Can President Trump fix this?
it's today explained. I'm Sean Romney's firm back from quite possibly the worst time vacation in the history of travel but it seemed like a good idea two weeks ago and that's the about this novel Corona Virus Crisis. We're all in so much changes so fast on Sunday the CDC said no gatherings over fifty people on Monday president trump reduced that number to ten as he warned that this outbreak could extend well into the summer yesterday. Ohio governor said the state would postpone today's primary then an Ohio. Judge said no dice then. The governor said he'd ignore the judge never has the news more needed to be explained. So we are going to up. Our game from today onward. We're going to open every episode of today explained with an update on all the latest corona virus. News after that we'll take a quick breather and get on with the regular show which will most likely also be about cove in nineteen and you can help us. Tell us what questions you have email where today explained at Vox Dot Com tweet at us. We're at today. Underscore explained I'm at Rama's firm and thank you for listening. Stay safe and stay smart during this crisis. Let's do this The president held the White House briefing today. He offered some tweaks to Medicare and pledged one trillion dollars of stimulus including some Andrew Yang style. Ub is sending Americans checks in the mail in the next few weeks. A lot of that still needs to be ironed out. There's now something like one hundred eighty thousand known cases of Cova Nineteen globally and the United States. Today past the five thousand case marker officially New York State confirmed over four hundred new cases in the last twenty four hours bring. It's confirmed cases to around fifteen hundred. That's the highest in the United States. In any state governor Andrew Cuomo has said the peak is still ugly forty five days away in New York and he continues to call on the federal government to ramp up military aid to dramatically expand. New York state's healthcare infrastructure. We're talking hospital beds. Icu beds as of Tuesday afternoon. Ninety one people have died in the United States as a result of covert nineteen. The country is ramping. Up efforts to restrict movement six counties in the San Francisco Bay area announced shelter at home order on Monday. Canada has shut. Its border with very few exceptions including Americans and the European Commission is considering a thirty day ban on all non essential travel. And then there's the presidential race back here in the United States Ohio postponed but Arizona Florida and Illinois are still voting today. The outbreak might not be a huge factor because millions of people have already cast their ballots in Arizona and Florida. More on that tomorrow for now on with the show. T. Mobile's the first and only wireless company to offer nationwide five gene covering over two hundred million Americans counting. That's right it's not just five gene. Select PARTS OF SELECT CITIES. T. mobile nationwide five G. covers over five thousand cities towns. And that's just the beginning. Indoor outdoor no signal goes farther or is more reliable than T. mobile's five G. Find out more about the first largest and only nationwide five G. Network at T DASH MOBILE DOT com. That's T- dash mobile dot com capable device required coverage not available in some areas. Downlink only some uses may require certain plan or features. Ct DASH DOT COM For the first year or so of our show we did a lot of episodes about the firings. The replacements the vacancies in the trump administration. We use the word unprecedented a lot. And whenever we do. These episodes people like Ezra Klein or Matthew. Yglesias would say look. The president hasn't really been tested yet. Imagine how this would all work in a crisis now. The crisis here. Millions of people are losing their jobs. The economy is in a tailspin. People are dying. I asked Matthew Yglesias whether president trump is capable of leading the country out of this crisis. And what that might look like but we started with the job. He's done so far. It's not great. I mean we have seen over the years. Lots of examples of the trump administration being disorganized being dishonest being inaccurate having Difficulty COLLECTING INFORMATION FROM WELL-QUALIFIED EXPERTS. But it hasn't really mattered in-incredibly concrete tangible ways outside of this specific situation with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico but now we have an honest to God national crisis a genuinely very difficult situation that you know any presidency would struggle with and you see that. The trump administration is really flailing They are failing to do the sort of basic element of communicating in a clear and consistent way. What's going on and it's genuinely very scary before we get into all the details of how this administration has handled the novel Corona virus this year. Let's just talk about steps that were taken before? This was even on anyone's radar and I'm talking specifically but something we've mentioned on the show before which is that. There was this pandemic groups set up within the National Security Council during the Obama Administration and this administration disbanded that. When you say me I didn't do it. We have a group of people I could. I could ask. Perhaps it may have been stray shower. But I could perhaps ask to Tony about that because I don't know anything about it. They disbanded. This was during John. Bolton's ten your as a national security adviser. He said he wanted to quote unquote streamline. The process he sort of dismissed this group. And it's part of a larger pattern that we've seen which is the trump administration repeatedly proposed very large cuts to the Centers