Driving the Day: President Trump continued to fumble his way through the coronavirus response while failing to take accountability for obvious missteps by his administration. At a press conference to announce his declaration of a national state of emergency, he said, “I don’t take any responsibility at all” for the testing failures, and falsely claimed that with H1N1 the Obama administration “didn’t do testing like this” and didn’t test until “far too late.” Asked about the decision to disband the National Security Council’s pandemic team early in his term, Trump first called it a “nasty question” and then claimed, “I don’t know anything about it,” and “I didn’t do it.”
What to Watch For: The president has no public events on Saturday. On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci will appear on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week, State of the Union and Fox News Sunday.
President Trump held an afternoon press conference to announce his declaration of a national state of emergency to deal with the coronavirus. Despite the emergency declaration, Trump continued to downplay the seriousness of the outbreak saying, “Some doctors say the virus will wash through. It will flow through.” He called a series of corporate CEOs to the podium to discuss the efforts their companies are making, including establishing drive-through testing centers in Wal-Mart parking lots. Following the press conference, Google clarified that a nationwide website described by Trump that would help Americans determine whether and how to get tested did not actually exist and details remained sketchy on exactly what the corporations will be doing.
Asked about failures in testing, Trump said, “I don’t take any responsibility at all” and blamed “a set of circumstances” and rules from another time. Trump falsely claimed that with H1N1 the Obama administration “didn’t do testing like this” and didn’t test until “far too late.” Asked about the decision to disband the National Security Council’s pandemic team early in his term, Trump first called it a “nasty question” and then claimed, “I don’t know anything about it,” and “I didn’t do it.”
Trump also announced emergency economic measures, including waiving the interest on federally held student loans and an effort to “fill up” the strategic petroleum reserve to help the oil industry. He complained about the Democratic relief package being negotiated and said Democrats are not “giving enough” and are “not doing what’s right.” Hours later Trump tweeted that he “fully supports” the coronavirus relief bill being put forth by House Democrats. Following his press conference, Trump sent an autographed picture of the day’s stock market gains to Lou Dobbs.
After initially saying that he would not be tested for coronavirus after being in contact with a Brazilian official who later tested positive at Mar-A-Lago, Trump eventually said that he will “most likely” get tested. Late Friday night, the White House physician released a memo saying that, in contravention of most public health recommendations, Trump will not be tested and will not self-isolate.
At Trump’s press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked how long until the outbreak peaks. Fauci estimated eight or nine weeks if we are successful at flattening the curve, but said it could be more.
Late Friday night the House passed a sweeping coronavirus response package that included free testing, $1 billion in food aid and extended sick leave benefits to vulnerable Americans on a 363-40 vote. The package was supported by President Trump, but 40 Republicans voted against the bill and the Club For Growth urged conservatives to vote no. The Senate will take up the bill next week.
In an appearance on Tucker Carlson, CMS Administrator Seema Verma was asked four times in five minutes whether there is a shortage of ventilators in the U.S. and was unable to give a direct answer. Meanwhile, Washington Governor Jay Inslee appeared on MSNBC to say that he was “very concerned about the the state’s ventilator stocks.
By The Numbers
Saturday, March 14, 2020, 9:30 AM
Number of US cases: 2,195
Number of US deaths: 49
Number of states with confirmed cases: 49 + Washington, DC and Puerto Rico
Total Number of People Tested in US: Unknown
Federal Health Response
Associated Press: U.S. hospitals brace for ‘tremendous strain’ from new virus
CNBC: US officials shake hands, touch their faces and share a microphone at coronavirus press briefing
Los Angeles Times: Trump administration blocks states from using Medicaid to respond to coronavirus crisis
Mother Jones: Total Isolation. No Testing. Communication Breakdown. Inside the Coronavirus Cruise Ship Evacuation.
NPR: White House Knew Coronavirus Would Be A ‘Major Threat’ — But Response Fell Short
New York Times: Travelers From Coronavirus Hot Spots Say They Faced No Screening
New York Times: Worst-Case Estimates for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths
New York Times: Amid a Pandemic, Trump Moves Forward With Safety Net Cuts
New York Times: Efforts to Control the Coronavirus in the U.S. Could Get Even More Extreme
New York Times (Opinion): Our Courts and Jails Are Putting Lives at Risk
New York Times (Opinion): How to Fix the Coronavirus Testing Mess in 7 Days
New York Times: In the Eye of the Coronavirus Testing Storm: Robert Redfield of the C.D.C.
