“We the People” Demand Transparency: Covid-19 and the Governmental Duty to Inform America

“We the People” Demand Transparency: Covid-19 and the Governmental Duty to Inform America

Ricardo “Rico” J.J. Edwards Jr.

Have you seen the movie 2012?[1] What took place in January 2020, when President Trump was informed about the danger of Covid-19, tells a similar plot. Many audiences can observe the 2012 administration’s silence about Earth’s catastrophic changes, which led to unnecessary deaths. In 2012, the President’s Chief of Staff failed to inform the public about an imminent global disaster despite pleas from the President’s chief science advisor.[2] The 2012 administration’s nondisclosure to the public was disastrous. American people were uninformed and unable to evacuate, causing a tremendous loss of life.[3] Millions of impoverished persons died though the wealthy knew about the Earth’s coming reconfiguration (i.e., deadly volcanic eruptions, shifting tectonic plates, and rising seas) for years.[4] 

If President Trump informed the public about Covid-19’s arrival, restrictions such as social distancing[5] might be a relic of the past. It is debatable if President Trump’s inaction led to more fatalities. Whether receiving little or no information is enough to blame one person is perplexing. Did he underestimate Covid-19’s vigor before spreading misinformation to the Nation and turning away from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)[6], the Nation’s leading public health institution?[7] The Executive Office of the President (EOP) was created under President Franklin in 1939.[8] It intends to communicate a U.S. President’s message “to the American people and promot[e] . . . trade interests abroad.”[9] EOP also houses several advisors traditionally close to the Nation’s President, such as the National Security Council.[10]

This Note argues that, when informed, U.S. Presidents should have an obligation to warn the public of deadly public health occurrences such as a pandemic. Part I provides a historical analysis of past Presidential actions (how they dealt with pandemics. Part II disputes the Trump Administration’s “commitment to protecting the American people from the . . . health and economic impacts of COVID-19.”[11] It touches on the Preamble and pivotal U.S. Supreme Court cases that bring greater meaning and question President Trump’s inaction—not informing the public of Covid-19’s danger and possible arrival in America in January 2020. Part III examines the National Emergency Act (NEA) and why it deserves amending. This Note is limited to discussing federal reform considerations to provide better transparency and public trust.

[1] Stephen Whitty, ‘2012′ movie review: Roland Emmerich ends the world … again, NJ.com: True Jersey. (Apr.1, 2019), https://www.nj.com/entertainment/tv/2009/11/2012_movie_review.html.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Social distancing means “keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household.” Social Distancing, U.S. Ctr. For Disease Control, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html (Last Updated June 11, 2021).

[6] Social Distancing, U.S. Ctr. For Disease Control, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html (Nov. 25, 2020).

[7] Libby Cathey, Trump, downplaying virus, has mocked wearing masks for months, ABC News (Oct. 2, 2020), https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-downplaying-virus-mocked-wearing-masks-months/story?id=73392694. Other news outlets also expressed the same sentiment. Richard Fowler, Richard Fowler: Americans are tired of Trump’s Lies, Incompetence, Ignorance and Failures, Fox News (Oct. 31, 2020).

[8] Executive Office of the President, The White House (Mar. 16, 2021), https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/executive-office-of-the-president/.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11]The CARES Act Works for All Americans, U.S. Department of the Treasury (Oct. 15, 2020), https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares.


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