Usa Today Fact Checks Claim Trump Fired Entire Nsc Global Health Unit
USA TODAY: Fact check: White House didnt fire pandemic response unit when it was disbanded in 2018In May 2018, former national security adviser John Bolton restructured Trumps National Security Council and disbanded the global health unit. Its former head, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, resigned from the administration and was not replaced. Though the unit was disbanded, not all members of the team left. Some moved to other units in the NSC, like those focused on weapons of mass destruction and international organizations, per the Washington Post. Based on our research, the claim that President Trump fired the entire pandemic response team is PARTLY FALSE. The Directorate of Global Health Security and Biodefense was disbanded under Trumps then-national security adviser John Bolton. But Trump didnt fire its members. Some resigned, and others moved to different units on the National Security Council .
The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.
Trump Struggles To Explain Why He Disbanded His Global Health Team
One of Donald Trump’s most important missteps in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak happened before anyone had even heard of COVID-19. In fact, the president’s first error came back in 2018.
It was two years ago when Trump ordered the shutdown of the White House National Security Council’s entire global health security unit. NBC News had a good report on this recently, noting that the president’s decision “to downsize the White House national security staff — and eliminate jobs addressing global pandemics — is likely to hamper the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus.”
It was against this backdrop that a reporter asked Trump late last week about whether he was prepared to “rethink having an Office of Pandemic Preparation in the White House.” The president replied:
“I just think this is something, Peter, that you can never really think is going to happen. You know, who — I’ve heard all about, ‘This could be…’ — you know, ‘This could be a big deal,’ from before it happened. You know, this — something like this could happen…. Who would have thought? Look, how long ago is it? Six, seven, eight weeks ago — who would have thought we would even be having the subject? … You never really know when something like this is going to strike and what it’s going to be.”
Pandemic Response Unit Was Formed Under Obama
In 2016, President Barack Obama expanded the National Security Council to include the Directorate of Global Health Security and Biodefense.
The unit, which focused in large part on pandemic preparedness, was formed in response to criticism of how his administration handled the Ebola outbreak in 2014-15, according to USA TODAY.
In May 2018, former national security adviser John Bolton restructured Trump’s National Security Council and disbanded the global health unit. Its former head, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, resigned from the administration and was not replaced.
Tim Morrison, a former senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense on the NSC, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post that he “inherited a strong and skilled staff in the counterproliferation and biodefense directorate” when he joined in July 2018.
“This team of national experts together drafted the National Biodefense Strategy of 2018 and an accompanying national security presidential memorandum to implement it an executive order to modernize influenza vaccines and coordinated the United States response to the Ebola epidemic in Congo, which was ultimately defeated in 2020,” he wrote.
He also said that the reorganization of the NSC was necessary after the “bloat that occurred” under Obama, when the staff quadrupled to nearly 400 a figure that even members of the Obama administration agreed was too large.
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Trump Administration Cut Pandemic Early Warning Program In September
- Predict project wound down three months before outbreak
- Project had identified 160 potentially dangerous coronaviruses
- See all our coronavirus coverage
The Trump administration decided to end a $200m early warning program designed to alert it to potential pandemics just three months before it is believed Covid-19 began infecting people in China.
The project, called Predict, had been run by the US Agency for International Development since 2009. It had identified more than 160 different coronaviruses that had the potential to develop into pandemics, including a virus that is considered the closest known relative to Covid-19.
A decision to wind down the program was made, however, in September, just three months before the first reports of people becoming infected with Covid-19 in Wuhan, China. The end of the program saw the departure of dozens of scientists and analysts working to identify potential pandemics in countries around the world, including China.
âIt was a genius, visionary program that USAid took a big risk to fund and itâs a crying shame it was canceled,â said Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit specialist in tackling wildlife-borne disease that was one of the major partners in the program.
The news about Predictâs demise was first reported in the Los Angeles Times.
Dems Misconstrue Trump Budget Remarks
Posted on March 20, 2020
After President Donald Trump said, I dont know anything about the disbanding of a White House pandemic response office, the Democrats claimed that he lied and pointed to Trumps earlier remarks about some of the people we cut as evidence. But those remarks were in response to a question about proposed budget cuts not the anti-pandemic team in question.
Several Democrats have criticized the Trump administrations response to the coronavirus outbreak by pointing to the dissolving of a team within the White Houses National Security Council dedicated to coordinating a response to a pandemic. As weve written before, in 2018, the administration did eliminate a key position that would have been involved in such a response the senior director of the NSCs Office of Global Health Security and Biodefense. But that doesnt mean the responsibilities of that office were eliminated.
