Regrets he's had a few
March 25, 2020

Ford and GE announced Tuesday they are partnering to built ventilators, one of the most urgent shortfalls in America's fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus — but they won't start arriving until early June.

That's "just one of several examples that underscored the price of the Trump administration's slow response to evidence as early as January that the coronavirus was headed to the United States," The New York Times reports. "Ford's timeline suggested that if the administration had reacted to the acute shortage of ventilators in February, the joint effort between Ford and General Electric might have produced lifesaving equipment sometime in mid- to late April. A month later, the administration still does not appear to have a streamlined response to the pandemic."

The Trump administration didn't have to reinvent the wheel, because "we have a network in place that we as taxpayers have been funding to get us ready for something just like this," Max Brooks, the author of World War Z and other virus-based apocalyptic novels, and a real-life emergency response expert, told Terry Gross on Tuesday's Fresh Air, recorded Monday. The idea that America was unprepared for a pandemic like COVID-19 is "an onion of layered lies," Brooks said. The problem is "we have been disastrously slow and disorganized from Day 1."

"If the president had been working since January to get the organs of government ready for this," Americans "could be looking back on the great overreaction of 2020," Brooks said. President Trump should have immediately activated the Defense Protection Act and "the government could have put the word out to ramp up emergency supplies to get them ready and then have an information strategy in place."

"I can tell you that the federal government has multiple layers of disaster preparedness who are always training, always planning, always preparing," staffed by "countless dedicated professionals who think about this constantly and they're ready to go," Brooks said. "The entire reason that we have these networks is when the bells start ringing — and they have not been activated. I don't know. I'm not sitting in the White House. I don't know whether the president is being lied to, whether he is holding onto a political ideology. I honestly don't know. But there is no excuse not to mobilize the full forces of the federal government right now and to centralize the response." Listen to the interview below. Peter Weber

June 25, 2018

President Trump was on his way to a Trump golf course in Virginia on Sunday when he tweeted that he wanted all undocumented immigrants deported immediately with no due process, "no judges or court cases," The New York Times reports, in the latest episode of Trump talking a hard line on immigration after reversing his administration's family-separation border policy through an executive order last week. In fact, Trump has been "complaining to aides about why he could not just create an overarching executive order to solve the problem," the Times reports, citing "two people familiar with the deliberations," adding:

Aides have had to explain to the president why a comprehensive immigration overhaul is beyond the reach of his executive powers. And privately, the president has groused that he should not have signed the order undoing separations. [The New York Times]

Deporting immigrants from inside the U.S. without due process, whatever their legal status, would be a "tyrannical" and "breathtaking assertion of unbounded power — power without any plausible limit," Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe tells the Times. "The due process requirements of the Fifth and 14th Amendments apply to all persons, including those in the U.S. unlawfully." But regarding the family separation directive, Trump isn't alone in the White House in opposing the executive order he signed.

"Typically, executive orders are the product of weeks of collaborative work," Politico reports, but Trump's family-separation rollback was "dashed together in a matter of hours," and he signed it over the objections of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House Counsel Don McGahn, and other staff members worried it won't withstand legal challenge and would lead to the predictably chaotic rollout. Peter Weber

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