for disease control including in their most recent budget submission which was just last month and ideologically temperamentally They did not believe that. Pandemic preparedness was an important topic that it didn't deserve that kind of high level coordination effort that the agencies involved with it didn't deserve a lot of money and then it wasn't an important kind of thing to do and you seen that same mentality sort of play out over the course of February and March and then trump has not had the flexibility to change quickly even when it became clear that this really wasn't important subject so wants the novel. Corona virus is on the administration's radar. Let's say January early February. What exactly does the trump administration to do they ramp up the CDC do they ramp up the NIH to get everyone moving or what. What so trump does what he thinks is taking it seriously. And that's he moves relatively quickly to restrict travel from China. The trump administration says it will now bar foreign nationals entering the United States. If they've been here to China in the fourteen days before they arrive because he hasn't had that this is a foreign problem. He's really big on being tough on borders at the same time the travel restrictions they had exemptions Americans for example Were not impacted by it. And at that point he seems to forget about right. He has incredible levels of confidence in border control so he keeps saying to people in interviews. We have it so well under control. I mean view this the same as the flu because of all we've done the risk to the American people remains very low and then internally he just doesn't do anything so we look back and we say maybe these restrictions were a good idea. Maybe he bought us some time before the virus came to the United States in a big way up. But when you buy time the question is what do you do with that? Time and trump did not get tests up and running. He didn't stockpile necessary medical supplies. He didn't develop a sort of plan. B. In case containment failed and then he was slow to acknowledge that containment of the virus had in fact failed because he was so committed to the idea that he was this genius and his travel restrictions on China had solved the problem. And this is back in. We're talking January early February. The whole country's focused on Iowa New Hampshire. Are you saying that these were moments that we could have been taking critical steps to prepare the country for this virus hitting the United States? Yeah I mean this could have been a good time for for trump to say look. I'm really concerned about this. And we didn't know that much about the underlying science of the virus and it would have been a good time to you know. Send up some flares right say had there been a pandemic preparedness team at the National Security Council. You could ask them you know. Hey Man can you update me on what's going on here? Even without it you can scramble the jets. He could have gotten in touch with health officials. Personally he could've told his cabinet. I want everybody to check in on this. What can we do up? But he didn't do anything at all and he also doesn't like to be told bad news right when people would come to him and say Mr President whether you think this border control measures are good idea or not. They're not foolproof. Really need to keep thinking about this instead. He kind of declared victory and he moved on until it was much too late. We've covered on the show already sort of bungling of testing at the CDC that the CDC refused tests from the WHO. They wanted to do their own. Those tests didn't work and all of this has led us to this position. We're in now where we just don't have enough tests for the entire country. How much responsibility does Donald Trump bear in this testing situation or is there? Is there more responsibility on the shoulders of the CDC and the h? For not doing a better job in that regard for not maybe making the public more aware. How much are these autonomous organizations? Or how much is this? All linked back to the administration. There have been a lot of articles on. Vox Dot Com and elsewhere warning that the Obama administration left the country inadequately prepared for a pandemic and that the trump administration has moved us backwards instead of building on the work that had been done after a ball. Trumps started rolling network back and people have been saying for years that we are not ready for this kind of thing and he didn't listen and that is one hundred percent his fault and what I've done is I'm going to be announcing exactly right. Now that I'm going to be putting vice president. Mike Pence in charge come late February. Donald Trump does put Mike pence in charge of this whole situation. Does that help? Does that hurt? I mean I think is it's an example of how behind the curve. The administration has been people have been saying all throughout the month of February. You need to appoint some kind of a corona virus. Some kind of high level official. Who's in charge of coordinating all of this? And the presumption of that is that you need to do coordination but also that the president personally can't be all corona virus all the time so pence comes in and it was a good idea to put him in charge. I mean if you look at Mike. Pence's press conferences. They are much more sort of Organized and calm and professional than the ones trump does my presence here today And working with you each and every day the days ahead I hope gives evidence priority. The president's placed on this said that they tested a million people at this point. You bless them how they did with the flu disaster next Louis but he resisted this for weeks and we've just been consistently two weeks or so behind