The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released its Final Report on Friday. In case you don’t want to read the entire 208 pages with 892 footnotes, here’s a spoiler: the Trump administration was the villain and the Biden administration the hero in what we all know from experience and observation has been a very deadly, twisted set of events these past few years.
Entitled “Preparing for and Preventing the Next Public Health Emergency: Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus Crisis,” the report places blame where it’s due but aims to suggest how the federal government can do better with preventing and handling the next crisis. (Another spoiler: not electing Donald Trump or anyone like him as the nation’s chief executive ever again would be wise.)
The Subcommittee’s voluminous report arrives after reviewing over 950,000 documents, sending nearly 400 letters, holding 42 public briefings and hearings, publishing 37 staff reports, and conducting and transcribing 24 interviews. While the report found that the United States entered the crisis with a chronically underfunded public health infrastructure, the particularly dismal situation in the United States was “in no small part” due to the Trump administration’s failures.
The problem was far more sinister and disturbing than a President of the United States merely being asleep at the wheel. “Once the coronavirus outbreak erupted into a full-blown crisis,” the report explained, “the Trump Administration engaged in an unprecedented campaign to control and even manipulate the work of scientists leading the public health response.”
Specifically, the Trump administration blocked CDC communications with the public while manipulating guidance, and it interfered with the FDA’s efforts, pressuring that agency to reauthorize hydroxychloroquine after it was proven ineffective and dangerous. “On top of all this,” the report notes, Trump pushed a “dangerous and discredited herd immunity via mass infection” long before vaccines arrived.
The report singles out Trump individually numerous times for coronavirus crisis villainy. For example, the report cites a Cornell University study that, after analyzing 38 million pandemic articles, concluded that Trump was the “single largest driver of coronavirus misinformation between January 1 and May 26, 2020.” The report also details how misinformation has translated into undeserved harassment, threats, and attacks on public health officials.
By contrast, the report notes, the Biden administration “took immediate action” to reverse the former guy’s malevolence, including a sweeping vaccination campaign that aided a “historic economic recovery” that quickly regained jobs lost to the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan also helped ensure an end to the crisis phase, such as providing the funding needed to safely reopen 99% of schools.
The Subcommittee’s report offers 30 recommendations to improve the United States’ handling of public health and economic emergencies. However, the biggest takeaway is what we already knew—that Trump, for his own political and narcissistic reasons, worked hard to not keep America safe. In further exposing Trump’s role in this crisis, this report serves as yet another reminder that elections have consequences.