Even Trump’s toothless travel ban likely had little effect on the disease’s spread. At least 430,000 people have streamed into the United States from China since the outbreak, including some 40,000 travelers after the so-called ban was put in place. Making matters worse, Trump ignored health-care officials calling for the shutdown of European travel. He listened instead to his treasury secretary, who worried that a such ban could spook financial markets. It would be six more weeks before Trump stopped travel from Europe. The impact of the delay was devastating for New York.
While the president’s supporters frantically search for errant predictions among Democrats or members of the press, their efforts are undercut by Trump himself, who insists on proving every night just how ill-suited he is for his job. The man he will likely be competing against in November’s election warned Americans months ago that the coronavirus would get worse. “To be blunt,” the presumptive Democratic nominee wrote in USA Today, “I am concerned that the Trump administration’s shortsighted policies have left us unprepared for a dangerous epidemic that will come sooner or later.”