May 3, 2020

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow ignored CDC warnings earlier in February in order to defend his ludicrous claim in February that the virus was contained to "40 or 50 cases."

During an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN's State of the Union, Kudlow was asked why there was a disconnect between what health professionals say and what he has to say about the economy, specifically when he claimed the virus was "contained" back in February.

“For the umpteenth time I will say, my quote then was based on the actual facts which at the time there were only 40 or 50 cases and it was contained, particularly after President Trump boldly put up travel restrictions with China," Kudlow huffed. "I didn’t make the forecast, and that was just — there was hardly any cases, okay?"

Yes, that was a claim made at the very end of a 2-month period where the government could have been preparing for an outbreak that could grind the entire country to a halt. Instead of telling the truth and looking at things with clear eyes, Kudlow instead chose to bow before the market gods and...lie.

After getting in the obligatory potshot at Nancy Pelosi, he continued to rant. “You know, this sort of ankle-biting that’s going on in Washington is just incorrect. You have to deal with the information at hand. When the information changes, you change," he said, as though there was absolutely no information in January or February that COVID-19 was about to be a pandemic that would stop everything and change the world forever.

Concluding by justifying the utter lack of action in the first two months of the year with action when the horse had already left the barn, Kudlow said, "We changed our strategy. so did everybody else around the world change their strategy...We did what we had to do, as soon as the situation became much clearer.”

Experts have been warning about the possibility of a pandemic for years. The H1N1, Zika and Ebola crises in the last decade were warnings that should have been taken seriously, and were -- by President Obama. Instead of building on those initiatives, Donald Trump and his gang gutted them.

Laurie Garrett predicted this in 1994. In an interview in today's New York Times, she predicts that 36 months will be the shortest time frame for a vaccine or an effective treatment. And that's just the beginning:

I’m quite certain that this is going to go in waves,” she added. “It won’t be a tsunami that comes across America all at once and then retreats all at once. It will be micro-waves that shoot up in Des Moines and then in New Orleans and then in Houston and so on, and it’s going to affect how people think about all kinds of things.”

They’ll re-evaluate the importance of travel. They’ll reassess their use of mass transit. They’ll revisit the need for face-to-face business meetings. They’ll reappraise having their kids go to college out of state.

So, I asked, is “back to normal,” a phrase that so many people cling to, a fantasy?

“This is history right in front of us,” Garrett said. “Did we go ‘back to normal’ after 9/11? No. We created a whole new normal. We securitized the United States. We turned into an antiterror state. And it affected everything. We couldn’t go into a building without showing ID and walking through a metal detector, and couldn’t get on airplanes the same way ever again. That’s what’s going to happen with this.”

Not the metal detectors, but a seismic shift in what we expect, in what we endure, in how we adapt.

She goes on to say that the Trump administration's response has been shockingly incompetent, which is evident just from this lame interview with Larry Kudlow.

"I can sit here with you for three hours listing — boom, boom, boom — what good leadership would look like and how many more lives would be saved if we followed that path, and it’s just incredibly upsetting.” Garrett told Frank Bruni. “I feel like I’m just coming out of maybe three weeks of being in a funk because of the profound disappointment that there’s not a whisper of it.”

For me, it's more like 3 1/2 years of a funk because there's no leadership. Larry Kudlow just grinds salt in the wound with every word out of his mouth.

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