President Trump ignored CIA warnings about coronavirus pandemic for MONTHS as anxious aides struggled to get him to take COVID-19 threat seriously, bombshell report claims
- Multiple government officials – including members of Trump’s administration – have told The Washington Post that President ignored intelligence warnings
- Officials were first alerted to the threat of COVID-19 on Jan 3, but Health Secretary Alex Azar allegedly had trouble contacting Trump until Jan 18
- CIA told Trump that China may have been ‘minimizing the severity of the outbreak’, but the President later praised the country for its ‘transparency’
- Anxious White House aides pressured Chief-of-Staff Mick Mulvaney to conduct regular meetings with Trump, but President was allegedly ‘dismissive’
- Trump continued to downplay threat of the virus on Twitter until early March
- As of Saturday, 19,643 Americans have tested positive to COVID-19 and 262 have died
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
President Trump ignored warnings from US intelligence agencies about the threat of a coronavirus pandemic, according to a bombshell report in The Washington Post.
One intelligence official and several Trump Administration officials spoke to the publication Friday on the condition of anonymity, claiming the President downplayed the COVID-19 threat in spite of growing anxiety from aides and members of his own cabinet throughout January and February.
‘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,’ one official stated, adding: ‘The system was blinking red.’
Officials were first alerted to reports about cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China on January 3, after a director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spoke with Chinese colleagues.
‘Ominous, classified warnings’ purportedly put together by the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence began to increase over the course of the month.
‘There was obviously a lot of chatter in January,’ one of the officials told The Post.
President Trump ignored warnings from US intelligence agencies about the threat of a coronavirus pandemic, according to a bombshell report in The Washington Post
Despite this, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had trouble contacting Trump until January 18.
Two officials told The Post that when Azar finally got a hold of Trump over the phone and attempted to discuss the coronavirus, ‘the President interjected to ask about vaping and when flavored vaping products would be back on the market’.
Meanwhile, the intelligence reports also warned that ‘Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak’.
But on January 24, Trump took to Twitter to praise China for its ‘transparency’ about COVID-19 infections.
‘China has been working hard to contain the coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In Particular, on behalf of the American people, I want to thank President Xi,’ he wrote.
On the exact same day, The Senate Health Committee held a private all-senators briefing about the coronavirus with a director from the CDC.
As alarm bells continued to ring, White House aides became increasing anxious.
The CIA declined to comment on The Washington Post report. Their headquarters are pictured
Health workers are pictured ready to test patients for COVID-19 at a drive-thru center in Virginia on Friday
Trump minimized the threat of COVID-19 on January 30, despite anxious chatter in The White House
Trump continued to state that the virus was under control in late February
Three days later, on January 27, several aides are reported to have gone to office of White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to urge that senior officials do more about the threat of coronavirus.
Mulvaney soon began setting up regular meetings about COVID-19, but Trump was allegedly ‘dismissive’ in the initial phases ‘because he did not believe that the virus had spread widely throughout the United States.’
As coronavirus continued to spread in February, and US agencies tracked its spread around the globe, Trump continued to publicly downplay the threat.
On February 3, Trump banned people from entering the US who has been in China in the past 14 days, but publicly and privately remained confident that it posed little threat to the US.
‘We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it,’ he stated on February 14. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.’
Less than two weeks ago, Trump was still dismissing the potential impact of COVID-19 on his social media account. His tone reportedly changed after a meeting with Dr Deborah Birx
Medical personnel in protective clothing work at a coronavirus testing location at Jones Beach State Park in Hempstead, New York earlier this week
The number of infections has been rising dramatically since last weekend
‘I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus,’ he said on February 19.
On February 24, Trump tweeted: ‘The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant counties. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!’
According to the sources who spoke with The Washington Post, the following day Trump complained to Secretary Azar that a CDC official ‘was scaring the stock markets’ by stating that COVID-19 could cause ‘severe’ disruption to American life.
However, as the number of cases continued to rise slowly into March, Trump doubled down on Twitter.
‘So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At the moment there are 546 confirmed cases of Coronavirus with 22 deaths. Think about that!’ he wrote on March 9.
Trump denied claims he did not take coronavirus threats seriously in a tweet shared Thursday
However, in the past two weeks, as case numbers have exploded, Trump’s perspective has dramatically changed.
‘According to The Washington Post, Trump eventually changed his tone after being shown statistical models about the spread of the virus from other countries and hearing directly from Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force’.
However, Trump tweeted to his followers on Tuesday, that reports he dismissed the seriousness of COVID-19 is a ‘new narrative’ by ‘the Fake News’.
A spokesperson for White House spokesperson similarly told The Post in a statement: ‘President Trump has taken historic, aggressive measures to protect the health, wealth and safety of the American people — and did so, while the media and 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.’
As of Saturday morning, 19, 643 Americans have tested positive to coronavirus, and 262 have died.
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