Health-agency officials and outside advisers to the administration, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described a chaotic situation in which leaders rushed to address presidential requests that sometimes seem to come on a whim while losing focus on longer-term challenges.
Trump’s drive to announce unfinished initiatives created a “need to make good on half-baked promises,” said one senior official — who, like other Americans, learned about some initiatives only when the president announced them at the White House podium.
For instance, no one in the White House had devised a national strategy for obtaining and distributing the necessary supplies in the likely months-long fight against the pandemic that lies ahead, said three people with knowledge of the planning efforts. Those supply-planning efforts are only now underway.
“How is there not a national supply strategy yet?” asked one official involved in the effort, warning that the infamous shortage of coronavirus tests is set to be replicated with other shortages across the health system. “Hospitals are going to run out of basic commodities.”