Even nearly four years into his presidency, President Donald Trump continues to blame his predecessor, former President Barack Obama for every misstep Trump makes.
The pandemic that's upended daily life in the United States and killed 80 thousand Americans is no exception. Trump has baselessly blamed the Obama administration for his own administration's failure to adequately test Americans for the virus in its early stages.
His allies, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), say Obama left the Trump administration ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic.
In reality, the Obama administration left a detailed playbook on how to anticipate and react to pandemics—a playbook which went largely ignored.
One Obama official—Ebola response director Ronald Klain—revealed the contents of page nine of that playbook.
Yes, and then, people have tweeted at me, "Oh sure, maybe the Obama Admin left a Pandemic Playbook, but was it spec… https://t.co/8T4dR2PVIE— Ronald Klain (@Ronald Klain)1589299023.0
The page warns against novel strains of respiratory pathogens that would see a higher death rate than their predecessors.
Mentioned among these novel viruses:
"Coronaviruses: MERS-CoV (reservoir: bats, camels) -18-62% [Case Fatality Rate], SARS (reservoir: unknown) 11-17% CFR"
That was just a bit of the full playbook, which laid out priorities, potential scenarios, and early response options—including recommendations for what would be two of Trump's most consequential failures: fully detecting the scope of virus infections and invoking the Defense Production Act to ensure availability of medical equipment to treat those infected.
Klain wasn't the only one to point to the playbook which went ignored when Trump and his allies tried to blame Obama.
Obama's Vice President—and likely 2020 Democratic nominee—Joe Biden clapped back as well.
This is a bunch of malarkey and you know it, @senatemajldr. We left a 69-page playbook on how to fight pandemics.… https://t.co/PQK6UWuH98— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden)1589314643.0
People weren't buying the spin from Trump.
Pushing back at the false notion pushed by the Trump campaign there was no Obama planning about pandemics. https://t.co/1RjkqhsnMN— Michael S. Derby (@Michael S. Derby)1589299515.0
Someone should tell #MoscowMitch so he doesn't keep misinforming the public. https://t.co/iBe5JvH8mY— Gandalf the G(r)ay & Lathered 🧙🏻♂️🏳️🌈 🧼 (@Gandalf the G(r)ay & Lathered 🧙🏻♂️🏳️🌈 🧼)1589321323.0
But please, tell us more about how Obama had no plan and they weren't warned, Sen. McConnell. https://t.co/63Lkxk9SAo— Derek Rudler (@Derek Rudler)1589324771.0
Jesus. It's literally a bullet point. https://t.co/GvIz88uDut— Ryan Gunterman (@Ryan Gunterman)1589316525.0
Once again, Trump's hatred of reading proved dangerous.
This makes me wonder (again) if anyone in the WH bothers to or even can read. https://t.co/WmNcN4JRMY— mcvay1300 (@mcvay1300)1589324525.0
Trump can't read. Doesn't matter. https://t.co/esxeaHTQCO— Matt Doyle (@Matt Doyle)1589309682.0
Obama's mistake was assuming Trump could read. https://t.co/gzAUgl7iqf— Your Personal Jesus (@Your Personal Jesus)1589313389.0
Trump couldn't have made it past page one on this one. He gets the dunce pass. https://t.co/CloJnqjjeG— Joe Lockhart (@Joe Lockhart)1589310258.0
For a deeper look into Trump's ineptitude, check out A Very Stable Genius, available here.