The “nobody could have predicted” excuse blows up

Just yesterday, I wrote that the Trump administration is using the “nobody knew” excuse to explain away their incompetence, claiming that nobody could have predicted the scale of the pandemic. That was false but today comes news that really undercuts it. Newly revealed memos from way back on January 29 and on February 23 reveal that people in the Trump administration were warned by chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow that the pandemic could have devastating consequences. This blows up the “nobody could have predicted” excuse of the Trump administration for their lack of prompt action.

Donald Trump was warned at the end of January by one of his top White House advisers that coronavirus had the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and derail the US economy, unless tough action were taken immediately, new memos have revealed.

The memos were written by Trump’s economic adviser, Peter Navarro, and circulated via the National Security Council widely around the White House and federal agencies.

They show that even within the Trump administration alarm bells were ringing by late January, at a time when the president was consistently downplaying the threat of Covid-19.

This was not the first time Trump and his White House team were warned that the virus had the potential to devastate the US and needed to be dealt with quickly and firmly.

Senior scientists, epidemiologists and health emergency experts in the US and around the world delivered that clear message early on in the crisis, only for Trump to continue belittling the scale of the threat which he compared falsely to the dangers of seasonal flu.

But the emergence of the memos from such a senior aide within the White House will make it much more difficult for Trump to claim – as he has done on multiple occasions – that nobody was able to predict the severity of the disease.

As the pandemic has swept across the country, the president has come under mounting criticism for having done too little, too late in response, leading to mass shortages of diagnostic testing, protective gear for frontline health workers and ventilators for the very sick.

With any normal administration, they would try to find excuses as to why these memos were ignored and explain away their “nobody cold have predicted” claim. But that is not how Trump and the people around him operate. They will either deny that the memos exist or deny that they say what they clearly say, or say that they never said that nobody could have predicted the effects. They have replaced tortured explanations with flat out lies and it does not seem to bother Trump fans because they are clearly a cult.


  1. johnson catman says

    The latest lie from The Orange Toddler-Tyrant is that he “didn’t see” the memos.

  2. Dunc says

    “Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.” -- Homer Simpson

    But hey, they needed to postpone taking serious action in order to have time to reposition their stock portfolios appropriately.

  3. says

    They want to portray Trump as a wartime president but if so that means we’re incapable of defending ourselves. “All hands on deck!” Sorry but the boss is a drooling amphetamine goofball whose response to an emergency is to go golfing.

  4. says

    To say that Trump is dysfunctional is a massive understatement but I am at a loss for words to describe just how unsuited for public service this person is. Somehow, he seems to have evolved with a black hole of insecurity and it absorbs everything into its void. He cannot ever admit to being wrong and, as president, he has the power to order people to support his bottomless need to be right. This is a problem, again, to put it mildly.
    What I find most challenging is how to beat the right wing propaganda machine. This machine is why at least 40% of our fellow Americans actually believe the guy’s lies and, at this moment in history, believing those lies is very precisely quite deadly.
    Any ideas how to overcome the propaganda bubble? For if we do not, the consequences are dire and getting worse by the hour.

  5. Jenora Feuer says

    Fundamentally I’d say that the core reason the propaganda bubble occurs is because the rich and powerful don’t have to deal directly with the negative consequences of what they’re pushing on other people, and they haven’t for so long that they’ve been able to get entire generations raised up never realizing that things were ever any different. THAT is what needs to be taken down.

    (The rise of the Tea Party, and eventually Trump, really comes down to the fact that since Nixon people were actively courting the racist vote, but lying and saying it wasn’t that. The whole Religious Right may have talked about Roe v Wade, but what they really wanted to overturn was Brown v Board of Education, or more immediately Bob Jones University v United States. The Tea Party happened when people who didn’t realize they had been lied to for the last forty years decided to get into power themselves so they could actually follow through on all the lines they had been fed. And then they got Trump into power because they discovered that they weren’t a big enough wrecking ball yet to actually break the system.)

  6. publicola says

    @5: That was well-said. The answer to your question is that at least 40% of Americans are ignorant and/or apathetic, and as we used to say in the workplace, “You can’t fix stupid”. The only solution is to do everything we can to get 51% of voters to vote for the right candidate, and even then it doesn’t always work.

  7. publicola says

    Also, apparently the White House was informed back in November about the potential danger and lethality of a/the pandemic by the intelligence community, but then why would Il Duce listen to them when he already knows everything.

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