiming it’s not a one size fits all approach.
‘It’s not going to be a light switch,’ Fauci told Tapper. ‘It will depend on where you are in the country.’
He also pointed out that for the first time since the uptick in US cases there have been less ICU admissions in New York than the day before.
‘It’s started to turn a corner,’ Fauci said, adding ‘it’s cautious optimism that we are seeing that decrease’.
Disease and medical experts across the US were sounding alarm about coronavirus and Trump’s slow response since January in ‘Red Dawn’ email chain
An elite group of medical and disease experts had been sounding the alarm about coronavirus since January, as they discussed the virus’ threat to America in an email chain called Red Dawn, a bombshell report revealed.
Dozens of experts from government agencies, health organizations and top universities began the chain – named for the 1984 movie starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen who tried to protect their country from a foreign invasion – to discuss the rapidly spreading coronavirus, which hadn’t yet overtaken the US.
By late January, Dr Carter E. Mecher, a top medical adviser at the Veterans Affairs Department, wrote: ‘I’m certainly no public health expert…but no matter how I look at this, it looks [to] be bad,’ reported The New York Times after obtaining 80 pages of the email chain.
Infectious disease expert Dr James Lawler, who worked under Obama quipped ‘great understatements in history: Wuhan… “Just a bad flu season,’ lumping it with Napoleon’s retreat from Russia as ‘a little stroll gone bad’ and Hiroshima being ‘a bad summer heat wave’
Lawler added: ‘We are making every misstep leaders initially made in table -tops at the outset of pandemic planning in 2006. We had systematically addressed all of these and had a plan that would work – and has worked in Hong Kong/Singapore’
A few hours later, infectious disease expert Dr James Lawler, who worked under President Obama and George W. Bush, quipped ‘great understatements in history: Wuhan… “Just a bad flu season,” lumping it in with Napoleon’s retreat from Russia as “a little stroll gone bad” and Hiroshima being “a bad summer heat wave.”‘
The Times included the two emails as part of eight key messages in the chain that showed how the experts were aware of COVID-19’s ever growing threat and their frustration with slow responses from both the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The chain was started by Dr. Duane C. Caneva, the chief medical officer at the Department of Homeland Security.
He told the NYT the email chain was meant to ‘provide thoughts, concerns, raise issues, share information across various colleagues responding to Covid-19.’
The chain’s members included people from ‘the Health and Human Services Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Homeland Security Department, the Veterans Affairs Department, the Pentagon and other federal agencies tracking the historic health emergency.’
On January 28, Dr. Mecher summed up the situation as ‘bad’.
He noted the CDC and WHO appeared to ‘behind the curve’ and questioned why both institutions seemed to be downplaying the threat.
He wrote: ‘Any way you cut it, this is going to be bad. The projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe.’
Dr. Mecher was already pushing for schools to close, adding: ‘Now I’m screaming, close the colleges and universities.’