The White House is scrambling to adequately address the looming threat of the Coronavirus throughout the continental United States, prompting accusations of “dangerous incompetence” and bipartisan backlash to what is being increasingly seen as a blundered response to growing public concern. New reports indicate the White House is now considering appointing a “czar” to coordinate the government’s response to the looming crisis — in other words, filling the vacancy that Trump himself created when he fired the majority of the pandemic response chain of command — prompting further questions about what, if anything, Trump has done to date to properly prepare the country in the face of an imminent threat.
The criticism comes as the current global death toll has surged above a staggering 2,700 fatalities among 77, 150 confirmed cases. Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control appeared to directly contradict the White House’s posturing yesterday by suggesting a more dire and immediate threat to the United States than the Trump Administration previously let on.
Amidst the confusion, bipartisan concern in Washington over the Trump Administration’s lack of preparedness for this public health crisis has taken shape. Yesterday, Trump’s acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, was admonished by lawmakers, including key Republicans, for lacking adequate answers when pressed on the White House’s plan to contain the spread of Coronavirus in the U.S.
Now, the White House is desperately scrambling to secure funding to help fight the spread of disease, seeking to draw on taxpayer funding to prevent Coronavirus from turning into a widespread epidemic on the American homeland. The scramble comes after initial hesitations to ask Congress for funding to fight the disease but has since shifted to an emergency request of $2.5 billion. The emergency resources are reportedly being drawn from other health programs, including $535 million to fight Ebola.
The White House previously stated they hoped the virus would “burn itself out by summer,” rhetoric that has since been widely decried as overly optimistic. Officials now say the spread of the disease is “inevitable,” further raising questions about the White House’s lack of preparation to properly deal with the crisis. The change in tone comes after stock markets globally tanked in response to growing concerns about the virus and its impact on global public health and the economy.
The crisis engulfing the White House comes as Trump proposed a budget that would drastically cut the CDC’s budget by more than 15%. The proposed cuts represent a larger pattern of the president aiming to slash government funding for the agency since taking office in 2017.
The president hastily scheduled a primetime news conference for this evening to attempt to mitigate the growing bipartisan criticism he is facing in Washington from lawmakers and health experts.