New evidence has come to light further debunking Senator Susan Collins’ defense of the Trump administration’s early coronavirus response and her claim that Trump “did a lot that was right in the beginning.” 


Reporting in the Washington Post has revealed that the President received “more than a dozen” warnings about the looming coronavirus threat in January and February as a part of the President’s Daily Brief. But during those months, Trump continually downplayed the risk of a coronavirus outbreak in the US, claiming on February 26th that the number of cases would be “close to zero” “within a couple of days.” 


During the months that he was ignoring warnings from his own intelligence officials, Trump failed to ensure that our nation’s health care workers would have the testing capacity and protective equipment they need to safely monitor and contain the outbreak. But even as evidence continues to pile up that Trump’s dysfunctional response to this crisis put front line workers at greater risk, Senator Collins has continued to make excuses for his chaotic leadership.


“Trump ignored warnings about the coronavirus from public health experts and intelligence officials and he failed to ramp up production of the PPE and medical equipment that our health care workers need to do their jobs safely,” said Maine Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Marra. “It is unconscionable for Senator Collins to continue to defend his dangerous and dysfunctional response.”


The Washington Post: President’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat


By Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima

April 27, 2020


Key Points:


  • U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials.

  • The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats.

  • For weeks, the PDB — as the report is known — traced the virus’s spread around the globe, made clear that China was suppressing information about the contagion’s transmissibility and lethal toll, and raised the prospect of dire political and economic consequences.

  • But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience for even the oral summary he takes two or three times per week, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material.

  • The advisories being relayed by U.S. spy agencies were part of a broader collection of worrisome signals that came during a period now regarded by many public health officials and other experts as a squandered opportunity to contain the outbreak. As of Monday, more than 55,000 people in the United States had died of covid-19.

  • The frequency with which the coronavirus was mentioned in the PDB has not been previously reported, and U.S. officials said it reflected a level of attention comparable to periods when analysts have been tracking active terrorism threats, overseas conflicts or other rapidly developing security issues. 

  • U.S. officials emphasized that the PDB references to the virus included comprehensive articles on aspects of the global outbreak, but also smaller digest items meant to keep Trump and senior administration officials updated on the course of the contagion. Versions of the PDB are also shared with Cabinet secretaries and other high-ranking U.S. officials.

  • One official said that by mid- to late January the coronavirus was being mentioned more frequently, either as one of the report’s core articles or in what is known as an “executive update,” and that it was almost certainly called to Trump’s attention orally.

  • But Trump spent much of February publicly playing down the threat while his administration failed to mobilize for a major outbreak by securing supplies of protective equipment, developing an effective diagnostic test and preparing plans to quarantine large portions of the population.

  • Trump insisted publicly on Feb. 26 that the number of cases “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero,” and said the next day that “it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

  • In reality, the virus was by then moving swiftly through communities across the United States, spreading virtually unchecked in New York City and other population centers until state governors began imposing sweeping lockdowns, requiring social distancing and all but closing huge sectors of the country’s economy.

  • As late as March 10, Trump said: “Just stay calm. It will go away.” The next day, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

  • By then, officials said, the warnings in the PDB and other intelligence reports had taken on the aspect of an insistent drumbeat. The first mention of the coronavirus in the PDB came at the beginning of January, focusing on what at that point were troubling signs of a new virus spreading through the Chinese city of Wuhan, and the Chinese government’s apparent efforts to conceal details of the outbreak.

  • The warnings conveyed in the PDB probably will be a focus of any future investigation of the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in early April called for the formation of an independent commission analogous to the one created to investigate the Sept, 11, 2001, attacks.