Trump administration official Ken Cuccinelli did not help the Trump administration’s attempts to quell growing public concern about the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus in the United States, complaining Monday that Johns Hopkins University’s tracking map of the virus was temporarily down. Critics were quick to point out that Cuccinelli’s role as the Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security means he should be at the forefront of the nation’s efforts to combat the virus, not watching a private university map.
“Has the Johns Hopkins map of the coronavirus stopped working for other people, or just me?” Cuccinelli tweeted Monday afternoon. “I just tried again, and it looks like Johns Hopkins put the information behind a membership wall of some kind. Seems like bad timing to stop helping the world with this (previously) useful resource. Here’s hoping it goes back up soon.”
I just tried again, and it looks like Johns Hopkins put the information behind a membership wall of some kind. Seems like bad timing to stop helping the world with this (previously) useful resource. Here's hoping it goes back up soon.
— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) February 24, 2020
With more than 79,000 cases in 29 countries, the World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has already said the window for taking action against the virus is “narrowing,” calling on nations to act.
Former Obama Administration Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations under Alyssa Mastromonaco said the tweet left her wishing Barack Obama’s “Ebola Czar” Ronald Klain was still in charge of such issues.
“Hi OG Obama fam: who wishes they could go to sleep knowing [Ronald Klain] was walking around the West Wing with an overstuffed briefing book and a mission to quell a pandemic?” she wrote.
Klain oversaw the Obama administration’s response to Ebola virus after being named as the Ebola Response Coordinator in 2014.
Klain himself questioned the Trump administration’s preparedness on Sunday.
“All the measures that have been imposed abroad on #coronavirus — and the uneven travel restrictions here — are designed to ‘buy time’ for nations to ‘prepare,’” he said. “But are we preparing? What are the signs of preparation? What is the plan? Who is in charge?”
All the measures that have been imposed abroad on #coronavirus — and the uneven travel restrictions here — are designed to "buy time" for nations to "prepare."
But are we preparing? What are the signs of preparation? What is the plan? Who is in charge?
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) February 23, 2020
Numerous others were quick to criticize Cuccinelli’s response.
Good afternoon, our incompetent government will kill us all. https://t.co/IzL9VOVhZ5
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) February 24, 2020
— Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) February 24, 2020
Dude, you are a senior official in the US Government. Please tell me you are not relying on Hopkins for this info. https://t.co/vvYfpt77W1
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) February 24, 2020
President Donald Trump himself tweeted about coronavirus on Monday afternoon. The White House Office of the Press Secretary then made extra clear that this tweet was an official statement by the president.
This is not reassuring. At all. Hopefully there is enough adult supervision in the agencies and informal cooperation among them and with state health depts to replace the coordination from the WH that this admin so foolishly dismantled. This virus is a very big deal. https://t.co/F1bVSrKn21
— Christian Turner (@christor) February 24, 2020
The statement notably mentioned the stock market and coronavirus in the same breath. The Dow closed on Monday down 1,000 points amid coronavirus fears.
“Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” Trump said.
This, too, was met with a typical response.
That hurricane was headed straight for Alabama and you know it. https://t.co/ay9F4Bm6pW
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) February 24, 2020
[Image via CBS News screengrab]