So people are freaking out about whether we’ll have enough masks, ventilators, and other crucial medical equipment when COVID-19 cases peak in this country. It’s what one might call a hair-on-fire emergency. And yet the Trump administration is still acting as if everything will all work out somehow.
A Saturday New York Times story made clear that the administration is dithering when it comes to actually implementing the Defense Production Act, which Trump invoked last week but apparently hasn’t used. And the orange cone-heads running our government don’t appear to have many answers when it comes to letting us know whether we’ll have to MacGyver sno-cone machines and basement bongs into ventilators when the darkness arrives:
Speaking at a White House briefing with Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence said the federal government had placed orders for “hundreds of millions” of the N-95 face masks that can shield medical workers from the virus. Mr. Trump said the clothing company Hanes was among those that had been enlisted to start churning out masks, although the company said they would not be the N-95 masks that are most effective in protecting medical workers.
Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Pence would say when the masks would be ready. And it is unclear whether enough new masks and other protective gear will be available before health care facilities start getting overwhelmed by a flood of infected patients. More than 21,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the United States, and that number is expected to soar in coming weeks.
Oh, great. Hanes. Well, I’ve been wearing a pair of Spider-Man Underoos over my head for weeks now, so it’s nice to know I’m not completely crazy.
So you’d think this would be No. 1 on the priority list, right? If we don’t have the requisite medical equipment when the tsunami comes, we’re pretty much effed.
Which is why this State of the Union interview from earlier today with FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor is so horrifying:
FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor says Pres. Trump hasn’t enforced the Defense Production Act to order companies to manufacture masks, ventilators and other critical supplies because companies are donating equipment. “It’s happening without using that lever.” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/2KYfE4ccHw
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) March 22, 2020
JAKE TAPPER: Has the president as of now, Sunday morning, ordered any companies to make more of any of these critical supplies?
PETE GAYNOR: No, and we haven’t yet. It really is leverage. I think, to demonstrate that, we can use it; the president can use it anytime. And it’s really amazing that — how great America is. All of these companies are coming up asking us what they can do to help. And we haven’t had to use it because companies around the country — donations. They’re saying, “What can we do to help you?” And It’s happening without using that lever. If it comes to a point where we have to pull the lever, we will. But right now it is really, it is really a great sign about the greatness of this country.
Why does that remind me of Trump’s declaration that he’s a “businessman” who doesn’t want to keep vital personnel on the payroll until he needs them?
So we’re really relying solely on the private sector’s largesse to get us through? The same people who took their wheelbarrows full cash from the tax scam and put them toward stock buybacks before turning around when the Trump-dump hit the fan and squealing for bailouts? That private sector?
How is it possible that this guy is still behind the curve? And why do I get the feeling he won’t implement the Defense Production Act until he runs low on critical McNugget sauces?
Please, can we just put Dr. Anthony Fauci in charge of this egregious carny shite-show so we can all get a decent night’s sleep for once?