March 12, 2020

Here's a long but worthwhile interview Rachel Maddow did last night with Ron Klain, who was the Ebola czar under the Obama administration.

Maddow thanked him for helping them analyze Trump's coronavirus speech last night.

Klain didn't mince words.

"I think the unevenness and applicability of the travel exemption and the U.K., with 12 cases in Europe, with fewer cases in the U.K. and the fact that people can travel to and from Korea. There is a warning about it. But it is not banned. and Korea has the second most cases in the entire world," he said.

"The president has been bragging on the travel ban that he instituted related to china. He has now instituted a travel ban for travel from Europe to the U.S., excluding the U.K.

Klain said he thinks the bans "do have some effect, at slightly slowing the pace, but they aren't a virtual wall to protect our country. We're seeing that. The disease is here. It's spreading. And I think the problem was this. It gave the president the false sense of security, or maybe trying to convey a false sense of security. And if it bought time, that time was squandered. I look back on this, Rachel, and what we will see, we knew this was coming in December, we knew it was coming in January, the president talked tough on travel and in the meantime we weren't getting ready on testing, we weren't getting our health care facilities ready.

"We weren't doing the things we needed to do knowing this was coming. We had the warning. That is the real tragedy here. We had a warning that this was coming and the kind of numbers that were coming and we are still sitting here having a conversation here about testing. Tom Hanks got tested because he is in Australia. If Tom Hanks was in New York, it would be almost impossible for him to get tested."

He called it a "failure of leadership" by Trump and his task force.

"Look, so what the White House has done the past week is essentially said we'll privatize testing. Leaving aside the fact that leaves us without a clear and consistent database on the tests, we really need to be doing in this country is testing the people not raising their hands to be tested. Every person in a nursing home, every person in a senior center, every person with one of these preexisting health conditions should be conducting surveillance. Going out and looking for the disease, not just waiting for people to show up in their doctors' office and say 'I need a test' and if that doctor can get you to a private lab, you get a test."

He talks at length about the obstacles we now face and how to prepare for them. Watch the whole segment.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.