Trillions of dollars were wiped off stocks last week in the most severe market plunge since 2008. And today that trend continues as U.S. stock futures and markets in Europe fell. CNN reports that,“Dow futures are off 180 points, or 0.7% lower, after falling as many as 500 points and gaining as many as 600 points throughout a roller coaster night. S&P 500 futures have slid 1%, while Nasdaq futures have skid 0.4%.” And this is despite assurances from the world’s central banks that they will help limit economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C. Donald Trump deals with the first catastrophe not of his own making since he took office, and he is not only woefully out of his depth, his usual coping methods are blowing up in his face routinely. CNN:
On Sunday night, the President crowed about a poll that he said showed 77% of adults were confident the government could handle the situation.–“Gallup Poll numbers on the handling of this situation are outstanding, the best. Thank you!”–The poll that he was referring to, however, appeared to be one conducted between February 3-16 — well before the deaths on US soil, the spike of new cases and the stock market routs last week that exemplified growing panic about the coronavirus.
“I was criticized by the Democrats when I closed the Country down to China many weeks ahead of what almost everyone recommended. Saved many lives. Dems were working the Impeachment Hoax,” the President wrote. “They didn’t have a clue! Now they are fear mongering,” the President tweeted.
On May 8, 2018, Trump fired Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, who was serving on the National Security Council as the Director of Global Health Security. In that position, Ziemer was responsible for coordinating responses to global health emergencies and potential pandemics. Ziemer was praised as “one of the most quietly effective leaders in public health” — his work on malaria during the Obama administration was credited for saving millions of lives.
Instead of replacing Ziemer, Trump eliminated the position. Dr. Luciana Borio, the National Security Council director for medical and biodefense preparedness, left the same month and was not replaced.
So when the coronavirus began spreading globally, there was no one in the White House to coordinate the response. As the outbreak grew more severe, Trump reportedly ruled out appointing someone new to help manage the crisis, “worrying that bringing in a person from outside the administration might be seen as a failure — and wondering whether such a person would be loyal to him.”
Instead, Trump put Vice President Mike Pence in charge.
Before Pence’s appointment, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was scheduled to appear on all five Sunday political talk shows. But Fauci was ordered to cancel, and Pence made the rounds in his place.
Of course he did. Because Fauci isn’t a PR lackey, dedicated to the preservation of Donald Trump. Pence is.
“We’re seeing the beginning of community spread, which you know, is concerning,” Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday on CNN’s “New Day.”–“My concern is as the next week or two or three go by, we’re going to see a lot more community-related cases. That’s of great concern.”
“I am meeting with the major pharmaceutical companies today at the White House about progress on a vaccine and cure,” Trump tweeted. “Progress being made!”