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Tue May 26, 2020, 08:33 AM

Trump's coronavirus failures have caused the 'American carnage' he promised to end

In his inaugural address Jan. 20, 2017, President Donald Trump painted an unrecognizably dark picture of our country culminating with the bizarre declaration, "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

Just over three years later,almost 100,000 people in the United States have diedfrom thecoronavirus outbreakandalmost 39 million have had to file for unemployment, all on Trump's watch. Trump's incompetence and failure of leadership have ushered in an unprecedented public health crisis that continues to threaten the lives and livelihoods of countless Americans and hasdisproportionately impactedvulnerable communities.

Trump's dark inaugural assertion of "American carnage," it seems, was less an evidence-free indictment of his predecessor than a portentous claim about his own presidency. We are only now experiencing the American carnage Trump once grimly accused former President Barack Obama of overseeing and it could have been avoided with preparation and leadership.

As a senior policy adviser to an Obama administration Cabinet member, I attended part of the Jan. 13, 2017, transition exercise in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building which included a session focused on preparing the incoming Trump administration for how to respond as a government (rather than as a re-election campaign) to a pandemic. The meeting included at least 30 members of the incoming Cabinet and staff, alongside their Obama administration counterparts.


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