Slavitt: Pandemic Worse Because Trump Denied ‘Reality,’ ‘Squashed Dissent’

Former White House senior adviser on the COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt said Wednesday on CNN’s “The Lead” that former President Donald Trump denied “the reality of the virus,” which made the death toll in the United States much worse.

Guest host Pamela Brown said, “I’m going to turn to your book ‘Preventable,’ you outline how since the early days of the pandemic you and other top health experts warned the Trump administration how catastrophic this virus could be. Why do you think lives were lost because the Trump administration didn’t follow those warnings? ”

Slavitt said, “Well, look, is pandemics are hard, so if someone makes a real effort and is trying to help and makes a few mistakes, I think everybody forgives that. But there were a few things that the Trump Administration did that are very hard to get past. One was, as we know, his ability to deny the reality of the virus, which he did until such time as the NBA went out and the stock market went down, was real dangerous. So his ability to deny really hurt us. If he had just simply said, ‘Hey, we have a problem,’ we would have been in much better shape.”

He continued, “Then he squashed all dissent. There’s a part of the book where Alex Azar, the Head of Health and Human Services, wanted to say the word on ‘Fox & Friends’ that the virus wasn’t a problem but could deteriorate rapidly and because of that have the White House pulled him from the show and banned him from doing media for 45 days. So here we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and our Department of Health and Human Services isn’t allowed to talk to the press or the public. There’s a number of examples like that. I go through my conversations with Jared Kushner and with Debbie Birx, et cetera, which lets you see what’s going on on the inside.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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