Former President Donald Trump reportedly tossed around the idea of sending Americans infected with COVID-19 to Guantanamo Bay, according to a new book.
The former president had his own suggestion with regard to bringing infected Americans back to the U.S. at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. He reportedly asked while in the Situation Room in February 2020, “Don’t we have an island that we own?” He added, “What about Guantánamo?” according to The Washington Post.
Trump also reportedly added, “We import goods. We are not going to import a virus.”
Post journalists Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta wrote about the details told by officials in the upcoming book, “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changes History.” The Washington Post obtained a copy of the new book prior to its publication on June 29.
The Post reports that aides were “stunned” by Trump’s suggestion and they “quickly scuttled the idea” when the former president brought it up again. Guantanamo Bay is where terrorist suspects are detained by the U.S.
The book also notes that Trump reportedly said to then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on March 18, “Testing is killing me!” adding, “I’m going to lose the election because of testing! What idiot had the federal government do testing?” He was reportedly yelling so loud on the phone call that Azar’s aides could hear “every word,” according to the Post.
Azar replied, “Uh, do you mean Jared?” Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and former senior adviser to the president, said five days earlier he would take charge of the nation’s testing strategy by seeking the help of the private sector.
The former president reportedly said he believed the U.S. government “never should have become involved in testing, arguing with his health secretary over why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was seeking to track infections at all,” as the Post’s Dan Diamond writes.
Trump reportedly told Azar, “This was gross incompetence to let CDC develop a test.”
Over 180 people were interviewed for the book, including several White House senior staff members and government health leaders, according to the Post.
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