To the Journal editor:
Every year since taking office, President Trump has ignored science and made deep cuts into research on emerging diseases.
In 2018, he eliminated the National Security Council’s global health security and biodefense directorate, with its team of world-class infectious disease experts. In response, two highly respected leaders in the field — Rear Admiral Ziemer, the NSC’s senior director for global health security and biodefense, and Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert — left the White House.
Previously President George W. Bush called for $7.1 billion to prepare for a pandemic, and President Obama continued that funding during his eight years in office. Because of this wisdom and foresight, in 2014, Obama’s experts did stop Ebola from taking hold in the United States.
Now though there has been a brain-drain of science experts in the administration, with over 1600 scientists having left federal office. And it shows: It was an incompetent administrator who sent 100 federal employees to meet and process travelers from China at U.S. airports in January without protective gear and protocols.
As a nurse even I know that viruses mutate quickly and that those 100 employees were at risk of becoming carriers. What unqualified political appointee made that reckless decision?
Like the president, I do wish for COVID-19 to go away quickly. Since January my son has been required to use commercial airlines twice weekly to work in California. But this president for years ridiculed and eliminated the public health response that could have protected Americans.
Now, we are left with tweets and hastily gathered medical experts trying to catch up from far behind. Yes, President Trump, the responsibility for the delayed leadership in reacting to this health and financial crisis is yours. Science matters!