Then-President Donald Trump offered a horrifying solution to the burgeoning COVID-19 infections among American tourists returning to the country in February last year, according to the Washington Post.
“Don’t we have an island that we own? What about Guantanamo?” Trump reportedly asked during a meeting in the Situation Room.
“We import goods. We are not going to import a virus,” he continued.
Trump reportedly made the suggestion a second time before his staffers shut down the idea due to concerns over political backlash.
The exchange is detailed in an upcoming book by Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta titled “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History.”
The book also lays out the ex-president’s fits of rage over the idea of a federal COVID-19 testing program, which he reportedly feared would damage him politically as he sought to falsely downplay the severity of the virus.
“Testing is killing me! I’m going to lose the election because of testing!” Trump shouted at then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a call on March 18, according to Abutaleb and Paletta. “What idiot had the federal government do testing?”
Azar then reportedly reminded Trump that Jared Kushner, his own son-in-law who had taken over the White House’s testing efforts, was that idiot.
Trump also reportedly ranted during the call that it was “gross incompetence” to let the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention develop a COVID-19 test.
The former president hadn’t kept his grievances with testing quiet; he often publicly blamed testing for the exploding cases across the country rather than acknowledging his and his administration’s negligent response to the pandemic that caused the spike in the first place.