Former Biden adviser Andy Slavitt laid out the "three deadly sins" of the Trump administration at the start of the coronavirus pandemic during an interview on this Sunday's Face the Nation.
During a discussion about Slavitt's new book, Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics and Selfishness Doomed the US Coronavirus Response, host John Dickerson asked Slavitt what his "assessment of what's the most important thing to recognize about the Trump administration's handling of this."
Slavitt responded that we "we would have had a pandemic without the Trump administration," but laid out the three "deadly sins" that the "Trump administration made that played out."
"The first was his power, that he believed, to deny the very existence of the virus or the potency of it, and to get his followers to go along with it," Slavitt explained. "If he simply hadn't done that and simply said, hey, we've got a problem, we would have been in a very different situation."
"The second was his- his quashing of dissent," Slavitt continued. "Early in this pandemic in February, they sent out orders to the Department of Health and Human Services for 45 days, they were not even allowed to talk to the press, simply because Alex Azar wanted to say the expression that things were going fine, but could change rapidly. They- they really, and that whether it was that or Nancy Messonnier or Tony Fauci, anybody that disagreed with the narrative the president wanted was squashed."
The third that Slavitt called "extra credit," was Trump playing into the divisions in the country. "I think that sort of the populist nature- being a populist during a pandemic is really not a great combination, because you're going to have to make some tough decisions. You're going to have to make people unhappy. And I think Trump saw in his base a stirring of anti-mask characterizations and other things, and he played into those things, because I think it felt like a different route. And I think those three things were things that were, you know, cost us a lot of lives"
That's the understatement of the day.