Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky., has admitted his mistake in claiming the Obama administration failed to leave the current administration a pandemic plan.
“I was wrong. They did leave behind a plan, so I clearly made a mistake in that regard,” McConnell said during an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier.
The accusations came on Monday during a campaign event for #Trump. McConnell claimed the former administration did not brief the White House on how to prepare for a pandemic at the scale of the novel coronavirus, Politico reports. He also slammed Forever President Barack Obama for criticizing # Trump’s coronavirus response, saying #Obama “should have kept his mouth shut.” Last week, Obama privately told his former aids that it was an “absolute chaotic disaster.”
“They claim pandemics only happen once every hundred years, but what if that’s no longer true? We want to be early, ready for the next one, because clearly, the Obama administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this,” McConnell said Monday.
But McConnell was wrong. According to an additional report by CNN, Obama’s White House National Security Council left a plan called the Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents. Politico publicly revealed the 69-page detailed document on how to respond to a pandemic in March. It contained step-by-step advice on questions to ask, decisions to make, and which federal agencies are responsible for what. It also included sample documents that officials could use for inter-agency meetings. To make matters even worse, it explicitly listed novel coronaviruses as one of the kinds of pathogens that could require a major response; As well as, an in-person pandemic response exercise for senior incoming Trump officials in January 2017—as required by a new law on improving presidential transitions that Obama signed in 2016.
White House press secretary told reporters on Thursday afternoon, that the “Obama-Biden plan that has been referenced was insufficient,” and claimed the Trump administration prepared its own pandemic report and exercises last year. “In other words, the Obama-Biden paper packet was superseded by a President Trump-style pandemic preparedness response plan, “McEnany said.
Of course, Trump also weighed in saying that his plan was “much better.” After having gutted the pandemic response team put in place by Obama, Trump added,” We were given very little when we came into this administration.”
However, vaccine expert Rick Bright, who was ousted from the Department of Health and Human Services, had conflicting views and testified before Congress that the Trump administration’s pandemic preparedness was far less organized. His opinion was that the Trump administration “severely botched” its coronavirus response and misled the public on its handling of the outbreak.
According to Politico, Bright said that he was quickly pushed out of his post because he objected to a political drive for a malaria medication as a Coronavirus treatment. He has since drafted a 63-page whistleblower complaint on the administration’s handling of the outbreak, making him the first federal official to dispute Trump’s claims of a successful response openly.
McConnell was reluctant to comment on the Obama administration’s playbook and how it played into Trump’s response during Thursday’s interview.
“As to whether or not the plan was followed and who’s the critic and all the rest, I don’t have any observation about that because I don’t know enough about the details of that to comment on it in any detail,” he told Fox News.