Book about Trump and Pandemic,Floyd Responses

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25 Jun 2021, 9:09 am

White House did not brief Pence team on swearing him in after Trump COVID-19 diagnosis: book


When former President Trump contracted COVID-19 in October, the White House was reportedly so unprepared that officials had not briefed then-Vice President Mike Pence’s team on a plan to swear in Pence if Trump was unable to carry out the duties of the presidency, according to a new book.

The revelation comes from the book “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” authored by Washington Post journalists Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta. The book is set to be released on Tuesday.

The Washington Post published an excerpt of the book on Thursday, providing key details on the five days focused on Trump's diagnosis, and marked by speculation regarding his condition


“Trump’s medical advisers hoped his bout with the coronavirus, which was far more serious than acknowledged at the time, would inspire him to take the virus seriously. Perhaps now, they thought, he would encourage Americans to wear masks and put his health and medical officials front and center in the response,” the excerpt reads.

“Instead, Trump emerged from the experience triumphant and ever more defiant. He urged people not to be afraid of the virus or let it dominate their lives, disregarding that he had had access to health care and treatments unavailable to other Americans,” the book continues.

Trump reportedly joked about COVID-19 and mocked people who got sick
Former President Donald Trump last year reportedly tried to joke about COVID-19 "for months," mocking people who got sick and saying he hoped his former national security adviser, John Bolton, would die from the virus.

That's according to the new book Nightmare Scenario written by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, an excerpt of which was reported Wednesday by Axios. They write that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump "tried to joke about the virus for months, sometimes even mocking people who had become ill."

The book also describes a meeting at which Trump reportedly made comments saying he hoped that Bolton would die from COVID-19

'We'll All Be Dead by June': Scenes from Trump's COVID and George Floyd Response, According to New Books
While Donald Trump was ultimately heavily criticized for his responses to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests that broke out shortly after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, in private he was even more defiant and often had to be convinced not to act on his worst instincts

That's according to two new books based on interviews with those close to Trump and the former president himself, who lost re-election in November but has continued to falsely claim it was rigged against him.

According to the forthcoming Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration's Response to the Pandemic That Changed History, Washington Post journalists Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta write that, in the early days of the pandemic, Trump privately suggested sending Americans infected with the virus to Guantánamo Bay, the notorious American detention facility.

"We import goods," he said, according to the book's reporting as described in the Post. "We are not going to import a virus."

Abutaleb and Paletta write that in February 2020, the president asked in a meeting in the Situation Room: "Don't we have an island that we own? What about Guantánamo?"

Aides squashed the idea after the president brought it up a second time, according to Nightmare Scenario.

The book also details conversations between Trump and former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, of whom he once asked, "What idiot had the federal government do testing?" - referring to federally sanctioned COVID-19 tests.

Azar's response, according to the book, was: "Uh, do you mean Jared?" in reference to the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

Kushner himself also lashed out at others working on the administration's COVID-19 response, according to Nightmare Scenario, calling HHS' emergency preparedness chief, Robert Kadlec a "f------ moron" after he learned in March 2020 that some 600 million masks ordered by the White House wouldn't be delivered until that June.

"We'll all be dead by June," Kushner said, the book reports.

In another upcoming book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, The Wall Street Journal's Michael C. Bender writes that Trump, now 75, once suggested that he "made Juneteenth very famous."

Bender's book - due out Aug. 10 and covered in Politico and Vanity Fair - paints a portrait of a president who was so concerned with projecting a "strong" image in public that he often refused to admit his own mistakes, to the ultimate detriment of his campaign.

That focus on projecting strength was clear, Bender writes, following the death of George Floyd, a Black man murdered by white police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis last summer.

In private, Trump initially struck a somber tone after viewing footage of Floyd's death, Bender writes, according to the excerpts.

"Trump's assessment struck some in the room as surprisingly critical of police, and the president showed a level of empathy for Floyd behind closed doors that he would never fully reveal in public," Bender write

Soon, however, the president grew angry at what he saw of the ensuing nationwide protests and publicly doubled down on his law-and-order rhetoric, tweeting: "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd. When the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"

Days later, Trump announced that he planned to host a rally on June 19th - the day that marks the end of slavery in America - in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is the site of one of the bloodiest episodes of anti-Black violence in the country.

The backlash to that planned rally was immediate, with Bender writing that Trump seemed unfamiliar with the significance of the date, at one point asking a Black Secret Service agent if he knew what Juneteenth was.

"Yes," the agent told Trump, according to Bender. "I know what it is. And it's very offensive to me that you're having this rally on Juneteenth."

That night, Trump announced he would move the rally back day - though, according to Bender, the former president still didn't seem to grasp what made the day so important.

an excerpt highlighted by the Post, Bender claims that Trump once canceled a trip to Bedminster "at the last minute-after Kushner had already left for the New Jersey golf club," to hold private talks at the White House without his son-in-law present.

One issue between the two, Bender suggests, was Kushner's focus on criminal justice reform, which Trump didn't feel ultimately helped him win support from the Black community.

"I've done all this stuff for the Blacks - it's always Jared telling me to do this," Trump said to one associate on Father's Day, per an excerpt of Bender's book. "And they all f------ hate me, and none of them are going to vote for me."

Among the other anecdotes highlighted in Bender's book are Trump's assessment of his political rival, Joe Biden, who beat him in both the popular and electoral college votes, and who the former president once described by using a slur.

"How am I losing in the polls to a mental retard?" Trump once said during a policy meeting in the Oval Office.

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