The repeated warnings

It was in the daily briefing for weeks, but he never reads the daily briefing (or anything else), so oh well.

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.

But the president has no attention, so his attention can’t be called to things.

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.

Always with the normalizing. He never reads the PDB, and I bet he never shows patience for the oral summary either.

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.

In other words the kind of thing you really would expect a president – even a mediocre one – to pay attention to.

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.

Sadly, playing it down didn’t succeed in making it go away.

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