President Donald Trump has taken to blaming his own administration’s stumbling while responding to the Coronavirus on Barack Obama — but the problem is that, among other issues, the virus didn’t even emerge until years after Obama left office, so the president’s contention that early testing delays can be blamed on shoddy equipment that they inherited from the Obama administration is, quite simply, nonsense. The Trump administration itself decided to try and develop its own Coronavirus test, and they’re the ones whose self-developed tests initially failed.
On Saturday, Trump insisted at a White House press conference:
‘I started with an obsolete, broken system from a previous administration. Unfortunately, some partisan voices are attempting to politicize the issue of testing, which they shouldn’t be doing, because I inherited broken junk. Just as they did with ventilators where we had virtually none, and the hospitals were empty.’
"We started off with a broken system. We inherited a broken, terrible system. And I always say it — our cupboards were bare. We had very little in our stockpile": Trump tries to blame Obama, who left office in 2017, for a virus that reached the US in 2020 pic.twitter.com/YwMSPkjmw8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 18, 2020
And the next day, he still ludicrously added:
‘We inherited a lot of garbage. We took, ah, they had tests that were no good, they had, all the stuff was no good. It came from somewhere, so whoever came up with it… CDC had obsolete tests, old tests, broken tests, and a mess.’
The Trump administration did not inherit broken testing “junk” or whatever. The president may be so incompetent when it comes to this issue that the point may not have even occurred to him that Coronavirus tests couldn’t have been handed down from the Obama administration let alone proven faulty because the current pandemic virus did not emerge until 2019.
Vox’s Aaron Rupar writes:
‘This is totally nonsensical. The CDC couldn’t have bad tests left over from the Obama administration, because the coronavirus test didn’t exist until this year… Of course, it’s not surprising that Trump is trying to blame Obama… a central theme of Trump’s political life is trying to erase Obama’s legacy across a spectrum of issues. But even by Trump’s standards, the brazenness involved in this particular effort to rewrite history is jarring.’
The president’s concurrent claim that there were virtually no ventilators is, again, brazenly false too — Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health himself recently said that the national stockpile had some 13,000 ventilators, which are especially necessary since the Coronavirus is a respiratory disease. The Trump administration didn’t even move to add to whatever precise amounts of ventilators and other supplies were on hand until mid-March, months after it was clear that the Coronavirus would be a serious threat in the U.S. By the time of the Trump administration’s first orders of crucial medical supplies, “hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and were pleading for shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile,” the Associated Press reports.
Trump has dismissed the needs for these supplies as supposed political plots against his public image. At one point, he even suggested, with no supporting evidence whatsoever, that medical personnel were hoarding supplies and perhaps even selling them on some kind of black market exchange.
More recently, he’s been insisting that the whole response should be up to the states in the first place — but what on earth is the national stockpile of medical supplies there for if not to assist states in times of crisis?