NEW: Internal Emails Reveal Trump and Gov. Little’s Failed Idaho COVID-19 Response
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, government watchdog Accountable.US released a new report featuring previously unreported emails between Idaho state officials that demonstrate the Trump administration’s failure to help Idaho procure the resources it needed to fight the pandemic and safely reopen its economy.
The records, obtained through Accountable.US’s 50 States Open Records Project, make Idaho part of an emerging pattern: public records indicate Oregon, Georgia, and New Mexico were also hindered by the Trump administration’s mismanaged, incompetent COVID-19 response in their efforts to secure the supplies and guidance necessary to respond appropriately to the pandemic.
“Instead of heeding the advice of Idaho’s emergency management experts, Governor Little opted to follow the desires of President Trump in reopening his state. The problem is, Trump couldn’t even get Idaho the supplies it needed to manage the pandemic,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Time and again the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis has made it tougher for states like Idaho to get the resources necessary for them to fight COVID-19 and ultimately reopen safely. Gov. Little’s main concern should be protecting Idahoans’ lives, not scoring political points with the President at the expense of public health.”
Among other things, the records revealed that:
- Idaho’s COVID-19 task force members were given just 24 hours to review Governor Little’s reopening plan. After the state’s top emergency management official said the state wasn’t prepared yet to meet the needs for testing, PPE distribution, medical surge capacity, Little released the plan anyway — keeping much of the language about which the official raised questions.
- Idaho lost out on 2.5 million N95 masks after South Africa (allegedly) refused to let a shipment bound for the state out of the country after Trump said that the U.S. would stop sending PPE to its allies abroad.
- Idaho tried to follow through with plans to cut provider Medicaid reimbursements — which disproportionately affects hospitals serving lower-income and rural populations — amid the pandemic. Emails show that the vice president of an Idaho hospital asked if the state could postpone the cuts until after the crisis.
Accountable.US is sharing the records it receives on an ongoing basis. Visit the group’s website to see more records detailing the Trump administration’s failures in responding to COVID-19.