Early last year, two top Trump officials said threat of a deadly pandemic kept them up at night

Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that "nobody" could have possibly foreseen the potential for a deadly plague sweeping across the globe. "Nobody knew there'd be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion," Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden on March 19. "Nobody has ever seen anything like this before."

Actually, anyone who was a student of history had seen something like this before. In fact, two of Trump's top administration officials foreshadowed exactly this type of disaster in their public remarks at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019.

"The thing that people ask: 'What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?' Pandemic flu, of course," said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, according to CNN. "I think everyone in this room probably shares that concern." (Seems Trump wasn't in the room.)

Tim Morrison, then senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense on the White House National Security Council (NSC), told the gathering he had reviewed a book about the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 in order to prepare his remarks. 

"When people ask me what am I really worried about, it's always the thing we're not thinking about," Morrison said. The Spanish flu outbreak, he noted, killed "more people than any other outbreak of disease in human history" in terms of raw numbers. Issues "like that" were what kept him up at night, Morrison added. (Seems Trump was sleeping soundly.)  

Morrison resigned from the NSC last October, just before testifying at the House impeachment hearings about Trump's desire for Ukraine to announce a politically advantageous investigation before he would release U.S. aid to the country. 

At least once a day nearly every day, we find out that Trump either ignored or entirely debilitated some early-warning signal about the potential for a horrifying pandemic to take hold in the U.S. Friday we learned that some of Trump's top officials were indeed concerned about such a fate—he just ignored them or pushed them out of his administration. We also discovered that last fall Trump defunded an early-warning program for pandemics just a couple months before the first reports of the novel coronavirus started coming out of China. Twofer.