1/ Trump was warned about the potential for a pandemic in January that could kill up to half a million Americans and cost trillions of dollars in economic losses. In January, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was notified by Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, about the coronavirus, which was spreading through Wuhan. Azar then notified the White House and sent a report to the National Security Council. Azar first briefed Trump about the threat of the virus on Jan. 18 – while Trump was at Mar-a-Lago. A Jan. 29 memo produced by his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, urged Trump to impose the travel limits, outlining the potential risks of a coronavirus pandemic. Trump, however, told aides that he was unhappy that Navarro had put his warning in writing. On Jan. 30, Azar again briefed Trump, warning that the coronavirus had the potential to become a pandemic. Trump dismissed Azar, saying he was being an alarmist. Trump took his first concrete action at the end of January to limit travel from China. By the third week in February, the administration’s public health experts recommended that Trump should warn Americans of the risks and promote social distancing measures. For three weeks, the White House focused on messaging and predictions of success rather than calling for a shift to mitigation. Trump finally agreed on Mar. 16 to recommend social distancing across the country, but not before the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. had grown from 15 to 4,226. Since then, half a million Americans have tested positive and more than 23,000 have died. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • ✏️ The 10 times Trump was warned about coronavirus. (Axios)

  • ✏️ A month after Trump declared a national emergency and promised a mobilization of public and private resources to attack the coronavirus, few of the promises made that day have come to pass. (NPR)

  • 👑 Trump leaves trail of unmet promises in coronavirus response. But bold promises and florid assurances were made, day after day, from the White House and a zigzagging president who minimized the danger for months and systematically exaggerates what Washington is doing about it. (Associated Press)

  • 👑 Inside the denial and dysfunction of Trump’s coronavirus task force. Trump’s plan was “a total, complete, absolute clusterf**k.” (Rolling Stone)

2/ Dr. Fauci confirmed the report that Trump rebuffed social distancing recommendations by public health officials, saying the U.S. could have “obviously” saved more lives if efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus began earlier. Dr. Fauci said that if things were shut down “right from the very beginning, it may have been a little bit different.” He added that recommendations by the government’s top public health experts to implement social distancing measures faced “a lot of pushback.” (NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / The Guardian)

3/ Trump retweeted a post calling for Dr. Fauci to be fired after the nation’s top infectious disease specialist said more could have been done to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The White House, meanwhile, denied that Trump is considering firing Dr. Fauci, calling Trump’s own retweet – that said “Time to #FireFauci” – just “ridiculous” “media chatter.” Trump, meanwhile, spent the weekend calling people close to him and asking them, “What do you think of Fauci?” (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / CNN / Daily Beast)

4/ Trump declared he has the power to overrule governors and “open up” states and relax social distancing practices to combat the coronavirus, saying he’ll reopen the economy “based on a lot of facts and a lot of instincts.” Trump tweeted that “It is the decision of the President” on whether “to open up the states” after six states in the Northeast, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, said they would jointly develop a plan to reopen schools and businesses after the outbreak subsides, while California, Washington, and Oregon said they would create their own framework. Trump has been advocating for reopening the economy by May 1 in recent days, despite several administration officials cautioning that the target date may not be realistic. “I think it’s just too early to be able to tell that we see light at the end of the tunnel,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said. “I think it’s just too early for us to say whether May 1 is that date.” Dr. Fauci, too, said that “It is not going to be a light switch […] Not one size fits all.” Governors and top health experts also raised doubts about Trump’s goal of starting to reopen the U.S. economy next month, warning that moving too quickly and without more reliable testing could lead to a deadly setback. (Bloomberg / NBC News / Washington Post / Vox / Politico / Axios)

  • ✏️ States take unorthodox steps to compete in global market for coronavirus supplies. Help from the federal government is inconsistent, with some governors having luck working with their regional directors from FEMA, others finding an in with Jared Kushner, and some appealing directly to Trump. (Washington Post)

  • The White House does not have a plan to reopen the economy and allow Americans to safely resume work. Trump and his top aides haven’t settle on the benchmarks they’ll use to decide which parts of the country reopen and when. They are, instead, receiving advice from a number of executives and donors. (Politico)

5/ Jared Kushner’s supply chain task force pushed aside long-established federal emergency management response teams, favored some of the nation’s largest corporations, and ignored smaller producers of goods and services with track records of meeting emergency needs. Pence tapped Kushner and his “innovation team” to help federal agencies expedite the acquisition and distribution of equipment. Instead, “Jared and his friends decided they were going to do their thing,” said a senior government official involved in the response effort. “It cost weeks.” Governors, local officials and veterans of federal emergency response added that Kushner’s team has complicated the national fight against the pandemic. (NBC News)

  • The names of the businesses that will receive hundreds of billions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief funding may not be disclosed publicly because of the way the relief bill was written. The bill requires the names of some federal aid recipients to be published, but the CARES Act does not compel the Small Business Administration to disclose the identities of the companies that receive money from the $349 billion small business relief package. So far, the SBA has received around 487,000 applications for a total of $125 billion in funding requests. (Washington Post)

  • The Trump administration wants to cut wages for migrant workers in order to make it easier for the farming industry to cope with the economic impacts of the coronavirus. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on a policy that would reduce pay for people who are in the country under the H-2A seasonal guest-worker program. H-2A workers make up about 10 percent of farm laborers in the U.S. One way the Trump administration might accomplish this is to change a specific rule that requires farmers to pay their laborers a comparable rate to local hourly pay laws, a rule which Perdue has said is “kind of pricing ourselves out of business.” (NPR / The Hill)

  • 👑 The Trump administration has no plan for ending the coronavirus crisis, but it does have many task forces. In theory, the task forces are all working toward the same goal of defeating the novel coronavirus and getting the nation back to work, but the reality is a bureaucratic nesting doll of groups with frequently competing aims and agendas. (Washington Post)

6/ Trump threatened to veto the $2 trillion CARES Act if the legislation contained any funding for the U.S. Postal Service. The Postal Service’s financial troubles have worsened as the volume of mail has declined due to the pandemic. Last week, members of Congress were informed that it will “run out of cash” in September without federal assistance, which would impact the 2020 elections as states expand absentee voting and vote-by-mail. Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting,” saying it “doesn’t work out well for Republicans.” (Washington Post / Politico / Business Insider / Vox)

7/ The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments via teleconference in May – the first time the court will hear cases remotely. The court will hear 10 cases in all between May 4 and May 13, including arguments over subpoenas for Trump’s financial records. (Politico / Associated Press / Axios / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

  • The Senate will stop confirming Trump’s judicial nominations until the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. A total of 38 lifetime judicial appointments are currently awaiting confirmation hearings in the Senate. Senate Republicans have been confirming Trump’s nominees at a rapid-fire pace, and they plan to resume confirmations as soon as they return to Capitol Hill and resume their regular legislative schedule. “If we’re not there, it’s hard to push them through,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune. (Politico)