ProPublica: Emergency Medical Responders Have Lacked Guidance and Are Stretched for Supplies and Personnel to Combat Coronavirus
ProPublica: Some Towns Still Haven’t Halted Utility Shut-offs for Unpaid Water Bills During Coronavirus, Even as Federal Lawmakers Demand It
Talking Points Memo: Verma Dodges Basic COVID Questions, Praises Trump’s ‘Bold and Decisive Action’
Washington Post: Lag in coronavirus testing triggers political uproar as Trump insists process is ‘very smooth’
Washington Post: This is the coronavirus math that has experts so worried: Running out of ventilators, hospital beds
Washington Post: Coronavirus is shutting down American life as states try to battle outbreak
Washington Post: Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus, but questions raised about what’s next
Washington Post: Trump says he will partner with private sector to expand coronavirus testing but details are sketchy
Washington Post (Opinion): The original sin in the U.S. response to coronavirus is lack of testing
Federal Economic Response
Bloomberg: Trump Food-Stamp Cuts Blocked by Judge Who Cites Pandemic
Politico: Trump to waive interest on federal student loans ‘until further notice’
Washington Post: Fill ‘er up: Trump to buy oil to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — and help companies
Associated Press: As virus inches closer to Trump, questions swirl on testing
The Atlantic (Ideas): The Trump Presidency Is Over
Business Insider: Trump says Google is building a website to help with coronavirus tests — but his announcement seems to have been misleading
Buzzfeed: A Map Of The Coronavirus Exposures In Trump’s Orbit In Just Two Weeks
CNN: Australian official who met with Ivanka Trump and Barr last week tests positive for coronavirus
CNN: Trump sends signed chart showing stock market gains to supporters after he declared coronavirus a national emergency
CNN: Google says it’s not publishing a national-scale coronavirus site anytime soon after Trump announcement
Daily Beast: Google: Coronavirus Testing Site Announced by Trump Still in ‘Early Stages’
NBC: How Trump may have flattened the political curve of coronavirus
New York Magazine: Why Isn’t Trump in Quarantine?
New York Times: Trump’s False Claims About His Response to the Coronavirus
New York Times: Seeking Advice on the Coronavirus, Jared Kushner Enlists a Doctor in the Family
Politico: A Facebook group gets an assignment: Help Jared Kushner combat coronavirus
Rolling Stone: Report: Trump Dropped the Ball on Coronavirus Testing Because He Only Wanted Good News
Slate: Does Donald Trump Have the Coronavirus?
Slate: Trump Seems to Think a Bunch of CEOs Will Save America From the Coronavirus
Vanity Fair: How Trump Made America Far Less Prepared For Coronavirus
The Verge: Contrary to Trump’s claim, Google is not building a nationwide coronavirus screening website
Vox: “I don’t take responsibility at all”: Trump continues downplaying coronavirus threat
Washington Post: Trump defiant on testing and handshakes even as third Mar-a-Lago case emerges
Washington Post: Trump’s go-it-alone approach put to the test by global coronavirus pandemic
Washington Post (Perspective): I ran the White House pandemic office. Trump closed it.
Wired: Trump Caught Google Off Guard With a Bogus Coronavirus Site Announcement
Politico: Trump tweet seals accord on coronavirus relief package
Roll Call: Agreement reached on coronavirus stimulus
Washington Post: Capitol Hill faced the coronavirus this week with hand sanitizer and a bit of fatalism.
Affordability and Access
HuffPost: I Live In Seattle. No One Can Tell Me What It Costs To Get A COVID-19 Test.
HuffPost: What ‘Distance Learning’ Looks Like For Students Without Computers Or Wi-Fi
Bloomberg: Fox Business Host Trish Regan on Hiatus After Virus Comments
Buzzfeed: Chinese Diplomats Are Pushing Conspiracy Theories That The Coronavirus Didn’t Originate In China
Campaigns and Elections
Associated Press: Amid virus fears, Trump moves away from rallies — for now
The Atlantic: How to Run an Election in a Pandemic
CNBC: Louisiana postpones Democratic primary over coronavirus, the first state to do so
New York Times: How 4 Big States Are Preparing to Vote as the Coronavirus Spreads
New York Times: Joe Biden Goes Digital. It Could Have Gone, Um, Smoother.
Tampa Bay Times: More polling sites moved over coronavirus fears, five days before Florida primary
Washington Post: Some Democrats urge party to weigh alternatives for national convention amid coronavirus outbreak
Bloomberg: Italy’s Nightmare Offers a Chilling Preview of What’s Coming
New York Times: Johnson Holds Back on Restrictive Measures in U.K.’s Fight to Curb Virus
New York Times: Two Women Fell Sick From the Coronavirus. One Survived.
New York Times: As Europe Shuts Down, Britain Takes a Different, and Contentious, Approach
New York Times (Opinion): They’ve Contained the Coronavirus. Here’s How.
Wall Street Journal: East vs. West: Coronavirus Fight Tests Divergent Strategies
Economic And Social Impacts
Buzzfeed: The Unique Pain Of Not Being Able To Give Your Dad A Proper Funeral Due To The Coronavirus
CNBC: Patagonia is closing all of its stores and shutting down its website because of the coronavirus
CNN: Grubhub suspends collecting up to $100 million in fees from struggling restaurants amid coronavirus crisis
The Guardian (Opinion): Why suspending the NBA season was a glorious act of patriotism
New York Magazine: No Longer on the Gassy Periphery, Beans Take Center Stage
New York Times: Everybody Ready for the Big Migration to Online College? Actually, No
New York Times: He Has 17,000 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer and Nowhere to Sell Them
Politico: Ridership across mass transit plummets amid coronavirus
Time: Visiting My Sick Mom Could Put Her Life at Greater Risk. But How Many More Times Will I Get to See Her?
Vice: Whole Foods Suggests That Workers Share Paid Time Off During Coronavirus
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Prep Divides Couples: How Many Cans of Tuna Are Too Many?
Washington Post: A small town takes a big hit after coronavirus is confirmed in its midst
Los Angeles Times: Coronavirus: Do I have to work from home?
In The States
Miami Herald: Miami mayor tests positive for coronavirus after event with Brazil President Bolsonaro
Buzzfeed: People Inside America’s First Coronavirus Containment Zone Are Confused And Angry
Politico: Andrew Cuomo versus the coronavirus
Wall Street Journal: Broadway Going Dark Could Mean Losses Above $100 Million
Buzzfeed: A Senator From The State Hit Hardest By Coronavirus Is “So Angry And Frustrated” With Trump For Not Responding Sooner
Seattle Times: Scarcity of coronavirus testing continues to stymie Washington as disease spreads
Washington Post: D.C. Public Schools will close beginning Monday as officials attempt to contain virus outbreak
“BIGGEST STOCK MARKET RISE IN HISTORY YESTERDAY!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/14/20]
“Good teamwork between Republicans & Democrats as the House passes the big CoronaVirus Relief Bill. People really pulled together. Nice to see!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/13/20]
“To those families and citizens who are worried and concerned for themselves and their loved ones, I want you to know that your Federal Government will unleash every authority, resource and tool at its disposal to safeguard the lives and health of our people.” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/13/20]
“I fully support H.R. 6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, which will be voted on in the House this evening. This Bill will follow my direction for free CoronaVirus tests, and paid sick leave for our impacted American workers. I have directed the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations that will provide flexibility so that in no way will Small Businesses be hurt. I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES! I will always put the health and well-being of American families FIRST. Look forward to signing the final Bill, ASAP!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/13/20]
“Americans are the strongest and most resilient people on earth…We will remove or eliminate every obstacle necessary to deliver our people the care that they need, and that they are entitled to. No resource will be spared.” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/13/20]
“It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer. We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these. No matter where you may be, I encourage you to turn towards prayer in an act of faith. Together, we will easily PREVAIL!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/13/20]
“At my request, effective midnight tonight, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and MSC have all agreed to suspend outbound cruises for thirty days. It is a great and important industry – it will be kept that way!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/13/20]
“To this point, and because we have had a very strong border policy, we have had 40 deaths related to CoronaVirus. If we had weak or open borders, that number would be many times higher!” [@realDonaldTrump, 3/13/20]