Another wheel just came off the Trump wagon and this one is a doozy. Tomorrow, September 9, the U.S. Agency for International Development, shuts down the task force it set up to deal with the coronavirus, at the direction of the Trump administration. Since the virus is still raging in the U.S. and there is still no vaccine anywhere, it begs the question of “why?” The answer so far is that it was poorly managed, which we can believe, and that its functions can be delegated. Another first in Trump world, shutting down a pandemic task force in the middle of a pandemic. Politico:
The decision to end the task force also comes as President Donald Trump and his aides downplay the pandemic in the run-up to November’s elections. During the Republican National Convention, for instance, economic adviser Larry Kudlow spoke of the pandemic in the past tense, while a large, sparsely masked crowd packed the South Lawn of the White House for the president’s acceptance speech.
The White House has also stopped its regular news conferences focused on the pandemic, while largely sidelining the interagency coronavirus task force and its leading scientists, Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx.
According to the aid agency’s note and people familiar with the issue, the responsibilities of the USAID task force will be handed to other agency bureaus and divisions. “As we approach the deactivation of the Task Force on Sept. 9, the entire team is focused on ensuring a smooth transition of key functions back to Bureaus and Independent Offices,” the note read.
Hey, what’s a little more chaos? Read between these lines.
A Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authorization to speak publicly, expressed worries that “everyone is going to be fighting“ if there’s poor coordination.
A USAID official, also speaking on condition of anonymity for the same reason, was less concerned, saying the task force’s mandate was overly broad.
A “broad mandate” means that a lot can fall through the cracks, because duties are not outlined that specifically. This is, one, outrageous, two, an example of how the entire Trump administration is like a pair of cheap pants, splitting at the seams. I can’t wait to hear Mike Pence spin this as a good thing.