the national interest

Trump Blames Lack of Hospital Masks on Obama

Heckuva job, me. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump spent weeks ignoring warnings about the coronavirus from his expert advisers, and the federal government botched its attempts to set up even small-scale testing. Now, with hospitals facing an overwhelming crush of patients, state and federal governments are scrambling to provide them with desperately needed equipment to save lives and protect health-care workers.

After Trump boasted of his work filling the equipment shortage, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond read complaints from doctors about shortages, and asked why he didn’t act weeks ago. Trump blamed his tardiness on the Obama administration. “Many administrations preceded me — for the most part they did very little, in terms of what you’re talking about … We’re making much of the stuff now, it’s being delivered now,” he said.

It’s Obama’s fault? Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration held a high-level briefing with incoming Trump officials to prepare them for a pandemic. In 2018, Trump slashed the high-level pandemic-response office he inherited.

But suppose none of that was true. Suppose Obama did nothing to help Trump prepare for a pandemic. The coronavirus threat was raised by Trump’s advisers in January. The fact they are scrambling to prepare hospitals now — when the crisis is already underway — is a devastating indictment. And Trump’s attempt to blame a president who left office more than three years ago for his failure to act two months ago might be his most pathetic blame-shirking yet.

Trump Blames Lack of Hospital Masks on Obama