Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted Thursday that he lied earlier this week when he said the Obama administration did not leave behind any “game plan” for responding to a pandemic.
“I was wrong. They did leave behind a plan, so I clearly made a mistake in that regard,” McConnell said on Fox News. “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.”
On Monday, McConnell participated in a Trump campaign online chat, in which he said Obama “should have kept his mouth shut” instead of calling the president’s response to COVID-19 “an absolute chaotic disaster.”
“They claim pandemics only happen once every hundred years, but what if that’s no longer true?” McConnell said. “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.”
CNN later fact-checked McConnell’s statement: Obama’s White House National Security Council left the Trump administration a detailed document on how to respond to a pandemic. The document, whose existence was publicly revealed by Politico in March, is called the Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.”We literally left them a 69-page Pandemic Playbook…. that they ignored,” Ronald Klain, a campaign adviser to Democratic candidate Joe Biden and the former Obama administration Ebola response coordinator, wrote on Twitter.The playbook — 40 pages plus appendices — contains step-by-step advice on questions to ask, decisions to make, and which federal agencies are responsible for what. It includes sample documents that officials could use for inter-agency meetings. And it explicitly lists novel coronaviruses as one of the kinds of pathogens that could require a major response.