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“Feebleness, cluelessness, disempowerment”: Stephen Morrison, the head of global health programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on WH top brass vs COVID: New Yorker


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The New Yorker has a story entitled “The coronavirus is the world’s only superpower (The [redacted]’s America?  Not so much)” from which the title of this post is taken.  The story emphasizes the absence of confirmed heads for numerous parts of this administration.  On March 6, [redacted] fired his chief of staff and named a Republican congressman, Mark Meadows, to be his replacement.  Mr. Meadows had just started a two-week quarantine after he was exposed to another legislator with SARS-COV-2 positivity, Rand Paul (although Mr. Paul claims he is asymptomatic and was exercising in the Congress gym the day his test results were announced).

Like Mr. Meadows, other heads of departments are missing or “acting”.  The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was forced out over her disagreements with [redacted] and refusal to take actions she considered illegal, actions demanded by [redacted] despite his being warned of their questionable legal status.  DHS is still in the hands of a temporary secretary.

Extensive quotes from the article follow:

When you are done being angry about all the crazy, nasty, inconsistent, and untrue things that Donald Trump says each day about the coronavirus and other matters, remember that the flood of words is cover for an Administration that in some ways barely exists relative to its predecessors, especially when it comes to crucial areas of domestic, economic, and international security—or even straightforward crisis management. Turnover at the upper levels of Trump’s White House stands at eighty-three per cent, according to a Brookings Institution tracker.


…the former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt summed up the week’s events, and those of the many painful weeks to come: “This is the first great crisis of the post-American world,” he wrote on Twitter. “The UN Security Council is nowhere to be seen, G20 is in the hands of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the White House has trumpeted America First and Everyone Alone for years. Only the virus is globalized.”

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