March 20, 2020
In 2012, Congress passed the S.T.O.C.K. Act, ultimately outlawing the use of non-public information for private profit. *transition* . Earlier today NPR released damning evidence of insider trading in relations to the Coronavirus pandemic. The audio features Sen. Richard Burr (NC) urging political backers to dump stocks during the pandemic’s early stages. In a similar fashion, substantial evidence confirms that Sen. Kelly Loeffler (GA) dumped several millions in stocks before the pandemic intensified. This damning report, in addition to its severe legal implications, showcases the Trump administration’s reckless abandon in regard to the looming pandemic. It begs the question, “If higher-ups can’t be trusted to make public safety a priority, can they be trusted with handling a national emergency?”
Not only does the NPR report suggest a violation of the S.T.O.C.K. Act, it also implies that congress and legislative officials were aware of the gravity of the impending crisis. In contrast, Trump assured the public that same day and offered no semblance of self-quarantine. In the following weeks, Americans were armor-less in defeating the intensifying storm. There seems to be a gray area between Congress’s briefing on the virus’s prevalence and the release of said information to America’s masses. Who knows how long this period could be? A week? A month? God forbid, a year? It’s frightening to consider how long legislative officials withheld such information, especially when considering its socioeconomic impact.
One of the more striking implications of NPR’s bombshell is the sheer incompetence of the Trump administration. They are sitting on a powder keg; Trump could either admit to withholding vital information- and forfeit any semblance of integrity he owns- or a handful of senators were granted access to Intel before the Trump administration. As Trump stated on March 18, “There is nothing to worry about…..The virus will go away.” The lackluster response to the pandemic is merely a reflection of the administration’s indifference. Irrespective of shutdowns and pleas to self-quarantine, it would take a major attitudinal shift to stress the consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic.