In response to damning testimony from Dr. Rick Bright, President Donald Trump and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed Thursday that the administration had created its own pandemic response plan prior to the COVID-19 crisis.
Trump and Kayleigh McEnany are now trying to dismiss the pandemic response plan Obama left for Trump as a mere “paper packet” that paled in comparison to Trump’s (nonexistent) plan pic.twitter.com/lsQ8UJUqK7— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 14, 2020
“The Obama-Biden plan that has been referenced, was insufficient and wasn’t going to work,” McEnany said as she and the president prepared to board Marine One for a visit to a medical-supply facility in Pennsylvania. “So what our administration did under the leadership of President Trump, is do an entire 28-team pandemic preparedness report. Beyond that, we did a whole exercise on pandemic preparedness in August of last year, and had an entire after-reaction report put together. In other words, the Obama-Biden paper packet was superseded by a President Trump-style Pandemic preparedness plan.”
Trump added: “Which was much better, which was much more complete, which was a lot tougher. We were given very little when we came in to this administration, and they’ve done a fantastic job.”
Dr. Bright: "There is no master coordinated plan on how to respond to this outbreak." pic.twitter.com/uuRY5CMXM5— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) May 14, 2020
In his testimony before a House panel on Thursday, Bright said: “There is no master, coordinated plan on how to respond to this outbreak. We don’t have a strategy or plan in place that identifies each of those critical components and we don’t have as designated agency that is sourcing those critical components and coming up with a strategy to make sure that we have those supplies when we need them.”
Some background from The Courier: To help the incoming administration be better prepared to fight future pandemics, officials under President Obama took what they learned from these battles and prepared a 69-page playbook. Written by Obama’s National Security Council and finalized in 2016, the playbook detailed strategies for when and how to obtain personal protective equipment, and included recommendations on how the government should move quickly to detect and contain potential outbreaks, secure additional funding, and possibly even invoke the Defense Production Act to compel private companies to produce needed medical supplies. But the Trump administration ignored the playbook. Instead, as the Associated Press reported, the Trump administration wasted nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed supplies and equipment. Federal agencies waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators, and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers. By then, it was too late. Doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators have spent weeks pleading for more PPE, ventilators, and medical supplies.
A few reactions from Twitter below.