The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Dr. Nancy Messonier

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In a deeply reported Wall Street Journal piece on Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar's mishandling of the coronavirus crisis, a bombshell detail buried in the story cast light on President Donald Trump's own disastrous instincts.

According to the report, Trump wanted to fire Dr. Nancy Messonnier — the official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who first shared the gravity of the pandemic with the American people.


On Feb. 25, after Trump had spent a month downplaying the outbreak and defending China's honesty in its response, Messonnier sent a clear signal about just how bad things could get.

"We expect we will see community spread in this country," she said. "The disruption to everyday life might be severe."

This statement rocked the stock market. That day, the Dow dropped 800 points, the beginning of a massive downward slide we still haven't recovered from.

She was, of course, right. But Azar tried to walk her concerns back, saying the virus was "contained" — which it quite clearly wasn't. Since that time, there have been many accusations recriminations about how institutions responded to the early days of the pandemic, particularly the media and the Trump administration. But while the case of the media is complicated, the failures of the Trump administration — especially Trump himself — to warn the public are undeniable.

Trump was "furious" about Messonnier's comments, the Journal reported, and he "called Mr. Azar and threatened to oust Dr. Messonnier." She has been sidelined since.

The episode is deeply concerning, as it highlights the amount of pressure other officials must feel to hew to the president's preferred narrative. On the same day the Journal's piece was published, another Trump administration doctor said that he had been ousted from two top positions because he was critical of the president's preferred and still unproven drug to treat COVID-19. Given how often Trump has lied to and misled the country, and how important dissent is in government, this trend portends poorly for the security of the country as the pandemic continues.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

New details about the direct role that Donald Trump played in developing a strategy to overturn the 2020 election were revealed in a federal court filing from election coup attorney John Eastman late Thursday.

Eastman is several months into a battle to keep records of his work for Trump in the run-up to January 6 confidential. but in his latest parry to bar access to emails he says should be protected under attorney-client privilege, he has revealed that Trump sent him at least “two hand-written notes” containing information “he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation” challenging election results.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}