President Trump Appoints VP Pence As Coronavirus Czar

Update (1845): In his long-awaited press conference, President Trump defended the White House’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, insisted that he would accept whatever amount of crisis-response funds approved by Congress and appointed VP Mike to be his “Coronavirus Czar”.

In the middle of Trump’s presser, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell report, claiming that the latest US coronavirus case has been confirmed in Northern California, and that it was the first case with no clear path of origin. That case would be the US’s 16th.

Trump started with an update on the 15 confirmed US cases that weren’t infected aboard the Diamond Princess or in Wuhan, claiming that 8 of 15 have returned, only 1 is still in the hospital, and 5 have fully recovered.

On the subject of the emergency spending package, Trump said that “if Congress wants to give us more, we’ll take it.”

Though he added that “hopefully we won’t need too much because we’ve done a tremendous job,” Trump said.

In one of the funnier moments, Trump remarked about the flu: “The flu kills between 25,000 to 60,000 people a year – that was shocking to me.”

The president also stressed America’s readiness for anything.

“We’re very, very ready for this, for anything, whether it’s going to be a breakout with larger proportions or whether we stay at that very low level,” Trump said.

Moving on to the subject of a vaccine, Trump said he expected one would be finished “fairly rapidly.”

“We have a lot of great quarantine facilities we’re rapidly developing a vaccine and speaking to a the doctors we think this is something we can develop fairly rapidly.”

Later in the presser, Dr. Fauci, the CDC’s infectious-disease response head, noted during the presser that it will take at least six months for ‘Phase One’ trial to be conducted. Though this is the fastest we have ever gone from a  sequence of a virus to a trial, it will still take a year to a year and a half to come up with a vaccine. We will know soon if it works.

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC also spoke, saying “the message is clear: more cases are expected… which explains why Dow futures are extending losses (below the lows of the day).

“We do expect more cases and this is a good time to prepare,” she said.

HHS Secretary Azar also spoke, reiterating that that Americans, hospitals and local governments across the country should start to prepare in case coronavirus begins spreading more widely here.

After Trump announced his plan to appoint VP Mike Pence to lead the virus response, he invited Pence up to speak about his qualifications and his plan for leading the federal response. Pence cited his experience in dealing with the MERS outbreak in 2014 – Indiana was the first state to report a case in that instance.”

As the Q&A began, Trump told a reporter that  “no I don’t think it’s inevitable” when asked by a reporter about the CDC’s comments yesterday about the likelihood of “community” outbreaks. Trump answered another reporter’s question, claiming the US may need t restrict travel from Italy and South Korea, though “this is not the right time.”

The outbreak will impact US GDP, Trump acknowledged, though he said the impact “cannot really be determined.”

One reporter asked Trump for his thoughts on the stock market’s wild ride, which he blamed – in comic fashion – on the Dems.

“I think investors looked on stage last night and said if there’s even a possibility that could happen – I think it takes a hit for that. I think the stock market will recover. the Economy is very strong. The consumer is doing better than they’ve ever done.”

As for quarantine measures, Trump said he has plans for quarantines “on larger scale” if needed, though apparently the market didn’t like that.

Stock futures moved lower during the presser as Trump spoke about the administration’s virus-response plans:

As the Q&A dragged on, Trump addressed the Olympics, and whether schools should start preparing for the virus.

Trump was also asked what he’d say to Americans planning a vacation, and that the games would go on.

“Hopefully, they’re going to be able to do that. We think, we hope it’s going to be in good shape by that time,” Trump said.

“This ends, this is going to end. Hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later,” Trump said. Travel companies whose stocks have fallen will pick their business back up then, he predicts.

As for whether schools should be prepared, Trump said “every aspect of our society should be prepared.”

Trump also threw some shade at “incompetent” Nancy Pelosi.

“I think she’s incompetent,” Trump said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who criticized his administration’s response to the coronavirus.

Asked about the travel restrictions, Trump said he won’t loosen travel restrictions on China at this time.

As for whether he think people are panicking, Trump said. “You don’t want to see panic, because there’s no reason to be panicked,” Trump said.

Of course, Trump can’t talk about a market selloff without bashing the Fed, which he did on Wednesday. Specifically, he said he was “not happy” with the Fed funds rate, and blamed the Fed, Boeing and GE for the market carnage, while also bashing the central bank for the strong dollar.

“I totally disagree with our Fed; I think our Fed has made a terrible mistake,” Trump said.

Asked why Trump put Pence in charge of the virus response if Azar is doing such a good job (as Trump insisted following the news about the ‘coronavirus czar’ earlier today), Trump said Azar has other priorities on his plate, including drug pricing.

With reporters scrambling to think of every “gotcha” question imaginable, Trump was asked how he could possibly trust the Chinese after they lied during the early days of the epidemic. Trump dismissed these claims and insisted the US is still working with China, and that his relationship with Xi hasn’t been impacted by the outbreak.

* * *

A day after he sought to minimize fears of the virus spreading widely across the U.S., President Trump is holding a White House press conference (pushed back from 1800ET to 1830ET) alongside experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Trump and members of his administration have been sending mixed messages about the virus (WH’s Kudlow “contained”, CDC’s Messonnier “it’s coming!”) and we assume tonight will be to ‘clarify’ the message and attempt to calm markets (after another fall today.

Watch:

As AP reports, on Capitol Hill, senior lawmakers called for a bipartisan spending package that would give federal, state and local officials more resources. Congress in recent years took a similar approach with the opioid epidemic, pumping out federal dollars for treatment and prevention.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York unveiled an $8.5 billion coronavirus proposal. Schumer has been harshly critical of Trump’s response to the outbreak, and his request – announced before the Democratic-controlled House Appropriations Committee has weighed in – rankled some Democrats hoping for quick, bipartisan action to address the crisis.

