As a recession and two endless wars will attest, former President George W. Bush didn't have the best instinct, but a resurfaced speech from 2005 seems uncannily prescient now.
The moment comes from a speech Bush gave to the National Institutes of Health in the first November of his second term.
The 43rd President warned that preparation ahead of a pandemic—much like the one the United States is facing now—was crucial in order to curb its spread.
“If we wait for a pandemic to appear, it will be too late to prepare," President George W. Bush warned in 2005. Th… https://t.co/RfuGzno7Ue— This Week (@This Week)1586100635.0
Bush compared pandemics to forest fires, saying:
"If caught early, it might be extinguished with limited damage. If allowed to smolder, undetected, it can grow to an inferno that spreads quickly beyond our ability to control it...but if we wait for a pandemic to appear, it will be too late to prepare, and one day, many lives could be needlessly lost because we failed to act today."
Sadly, much of his prediction has come true.
President Donald Trump was repeatedly warned of the oncoming pandemic that's upended daily life in the United States—and how to prepare it. During his transition to the White House, outgoing Obama administration officials briefed his team on how to counteract a pandemic, as well as leaving him a playbook with ample guidance. Economists and intelligence officials alike warned that the United States wasn't prepared for a pandemic.
When the first cases of the current virus were reported in the United States, Trump assured the public that it would disappear like a "miracle."
Many of the pandemic plans put in place by the Bush administration—including a national stockpile dedicated to providing medical equipment to the states in the case of a shortage—would suffer under the Trump administration.
Bush's warning struck a chord with those seeing it 15 years later.
Even in light of the dismal response to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush had it right in handling p… https://t.co/MaNqGezfBd— Sharon Gibson (@Sharon Gibson)1586109466.0
Corona was identified and allowed to smolder by Trump... not to mention dismantling the National Security Council’s… https://t.co/YZIaN2Ky1f— D McCoy (@D McCoy)1586142112.0
Message to the stable genius who was briefed about #coronavirus for first time on January 3, 2020, and waited until… https://t.co/jKEojRvoHX— Alfredo Rivas (@Alfredo Rivas)1586119052.0
Yep, pretty much. A reminder: IT DID NOT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. https://t.co/71nOAmcwQb— Allie Rasmus KTVU (@Allie Rasmus KTVU)1586118313.0
Those who recalled the Bush years were amazed at Trump's ability to make Bush seem brilliant.
How strange to reference the last failed Republican president for insight & rebuke of the current one. Bush was no… https://t.co/NgpKqLA0g1— Michael Beaton (@Michael Beaton)1586112314.0
Trump has claimed no one could see this coming, but in reality, we saw it coming 15 years ago.