The Backstory: Questioning authority in times of crisis is not unpatriotic. It’s critical.
CLOSE Dr. Tom Frieden, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warns of ‘catastrophic scenes’ in New York. USA TODAYI’m USA TODAY editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll, and this is The Backstory, insights into our biggest stories of the week. If you’d like to get The Backstory in your inbox every week, sign up here.Questioning authority in times of crisis is not unpatriotic. It’s critical. We want our leaders to be successful, that means holding them accountable. This makes our country stronger. This week, we’ve done just that. Last Friday, President Donald Trump defended the nation’s response to the pandemic: “This administration inherited an obsolete, broken, old system that wasn’t meant for this. We discarded that system. … And we’re very proud of what we’ve done.”Kenneth Bernard, a former assistant surgeon general who wrote the 2004 biodefense plan under President George W. Bush, replied: “If it was broken, why didn’t you fix it two years ago?”Our story Monday found that Congress passed a law in 2016 mandating a federal plan to protect against contagious diseases. “In 2018, President Donald Trump adopted a National Biodefense Strategy,” we reported. “But the document approved by Trump was a blueprint, not a game plan. The ideas weren’t implemented before COVID-19 arrived in the USA. And the federal government’s response