*  *  *

One thing does make our eyebrows raise a little is the CDC official that raised what is somewhat unprecedented alerts yesterday has an interesting family linkage.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC Director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, warned ominously that:

“As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder. It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses.

Disruption to everyday life might be severe…

…We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”

In addition, Messonnier warned that it may soon become necessary for schools and businesses to greatly restrict person to person contact…

The CDC outlined what schools and businesses will likely need to do if the COVID-19 virus becomes an epidemic outbreak in the U.S. Schools should consider dividing students into smaller groups or close and use “internet-based tele-schooling,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on a conference call.

“For adults, businesses can replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options,” Messonnier said.

Can you ever recall a top CDC official ever making statements this ominous?

Well, it turns out Dr. Nancy Messonnier is the sister of the former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Could she be part of the resistance?

Remember, it was reported that CDC employees cried when Trump was elected.

via zerohedge

5 comments

  1. I don’t think Trump is sending “mixed” messages!! I think he is saying it is not bad YET, which is true, but it could get bad, which is ALSO true. BUT, if we get ahead of it, it probably WON’T!!
    And the CDC Agent has said basically the same thing. BUT if it does get bad or look like it will be getting bad, this is what will have to be done, so prepare!!db

  2. The vp (aka the toady) is a cold, cruel, religious extremist who is Misogynist, Sexist, Homophobic, Xenophobic, Isolationist, Islamophobe, anti-science, anti-vaccine, anti-abortion, anti-environment. He supports “conversion therapy” for gays, has promoted “Religious Freedom” laws (right to legally discriminate), privatization of Social Security, and the creation of a Christian Theocracy in America. He has proven himself to be intentional LIAR in support of a pathological liar in the form of the sitting president.
    The first time Pence pushed to defund the reproductive health care provider Planned Parenthood was in 2011, when, as a congressman, he pushed an amendment through the legislature that would cut off funding to any entity that performed abortions. A federal judge recognized the law as unconstitutional and blocked it, but Republicans in the house nevertheless ensured through other means that by 2014 Planned Parenthood received only $1.9 million from the state — a fraction of the $3.3 million it got in 2005. For this reason, it was forced to closed five of its clinics in the state. Each of them had offered HIV testing and other services.

    In fact, none of the closed clinics had ever offered abortions. One of those was in tiny, poor Scott County, the site of a mass addiction to the drug Opana, according to The Chicago Tribune, which users liquefy and then inject with needles. When they had access to Planned Parenthood and the HIV prevention, intervention, and counseling services it provided, the disease reportedly could not proliferate the way it did when the county lost those safety nets. The clinic shut down in 2013, and by 2015, 150 of its residents were infected. By April 2016, the number had swelled to 190.

    Pence has been a longtime opponent of needle exchange programs that provide addicts with clean needles to use to shoot up in order to halt the spread of disease. There is a statewide ban on them in place, although Pence did lift it in Scott County after the emergence of the outbreak. Despite clear evidence that these types of programs work, Pence has made no effort to lift that ban in the state as a whole. He’s also pledged to veto any potential bill to do so.

    When he was running for Congress in 2000, Pence wrote on his website that he wanted to apply money from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to organizations “which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior” instead, BuzzFeed reported. Yes, you actually read that right. Although this far predates the HIV scandal that would later mar his reputation among LGBT activists and allies, Pence once publicly and proudly announced that he’d rather fund useless gay conversion therapy than combat HIV/AIDS and help those living with it.

    “From spreading misinformation about condom use, to contributing to a major outbreak of HIV and AIDS in his home state, Pence has been reckless with the health and lives of those he is sworn to serve, choosing to promote a dangerous ideology over making the right decisions for the American people,” Johnson said.

    During that time, Pence dragged his feet and pray about it as the disease spread to crisis situation. Although the outbreak was identified in late January of 2015, it took Pence until April of that year to allow a temporary needle exchange in Scott County. It was a big shift for the governor, who was morally opposed to needle exchanges and believed they promoted drug use.

    VOTE BLUE!

    1. Thank you for your letter. It’s all true and an excellent reason to NOT remove Trump from office. I can’t imagine Pence as President.

    2. Garry Brew, What you’ve written is a lie and it is your opinion; ONLY your opinion.

      Rush is right. Actually the Mortality Rate is slightly less than 2%.
      This isn’t 1918 folks!
      And blaming it on Trump is like blaming Nixon from Hurricane Camille, or the Spanish Flu on Wilson (though I’m no fan of his).
      The Left will do or say ANYTHING! Including the absurd.

      Vote RED and pray!

  3. Real Conservatives Unite???? I question that this is a Conservative website. First LIE, President Trump has NOT appointed a ‘czar.’ Czar has Russian connotations; we don’t use the term czar in our government. With the exception of Barry Hussein.
    Obama selected Ron Klain as Ebola czar. Obama stated Klain would coordinate the government’s response, saying that “it may make sense for us to have one person, in part just so that after this initial surge of activity we can have a more regular process just to make sure that we’re crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s going forward.”
    Klain was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden from 2009 to 2011 and also served in the same position under Vice President Al Gore. He was also a key member of the team that helped Obama prepare for presidential debates. KLAIN HAS NO MEDICAL TRAINING OR EXPERIENCE! Pense is the V.P, holding the second highest office in the U.S., he is coordinating the activity from various agencies. A great choice!

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