the curve Ever since late February and pence being put in charge like that and then seemingly sideline more recently is as an example of that of course last week we got the first big primetime presidential address from the Oval Office at the desk. All the bells and whistles we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next thirty days and it seemed to just confuse more than it helped we covered on the show but now but some of the things that trump announced have been implemented like this European travel ban. What's the fallout well? You know the European travel ban. It looks like it's been kind of an implementation disaster. I completely understand why he wanted to restrict travel from Europe. But then they've had Americans returning from Europe trapped in these extremely long screening lines in a situation where people are just in a position to infect each other overnight chaos at Chicago's O'hare airport as passengers return home from Europe. Thousands of travelers left standing in a crowd for hours shoulder to shoulder. This is exactly what Americans are being told to avoid. Take a look at some of this video. We know that very long lines and long wait times hit at least three of the thirteen. Airports screening passengers returning from Europe Saturday night and then we don't have adequate testing to really monitor. Everybody who's coming back to do any kind of a case tracing and so. It's likely that this effort to stem an influx of outside infected. People will have actually made the problem worse. Meanwhile making that the epicenter of his primetime address it was just a second example of trump being so hung up on border controls external threat that he's not addressing the fact that we have substantial community spread inside the United States of America since that Oval Office has become a much graver situation in the United States from National Sports Leagues Cancelling and postponing two schools. Being shut down two cities being shut down to people in the service industry across the country. Losing jobs it's hurting a lot of people right now in a way that it wasn't even just a week ago. How has the president's Messaging Change since that Oval Office address? We knew it. It didn't change immediately for several days through the past weekend. He continued to sort of downplay. The Corona virus assure us that it was going to wash away really soon and mostly seemed focused on trying to talk the stock market. That really changed Monday afternoon. The president gave a press conference. Where FOR THE FIRST TIME? He really said like he doesn't know how long this is. GonNa last. It's a serious problem. He got behind. Cdc Guidance telling people to avoid gatherings of more than ten people and to me most significantly of all he acknowledged for the first time that the reason the stock market is down is that the situation is actually quite grave and it will go back up. He said when we've resolved the coronavirus problem which hopefully is true but but it's wise and president trump while not handling the situation perfectly by any means is now finally taking it seriously. Seeing this is a big problem. He's calling on people. To avoid gathering in large groups he's calling for the cancellation of events. He's telling they need to stay away from bars restaurants and that means he's acknowledging that these public health measures are going to be a big problem for the national economy. That's going to require some kind of large scale solution. But it's not something we can avoid break on today. Explain if you're sitting at home right now in quarantine looking for something to do. Maybe you're going to launch a website if you do launch website you're gonNA need a domain and name dot com wants to help you out name. Dot Com is built by experts four experts with features like DNA templates bulk management actions extra security features and brand new. Api NAMED DOT Com. Is the best place to manage your website projects. Unfortunately I'm not sitting at home with nothing to do. 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Well the future's here it's nationwide. T. Mobile's five G. Network is in over five thousand cities covering more than two hundred million. Americans. It's five g service you can actually use even places where other signals just lock like living room or a bank vault not the last one. Now's the time you get ahead of the five G. Game the first largest and only nationwide five G. Network go to t DASH MOBILE DOT COM. That's C. Dash mobile dot com capable device required coverage not available in some areas down Lincoln. Some uses may require certain plan or feature. Ct DASH MOBILE DOT COM Matthew that the trump administration is finally talking about dramatic measures to shore up the millions of Americans who are already hurting and those who will be hurting as a result of this crisis. There's like Andrew Yang style checks to every American. There's apparently a eight hundred fifty billion dollars stimulus on the way. And then there's this much smaller stimulus. They've been talking about for days. Let's start with that smog. Guy Because it's going to land at any moment now. The result of more than a dozen phone call negotiations between House Speaker. Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. This is going to do some real good Their provision in here that are going to sort of beef up the unemployment insurance program. They're going to beef up Nutritional Assistance Program Those are important measures. They are also doing some extension of paid sick leave Which is something that the politicians involved both from the White House and Nancy? Pelosi have talked about a lot But that's actually the area where it looks a little bit threadbare this is going to deliver some real help to some people but it still leaves the sick leave portion of the American safety net Pretty Patchy and I would just say this scale of this package is not equal to the challenge and clearly the trump administration knows. This isn't enough because it's now as of today offering to do much much more. Tell me about this. Eight hundred fifty billion dollar package that they're now talking about sure should they're talking about a large scale. Package aimed at two things. One is kind of industry specific support. President trump in particular has been fired up about trying to help airlines He is also in the hotel industry and seems very open to the hotel. Industries argument that they need financial support casinos and cruise ship Company is awesome to be in the mix. There it's not entirely clear. What those kinds of bailouts of financial support might look like a but. This is something that you know. I know I've spoken to Democrats on the hill. They have concerns about this idea but also some recognition that has merit i. I think we're GONNA see a lot of discussion of this Hopefully some kind of you reasonable compromise. The other piece is trying to GET MONEY INTO PEOPLE'S HANDS. The president had been talking about payroll tax cuts for a long time. He hasn't disavowed that. But today he and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin both indicated that they were open to the idea of simply giving cash to individual Americans the payroll tax holiday would get people money over the next six to eight months. We're looking at sending checks to Americans immediately and what we've heard from hardworking Americans. Many companies have now shutdown whether it's bars or restaurants Americans cash now and the president wants to get cash now and I mean now in the next two weeks I will be previewing that with the Republicans. They're some numbers out. There they may be a little bit bigger than what's in the process. That's an idea that Jason Furman. Who was the chief economist? In the Obama administration has been very vocally. Championing in this idea has been adopted by Senator Mitt Romney now potentially by the administration some Democrats in Congress as well and To see a gains momentum is this like Andrew Yang style universal basic income or. Is it just a one timer? It's not the same as universal basic income One reason that people who are skeptical of. Ub I like. This idea is precisely because it isn't permanent right so everybody will get these checks so it gives everyone some help but if you have a job even during this crisis the fact that you're getting a time limited check is not a good reason to like quit your job and go live off you. Bi or something like that so it has appealed to people are skeptical of you. Bi a concern that you know some people will continue to raise that it's not targeted in any way right. Lots of people urgently need financial assistance in this crisis. Plenty of other people don't really but they'll be getting money to The case for doing it. This way is that it's simple. It's like fair you can easily explain to people like why did that guy get a thousand dollars? Well he got it. Because everybody's getting yeah and he was a good idea. It's not a cure all for what fixes us since. Obviously no matter how much you get in a check you're not gonNA take a plane flight You know internationally tomorrow at largest segments of the economy are just shut down. So we're going to need to either support industries or else support some kind of transition out of those industries. But you know giving everyone some money that that would be nice. That would help. I guess the trillion dollar question is. How's the country going to pay for all this I mean in the short-term we can and should pay for it by borrowing money interest rates are very very low. That's how you bolster the economy. You know it's GonNa mean a higher level it could mean higher taxes down the road but I think everybody needs to be really careful here from an economic standpoint right. We know that a lot of the economy has shut down for public health reasons. It seems like more is going to have to shut down in the future. And it's tempting to think of this as being like a light switch where you know you can turn it off and then you can flip it back on again. but economic life doesn't work that way right. If millions of people lose their jobs lose their tips lose their incomes and that stays lost for a number of weeks then even when you turn the economy back on again. They're not gonNA have any money so they're not gonNA be able to buy anything and you'RE GONNA see cascading job losses and you can have a sort of stalled out for a really really long time unless we do something proactively to sort of not just help people get through this current crisis which will be difficult. But we'll pass that we're going to have to restart things at once it safe from health standpoint and that's going to take us on a big shove of of stimulus measures from the government. Could all of this have been avoided if if this country at least we're more careful or is it just a case that the way we live now the way? Our poorest borders work that this was coming no matter what a Taiwan and Singapore have closer economic geographical and cultural ties to China than the United States has They have not been unaffected by Corona virus. Nobody has been and nobody could be a but they with you know. Sufficient proactive measures have kept their populations largely safe and are now not shutting down their domestic economy is this is why people say you should have a president who knows what he's doing and we don't I guess we'll be talking a lot more about that in the coming weeks and months. Matthew thank you thank you.