News|Donald Trump
Trump wanted to send COVID-infected Americans to Guantanamo: Book
New book by Washington Post reporters claims Trump asked if detainment camp could be used to house infected.
Former President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, on January 20, 2021, after he left the White House [File: Carlos Barria/Reuters]
21 Jun 2021
Former President Donald Trump considered sending US citizens infected with the coronavirus to Guantanamo Bay, according to a new book
“Don’t we have an island that we own?” Trump asked staff in the Situation Room in February 2020, the Washington Post reported. “What about Guantanamo?”
Trump pressed Justice Department to challenge election: Documents
Returning to the public eye, Trump will head to US-Mexico border
US rescinds Trump-era asylum restrictions for violence survivors
Guantanamo Bay is a detention camp on Cuba the US uses to house those accused of serious crimes, including enemy combatants from foreign wars and those allegedly behind the September 11 attacks.
“We import goods,” the book claims Trump, who later contracted COVID-19, said to his staff. “We are not going to import a virus.”
Trump walks from the White House to the Marine One helicopter wearing a face mask to fly to Walter Reed Medical Center, where he stayed after testing positive for COVID, on October 2, 2020 [Leah Millis/Reuters]
The comments came before coronavirus cases exploded in the US. Trump’s administration faced sustained criticism over its handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 601,000 people, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.
The majority of those deaths, roughly 400,000, occurred under Trump’s administration.
Trump’s aides were stunned by the question about Guantanamo Bay and shut down the idea the second time it was raised, the Post reported.
The book, entitled Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History, was written by Post journalists Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta.
The contents of the book came from interviews with former senior Trump advisors and health officials, recounting numerous conversations that outline the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.
“Testing is killing me!” the book claims Trump said to then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on March 18. “I’m going to lose the election because of testing! What idiot had the federal government do testing?”
Five days earlier, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner took charge of the US’s testing strategy, the book says.
Azar responded: “Uh, do you mean Jared?”
Trump also wanted to fire Robert Kadlec, the then-emergency preparedness chief at the Department of Health and Human Services, and a senior Department of State official, for their roles in allowing 14 US citizens infected with coronavirus to board a cruise ship to return to the US.
Trump was unsuccessful in doing so, as he was with other officials, the book claims.
Tensions between Trump and bureaucrats caused other issues, according to Abutaleb and Paletta.
Trump watches Dr Anthony Fauci speaks about COVID in the White House amid Trump’s recommendations of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, which put him at odds with medical professionals, including Fauci [File: Alex Brandon/AP Photo]
Instead of firing Dr Anthony Fauci, the then-director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Trump’s team neglected his and other health officials’ recommendations, favouring those of economic experts and Kushner, the book says.
Fauci and Trump had sparred over Trump’s recommendation of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, and other medically questionable remarks regarding the coronavirus.
Overall, the work environment soured as the pandemic raged. Abutaleb and Paletta described it as “a toxic environment in which no matter where you turned, someone was ready to rip your head off or threatening to fire you”.
Facebook suspends Donald Trump until January 2023
Trump’s actions on Facebook during the US Capitol riot were a ‘severe violation of our rules’, the company says.
4 Jun 2021
Trump’s defender in rape defamation suit: Biden’s Justice Dept
The DOJ under Biden has argued it was justified for the federal government under Trump to take over defence in the case.
8 Jun 2021
US to investigate Trump-era seizures of Democrats’ phone data
Calls grow for former attorneys general Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions to testify about the data seizures.
11 Jun 2021
Tokyo Olympics: Dutch rowing coach tests positive for COVID-19
Shanghai cancels flights as Typhoon In-Fa approaches
Nearly 60 prosecuted over Cuba demonstrations, says top official
Another Nicaraguan presidential hopeful arrested in crackdown
US-China talks come at time of heightened tension
Canada is deporting its ‘guardian angels’
Thousands protest amid global anger against COVID restrictions
Can Israel criminalise Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the US?
Our Channels
Our Network
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2021 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless.
You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen. To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.
Cookie preferences