Administration officials have described a reorganization or streamlining of the NSC. An NSC spokesman told the Washington Post in May 2018 that the administration will continue to address these issues with the same resolve under the new structure.
Some still have been critical of the elimination of the post or a separate global health team. For instance, the Center for Strategic & International Studies recommended in a November 2019 report restoring the position on the NSC as one of seven key changes to better protect the American public from global health threats.
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Fmr Head Of Us Foreign Disaster Assistance On The Coronavirus: The Risk Is Real
“That has not happened until the last few days, we have lost a lot of time,” he told NBC News. “Putting some passive guidance on the website is very different from saying you need to begin conserving and rationing personal protective equipment or you need to triage health care.”
After being briefed on Capitol Hill, some lawmakers have expressed concern.
Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, questioned why there were eight officials in the briefing he received.
“And I’d note that this is probably something that justifies having one person in government who can work across the various departments and agencies to make sure we have a unified response to protect our citizens,” he told reporters.
In response to a Trump administration request this week for $2.5 billion in emergency funding, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted, “Americans need a coordinated, fully funded, whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe. The President’s request for coronavirus response funding is long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency.”
The U.S. must immediately stop all flights from EBOLA infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our “borders.” Act fast!
Donald J. Trump
Trump has said the media is hyping the severity of the coronavirus. In 2014, during the Ebola outbreak, he took a much different view, criticizing Obama.
While much more lethal than coronavirus, Ebola does not spread nearly as fast or easily.
Pandemic Office Created After Ebola Epidemic
Whether the office was disbanded or streamlined, there’s no question a number of top-notch global health experts left the administration in the wake of Bolton’s decision. At the top of that list: Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, who had been Trump’s senior director for global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council. Before that, Ziemer led a global anti-malaria initiative in the George W. Bush administration.
President Barack Obama created the pandemic preparedness office at the National Security Council in 2016, after his administration was criticized for its initial response to the Ebola epidemic in 2014 and 2015.
Republican lawmakers blasted Obama for refusing to impose travel bans and quarantines. When two American nurses contracted Ebola in 2014 while caring for an infected patient, some GOP lawmakers called on Obama to designate a czar or oversee the response.
Id like to know whos in charge, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said at the time. Obama eventually tapped Ron Klain, who had served as chief of staff to two Democratic vice presidents, to lead the Ebola response.
As the outbreak in West Africa subsided in 2015 and he prepared to leave, Klain pressed Obama to set up a permanent directorate within the National Security Council to coordinate pandemic preparedness and response across the federal government.
Obama took Klain’s advice and created the unit to prepare for future disease outbreaks and prevent them from mushrooming into pandemics.
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Fact Check The Left: Did Trump Really Dissolve Obama
Matt VespaAP Photo/Vincent Thian
Sen. Kamala Harris did not have a good night. She was a DNC attack line factory, sure. But she could not maneuver well when Vice President Mike Pence attacked her record last night. Pence also ripped into Joe Bidens 40+-year track record as a public official who has done absolutely nothing other than win a reliably Democratic state over and over again. Pence was calm, collected, and delivered the kill shots when necessary. Robo-Kamala couldnt deliver a knockout punch. The COVID segment was undoubtedly her strongest point, but she torched herself when she peddled anti-vaccine nonsense. She lied about Biden-Harris not banning fracking. We have the tapes. She had no clue that nixing tax cuts means raising taxes. And then, circling back to COVID, she accused the Trump-Pence administration of firing the entire Obama-era pandemic response unit.
Whats great about this is that USA Today, the paper where the moderator of last nights VP debate, Susan Page, work for fact-checked this claim eons as partly false. Trump didnt fire the entire team, some even remained while others resigned or found other lines of work which is typical inside the beltway. There was a restructuring. Thats not the same thing, Kamala. And it was necessary as this new wing of the National Security Council had become bloated, which even former Obama officials agree
The Claim: President Trump Fired The ‘entire’ Pandemic Response Team In 2018
From nearly the start of the coronavirus pandemic, critics, in particular, have pointed out that President Donald Trump dismantled the very team that should’ve been preparing for an outbreak.
“In 2018 Trump fired the ENTIRE pandemic response team,” one recent social media post reads. “Keep re-posting this until the election.”
The user behind the post did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
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Joe Manganiello On Discovering Hes Part
Rice even recalled sitting down with the incoming Trump cabinet to run through a tabletop exercise that, she said, turned out to be particularly prescient. It was of a novel SARS-like virus emerging from China,Rice said. And all of that seemed to be for naught, because a couple of years into office, President Trump dismantled the office that I set up on global health security they trashed that playbook or stuck it in some drawer, some shelf and never pulled it out. For two months, January, February and part of March, he really denied the reality of this virus, equated it to the seasonal flu and by that time, it was already well-embedded in our country.
Rice also spoke about the way wearing masks to hinder the spread of COVID-19 has become politicized. Its ridiculous that weve allowed small pieces of cotton to be this incredibly divisive thing, she said. We dont mind wearing shirts and pants in public, why do we have to mind wearing masks in public if its going to protect ourselves, our loved and those in our community?
In this article:
Trump Cuts To National Security Staff May Hurt Coronavirus Response Former Officials Say
WASHINGTON President Donald Trump’s decision to downsize the White House national security staff and eliminate jobs addressing global pandemics is likely to hamper the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus, according to veterans of past disease outbreaks and experts who have studied them.
“This is why you have a National Security Council,” said John Gans, a former Pentagon speechwriter who wrote a book about the NSC, which has long been the principal advisory body inside the White House for national security affairs. “The changes have made it much harder for the NSC to do this.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is leading the Trump administration’s coronavirus response efforts. On Wednesday, Azar disputed reports that Trump would soon be appointing a coronavirus “czar,” or response coordinator.
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Trump Team Failed To Follow Nscs Pandemic Playbook
The 69-page document, finished in 2016, provided a step by step list of priorities which were then ignored by the administration.
President Donald Trump& #39 s administration was briefed on the playbooks existence in 2017, said four former officials. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
03/25/2020 08:00 PM EDT
The Trump administration, state officials and even individual hospital workers are now racing against each other to get the necessary masks, gloves and other safety equipment to fight coronavirus a scramble that hospitals and doctors say has come too late and left them at risk. But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government shouldve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago.
Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care? the playbook instructs its readers, as one early decision that officials should address when facing a potential pandemic. If YES: What are the triggers to signal exhaustion of supplies? Are additional supplies available? If NO: Should the Strategic National Stockpile release PPE to states?
The playbook also stresses the significant responsibility facing the White House to contain risks of potential pandemics, a stark contrast with the Trump administrations delays in deploying an all-of-government response and President Donald Trumps recent signals that he might roll back public health recommendations.
Conflicting Opinions On What Happened To The Team
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Beth Cameron, former Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense in the NSC, wrote, When President Trump took office in 2017, the White Houses National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense survived the transition intact.
Its mission was the same as when I was asked to lead the office, established after the Ebola epidemic of 2014: to do everything possible within the vast powers and resources of the U.S. government to prepare for the next disease outbreak and prevent it from becoming an epidemic or pandemic. One year later, I was mystified when the White House dissolved the office, leaving the country less prepared for pandemics like covid-19 .
On March 14, 2020, John Bolton described the changes made to the team as streamlining. He tweeted: Claims that streamlining NSC structures impaired our nation’s bio defense are false. Global health remained a top NSC priority, and its expert team was critical to effectively handling the 2018-19 Africa Ebola crisis. The angry Left just can’t stop attacking, even in a crisis.
On March 19, 2020, former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called the changes elimination. He tweeted: The Obama-Biden Administration set up the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense to prepare for future pandemics like COVID-19. Donald Trump eliminated it and now we’re paying the price.
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Our Rating: Partly False
Based on our research, the claim that President Trump fired the “entire” pandemic response team is PARTLY FALSE. The Directorate of Global Health Security and Biodefense was disbanded under Trump’s then-national security adviser John Bolton. But Trump didn’t fire its members. Some resigned, and others moved to different units on the National Security Council.
Trump Reinvents Pandemic Response Wheel After Scrapping Team Obama Left Him
WASHINGTON Six years after ridiculing predecessor Barack Obamas handling of a major health crisis and two years after dismantling the pandemic response team Obama left behind, President Donald Trump is now reinventing the infectious disease wheel.
Because of all Ive done, the risk to the American people remains very low, he said in a Wednesday evening White House news conference about the coronavirus crisis he has spent weeks downplaying. Weve had tremendous success beyond what people would have thought.
He also put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the governments coronavirus response, while denying Pence would serve as czar a title he had mocked when Obama had used in his response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
Mike is not a czar. Hes vice president, Trump said.
In 2014, Trump relentlessly attacked Obamas handling of the Ebola epidemic in Africa, savaging him in nearly 100 Twitter posts over a three-month period.
The United States must immediately institute strong travel restrictions or Ebola will be all over the United States-a plague like no other! Trump wrote on Sept. 30, 2014.
Obama just appointed an Ebola Czar with zero experience in the medical area and zero experience in infectious disease control. A TOTAL JOKE! he wrote two weeks later.
Trump, however, eliminated the pandemic response team, including the top-level NSC member, just as he has reversed Obama policies throughout the government.
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