Background Briefing: March 1, 2020
A Crisis Trump Waited a Month to Deal With
We begin with an analysis of the Trump Administration’s response to the growing coronavirus crisis made worst by budget cuts and the purging of professionals in the government to be replaced by amateurish appointees who are chosen for their loyalty to Trump not whether they are competent or qualified. And since Trump’s focus is largely on talking up the tanking stock market with hollow reassurances instead of dealing with the very real crisis he is downplaying, he is now resorting to blaming the Democrats, calling the coronavirus outbreak a hoax while his son Don Jr. accuses the Democrats of wanting millions of Americans to die, a remark Vice President Pence, the new Coronavirus Czar, was too craven to repudiate. Joining us is Katrina Mulligan, the managing director for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress who previously served as director for preparedness and response in the National Security Division of the Department of Justice coordinating efforts to prevent and contain pandemics. We discuss the reckless negligence of the Trump White House which did nothing to prepare the nation for a month from the time the coronavirus first emerged in China until now that it is cropping up in pockets around the country infecting people who have not been abroad or had contact with those who have. The lack of test kits resulted in the patient in California in critical condition on a ventilator (which incidentally are in short supply) not being tested and now urgently needed medical staff at the hospital where she was admitted are in quarantine.
Clashes Between Turkey and Syria Could Draw Russia Into a Confrontation With Turkey
Then we get an update on the tense situation in northwest Syria with Turkey shooting down Syrian jets as the Turks respond to Russian air attacks which killed 36 Turkish soldiers. Meanwhile Erdogan is allowing refugees to flood into Greece to pressure the E.U. but they are caught at the border beaten back by tear gas while a monstrous humanitarian disaster in underway in Idlib with a million mostly Syrian civilians trapped at the closed border with Turkey being slaughtered by Russian airpower and Assad’s and Iran’s forces. A specialist on Turkey, Nicholas Danforth, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the German Marshal Fund, joins us.
An Irreverent Look at the Charlatans and Grifters in the Corridors of Power in Trump’s Washington
Then finally I’m joined in the studio by Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, the authors of the new book, just out, Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump’s Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington who are investigative and White House reporters for The Daily Beast. With so much doom and gloom about the coronavirus and concerns the Democrats are blowing the election and we’ll have four more years of Trump, we take an irreverent, darkly humorous break to discuss the mediocrities, charlatans and grifters populating the corridors of power in Trump’s Washington.