Megan McArdle (“What we can and can’t blame Trump for,” The Herald, June 29) recites a list of things President Trump did wrong in responding to the coronavirus, and then tries to list some that were not so bad or were not his fault. Unfortunately, though she succeeds in listing the wrong things, she fails when she tries to list the other ones. They are his fault, too.
She claims that it is understandable that countries outside Asia did not react quickly enough, since they had not suffered from the SARS epidemic of 2003. It is not understandable. Obama had a team in place to overcome this problem. It looked at countries’ experiences all over the world and developed a playbook. It stopped a couple of outbreaks and may have helped keep them from becoming pandemics. Trump allowed the team to dissolve and claimed the playbook did not exist. He also moved to close U.S. pandemic offices around the world designed to cope with such crises.
We therefore can and should blame Trump’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic from the beginning.