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Joe Biden warned we weren’t ready for a pandemic one year ago. Here’s what Trump was doing that day

A deep dive into the context of Joe Biden’s eerily prescient warning, one year ago, about how ill-prepared for a pandemic the U.S. was under Trump.

Joe Biden warned we weren’t ready for a pandemic one year ago. Here’s what Trump was doing that day
[Photo: Flickr user Gage Skidmore (Biden); Shealah Craighead/The White House/U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr (Trump)]
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What: An intriguing Twitter thread providing context and clarity around former vice president Joe Biden’s eerily prescient warning about pandemic readiness from one year ago.

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Who: Writer and activist Charlotte Clymer.

Why we care: Considering how susceptible to conspiracy theories the president and his followers are, it’s almost surprising that neither seems to be pushing the idea that COVID-19 somehow originated with Biden.

After all, the Democratic presidential candidate did sound the alarm about a potential pandemic suspiciously close to its arrival, in a tweet that now carries the macabre retroactive prescience of the infamous “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.” president’s daily briefing.

Biden’s tweet turned one year old over the past weekend and went viral on the occasion. However, plenty of Twitter users tend to haul out the tweet whenever Trump periodically bemoans that nobody could have seen a pandemic coming. It’s always a satisfying rejoinder to see, a sanity-cleansing reminder that our current predicament was never a foregone conclusion and that different leaders would have handled it differently.

But how did Biden’s tweet come about anyway? What sort of inside knowledge was he getting, and why wasn’t Trump privy to the same information?

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To commemorate the tweet’s anniversary, writer and activist Charlotte Clymer uncovered all the answers.

Just as advertised in the first part of the thread, Clymer spends several tweets excavating what was on Donald Trump’s mind the day Biden became more urgently concerned with the possibility of a pandemic. Trump was concerned with the impeachment inquiry against him that was developing at the time, along with, uh, some less urgent business as well.

The possibility of a pandemic seems to be nowhere near the top, middle, or bottom of his mind. In fact, as Clymer points out, Trump hadn’t publicly discussed the issue since taking President Obama to task for his notably low-casualty Ebola virus scare in 2014.

Finally, Clymer delves into what exactly caught Biden’s eye that day that eluded Trump’s Fox News-addled attention.

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The remainder of the thread explains a couple of other factors that helped set off alarm bells in Biden’s mind.

All in all, it’s a fascinating comparison of how the two leaders gather and respond to information, and a strong indicator of how the one who isn’t currently president might have led the U.S. through the coronavirus crisis.