The Washington Post has cited unnamed US officials as saying that despite the country’s intelligence community warning in January and February of a threat emanating from the coronavirus outbreak, the White House preferred to turn a deaf ear to the advice and was dragging its feet on a nationwide response.
The sources claimed that even though the intel community never elaborated on what the US should do to prevent the outbreak, they kept an eye on the international spread of COVID-19 which originated in Wuhan, China late last year.
The intelligence agencies “have been warning on this since January,” one of the sources asserted, adding, “[US President] Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it”.
White House press aide Hogan Gidley, for his part, rejected the claims, praising Trump taking “historic, aggressive measures to protect the health, wealth and safety of the American people".
Gidley underscored that POTUS did so while the media and the Democrats “chose to only focus on the stupid politics of a sham illegitimate impeachment”.
“It’s more than disgusting, despicable, and disgraceful for cowardly unnamed sources to attempt to rewrite history — it’s a clear threat to this great country”, Gidley concluded.
The statement comes after Trump declared the COVID-19 pandemic to be a "national emergency" last Friday, opening up billions of dollars in aid for US states and giving the health and human services secretary broad new powers to fight the outbreak. "No resource will be spared, nothing whatsoever”, he stressed, making available $50 billion in funds for US states and territories to fight the pandemic.
Trump Slams ‘Fake News Media’ for Making US Response to Coronavirus ‘Look Bad’
This followed Trump lashing out at the “Fake News Media” over its criticism of the federal government’s COVID-19 response, insisting that the White House has “a perfectly coordinated and fine-tuned plan at the White House for our attack on the coronavirus”.
We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus. We moved VERY early to close borders to certain areas, which was a Godsend. V.P. is doing a great job. The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2020
“We moved VERY early to close borders to certain areas, which was a Godsend. V.P. is doing a great job”, Trump tweeted on 8 March, referring to coronavirus task force chief Mike Pence.
In a separate tweet, POTUS accused The New York Times (NYT) of being “an embarrassment to journalism” and an “enemy of the people", presumably over its coronavirus reporting.
The New York Times is an embarrassment to journalism. They were a dead paper before I went into politics, and they will be a dead paper after I leave, which will be in 5 years. Fake News is the Enemy of the people!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2020
Earlier, anti-Trump slanted media, including the NYT, published reports criticising the US administration’s handling of the coronavirus, and blamed the president for “squandering” precious time and “losing control” of the situation.
This was preceded by reports that in a bid to keep calm and reduce market fears, Washington downplayed the significance of COVID-19 in recent weeks, with the Centres for Disease Control receiving flak for the poor availability of testing kits and the lack of testing for persons who had not visited China or come into contact with confirmed coronavirus patients.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are 10,442 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US, with the death toll currently at 150.