12th May, 2020
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump have made former President Barack Obama the scapegoat for the country’s pandemic woes.
The U.S. is the worst-hit by the coronavirus in the world.
More than 83,000 Americans have died and over 1.4million have been infected.
In a dialogue with Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, live-streamed by the Trump campaign on Monday evening, McConnell said that Obama’s team, which exited office over three years ago,“did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like [the coronavirus pandemic].”
However, Politico reported in March that the Obama National Security Council left its successors a document titled “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.”
The document warned of potential problems like shortages in personal protective equipment that have plagued the nation’s response.
The Trump administration neglected to implement its recommendations.
“We literally left them a 69-page Pandemic Playbook…. that they ignored,” tweeted Ron Klain, who oversaw the Ebola response under Obama and now advises presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“And an office called the Pandemic Preparedness Office… that they abolished. And a global monitoring system called PREDICT .. that they cut by 75%.”
“The maddening thing is Obama left them a WH office for pandemics, a literal playbook, a cabinet-level exercise, and a global infrastructure to deal with ‘something like this,’” tweeted former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes.
McConnell said it was “classless” of Obama to criticize the federal government’s coronavirus response.
He said Obama “should have kept his mouth shut.”
In an audio of a call with former members of his administration last week obtained by Yahoo News, Obama said that Trump’s handling of the pandemic was “an absolute chaotic disaster.”
“You know, we know he doesn’t like much [what this] administration is doing, that’s understandable,” McConnell added.
“But I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you. You had your shot, you were there for eight years.”
In one of scores of tweets and retweets over the weekend, Trump accused Obama, personally, of “the biggest political crime in American history, by far!”
He made numerous references to “Obamagate,” without explaining what it was.
“You know what the crime is,” said Trump, after multiple reporters had made it clear they did not know what the crime was.
“The crime is very obvious to everybody,” he said.