By Robert A. Vella
Axios has reported that the White House wants to scale-back President Trump’s daily press conferences in the wake of the debacle on Thursday when he suggested implanting ultraviolet lights and injecting toxic disinfectants into people as a cure for COVID-19. Especially over the last month, Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been marred by continual governmental ineffectiveness and political opportunism which have noticeably damaged his own reelection chances as well as his party’s prospects for November.
Today, we’ll examine the latest revelations exposing Trump’s thoroughly corrupt malfeasance as president including: 1) how he tried to force federal agencies to approve his plan to “flood” New York and New Jersey with unproven drug treatments, 2) why one of his political henchmen is now under an ethics investigation, 3) why his Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved unreliable COVID-19 antibody tests, 4) why Trump and congressional Republicans are exploiting the pandemic to attack the constitutionally-mandated U.S. Postal Service (they want to destroy it because conservatives hate public institutions and labor unions, they intend to undermine the growing movement to allow vote-by-mail in states, and Trump is determined to exact political retribution upon Jeff Bezos and Amazon), and 5) how Trump is using badly needed medical supplies to reward friends and punish enemies in Central America. Finally, we’ll take another in-depth look into what’s happening inside the GOP regarding the 2020 elections.
Note: all bracketed clarifications and embellishments in the following are by The Secular Jurist.
On March 24, a internal panel of top government health experts warned the White House against making chloroquine available to the public outside of clinical trials, saying its safety was “not supported by data from reliable clinical trials or from non-human primates,” according to Vanity Fair.
Despite the warning, two weeks later Trump boasted at a daily coronavirus press conference, “we have millions and millions of doses of it — 29 million to be exact.” He added: “We’re just hearing really positive stories, and we’re continuing to collect the data.”
That night, Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services, emailed top appointees at the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency and stressed the need “to flood NY and NJ with treatment courses” of chloroquine.
The FDA this morning [Friday] warned that malaria medicines touted by the president for coronavirus should only be used in hospitals or clinical trials because of dangerous side effects.
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have been linked with serious heart rhythm problems, especially when paired with the antibiotic azithromycin.
There is scant evidence that the medicines, prescribed for years to treat lupus and arthritis, work against the coronavirus. But FDA in late March issued an emergency use authorization to let doctors prescribe the drugs to coronavirus patients in the hospital.
Millions of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine pills were donated to the strategic national stockpile after FDA greenlighted emergency use with sign-off from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Rick Bright, the BARDA chief ousted this week, has argued his demotion was driven by clashes over the administration’s focus on the two drugs.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The senior Department of Homeland Security official who was thrust into the spotlight by President Donald Trump to describe the effects of temperature on COVID-19 has been the subject of misconduct allegations for his previous government work.
A Department of Energy Inspector General investigation was still pending Friday based on evidence submitted by a whistle-blower that William Bryan abused his government position with energy consulting work in Ukraine.
The whistle-blower, Robert Ivy, alleged that Bryan used his DOE position to develop his business interests with ValueBridge, including by providing money to foreign officials with the goal of influencing their actions and improperly sharing proprietary information.
The allegations reference players who featured prominently in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
House Democrats said Friday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not taking strong enough action to monitor the massive influx of new coronavirus antibody tests on the market, products that can help determine how and when to reopen the economy.
A memo from staffers on the House Oversight Committee to the panel’s members reveals the preliminary findings of the committee’s investigation into antibody testing and warns that a lack of regulation over antibody tests could put people’s health at risk.
“FDA’s policy, which it stated was intended to ‘make it easier’ for tests to go to market, has allowed serological antibody tests without any substantive review,” staffers wrote in the memo. “FDA is not yet able to assess the reliability of any serological antibody tests on the market.”
The FDA began allowing developers to sell their antibody tests to the public without prior review in March on the condition that they vow to validate their products and notify the agency when the reviews are complete.
But raising USPS prices so sharply may not have the impact the president [says he] desires, analysts said, as it would put postal services prices far above those of UPS and FedEx, allowing them to raise prices a little and still gain market share, they said.
Trump’s proposal could hit Amazon harder than other shipping companies because it cannot as easily pass costs onto consumers. It also contracts more often with USPS for “last-mile” service — or deliveries between warehouses and homes.
The Postal Service has not taken federal funding since 1970, operating instead from revenue it raises from stamp sales and other products. But it has struggled as first-class mail plummeted in the Internet era, and is burdened by a [Republican sponsored] congressional requirement to pre-fund its health benefits for retired employees. The agency has stopped making those payments. As it has run up multibillion-dollar debts, Congress has debated new subsidies and business plans to lessen its financial problems — but never agreed on a solution.
His comments are drawing the Postal Service into a political showdown. The agency says revenue have dropped down by close to a third during the pandemic.
Lawmakers, postal unions and other entities that rely on the post office accused the president of exploiting the pandemic to punish his enemies.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the president was trying to starve the Postal Service so he and his allies can turn it over to a private company.
WASHINGTON — When it comes to supplying ventilators and other coronavirus aid to Central America, Trump administration officials say they are not playing favorites.
But countries that have been more cooperative on immigration and other issues seem to have moved to the front of the line.
The presidents of El Salvador and Honduras have promised to try to keep their citizens at home and away from the trails of migration toward the United States.
And on Friday, Trump promised that both countries would receive ventilators.
For Guatemala, however, which is facing a similar or worse coronavirus threat, Trump had no offers of support. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei in recent weeks has repeatedly blocked — then unblocked, then re-blocked — deportation flights from the United States transporting Guatemalans who had entered the U.S. illegally.
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s erratic handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the worsening economy and a cascade of ominous public and private polling have Republicans increasingly nervous that they are at risk of losing the presidency and the Senate if Mr. Trump does not put the nation on a radically improved course.
Perhaps most significantly, Mr. Trump’s single best advantage as an incumbent — his access to the bully pulpit — has effectively become a platform for self-sabotage.
Glen Bolger, a longtime Republican pollster, said the landscape for his party had become far grimmer compared with the pre-virus plan to run almost singularly around the country’s prosperity.
“With the economy in free-fall, Republicans face a very challenging environment and it’s a total shift from where we were a few months ago,” Mr. Bolger said. “Democrats are angry, and now we have the foundation of the campaign yanked out from underneath us.”
Still, a recent wave of polling has fueled Republican anxieties, as Mr. Biden leads in virtually every competitive state.
The surveys also showed Republican senators in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Maine trailing or locked in a dead heat with potential Democratic rivals — in part because their fate is linked to Mr. Trump’s job performance. If incumbents in those states lose, and Republicans pick up only the Senate seat in Alabama, Democrats would take control of the chamber should Mr. Biden win the presidency.