AceShowbiz - Donald Trump made numerous headlines with his controversial remarks about COVID-19 during his presidency, but behind the scenes he apparently had much worse ideas on how to deal with the pandemic. According to a new book, the former president wanted to send COVID patients to Guantanamo Bay.
In "Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration's Response to the Pandemic That Changed History" by Washington Post journalists Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, the two writers detail Trump's frantic responses to the virus outbreak. Per The Washington Post which has obtained a copy of the book ahead if its release, at one point the president mused about transferring infected American citizens in Asia to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
"Don't we have an island that we own? What about Guantanamo?" he reportedly asked those assembled in the Situation Room in February 2020. "We import goods," he lectured his staff. "We are not going to import a virus."
His aides were obviously stunned by his idea. When Trump brought it up a second time, they quickly shut down the possibility of executing it as they were worried about a backlash over quarantining American tourists on the same Caribbean base where the United States holds terrorism suspects.
The book, which draws on interviews with more than 180 people, including multiple White House senior staff members and government health leaders, also reveals how Trump was often fretting about the outbreak's implications for his reelection bid.
"Testing is killing me!" the 75-year-old reportedly exclaimed in a phone call to then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on March 18, yelling so loudly that Azar's aides overheard every word. "I'm going to lose the election because of testing! What idiot had the federal government do testing?"
Azar then noted the then-president that his son-in-law Jared Kushner was responsible for handling the testing at the time, having vowed to take charge of a national testing strategy with the help of the private sector five days earlier. He then countered that the U.S. government never should have become involved in testing.
Trump allegedly also complained about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeking to track infections at all. "This was gross incompetence to let CDC develop a test," he reportedly said as he berated Azar.
"Nightmare Scenario" will be hitting the shelves on June 29.