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Carson defers to task force on containment of cruise ship, media attacks him for ‘refusal to preview plan’

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The Trump-hating media is quick to protest any suggestions that they’re politicizing the coronavirus to harm President Trump, even as they continue to do just that.

On Sunday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” and was asked by anchor George Stephanopoulos about the plans to deal with the 3,500 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise liner once it docks in Oakland, California.

The cruise ship is reportedly carrying at least 21 people who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus, and is set to arrive at the Oakland port Monday after being held at sea for several days.

Carson’s response was to say that a plan was being formulated and that he was not prepared to preview it on live television.

Mediaite’s Ken Meyer reported that Carson “refused to elaborate on how the Trump administration is going to deal with the imminent docking of the Grand Princess, a cruise ship known to be carrying 21 people who’ve been infected by the coronavirus.”

The exchange between Carson and Stephanopoulos can be seen here.

 

“The cruise ship personnel and, as you know, the vice president met with the CEOs of the major cruise ship companies yesterday, and they are coming up with a plan within 72 hours of that meeting,” Carson said, in response to the inquiry about the ship.

Stephanopoulos would then note that “the ship is docking tomorrow.”

“The plan will be in place by that time, but I don’t want to preview the plan right now,” Carson replied.

With an accusing tone, Stephanopoulos pressed, “Shouldn’t you be able to do that?”

“I think it needs to all come from a solidarity source, we shouldn’t have 16 people saying what the plan is. Particularly when it hasn’t been fully formulated,” Carson said.

Keep in mind that Carson, a former neurosurgeon, heads up Housing and Urban Development. Yet, because he’s representing the administration, Stephanopoulos expects him to preview a plan still in the works.

And the media characterizes deferring to those formulating the plan as a refusal to elaborate.

President Trump was asked during a visit Friday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the Grand Princess, which has been stranded off San Francisco.

‘They would like to have the people come off. I’d rather have the people stay [on the ship]. But I’d go with them. I told them to make the final decision,” he said. “I would rather — because I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

The remark being an apparent reference to the federal coronavirus task force being headed up by Vice President Mike Pence.

“Those that will need to be quarantined will be quarantined,” Pence would say of the passengers on the ship. “Those who will require medical help will receive it.”

The Mediate story coming the same day CNN’s Chris Cillizza tweeted this:

The CNN editor-at-large wrote in the accompanying article: “What sunk President George W. Bush and Republicans in his second term wasn’t the war in Iraq. It was his administration’s mishandling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.”

“Whispers have begun that President Donald Trump’s handling (or mishandling) of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic has the potential to have political consequences just as devastating for the GOP,” he added.

The caveat being that the media cabal he’s part of being the entity that gets to grade Trump’s handling of the crisis — the same cabal doing the whispering.

Tom Tillison

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