Donald Trump sought to shift blame on to the Obama administration for a nationwide corona-virus test kit shortage.
The president on Wednesday blamed a federal agency decision during Barack Obama’s presidency, which Trump said made it harder to quickly roll out testing for the virus.
Trump on coronavirus testing: "The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we're doing & we undid that decision a few days ago so that testing can take place in a much more accurate & rapid fashion" (what's he talking about?) pic.twitter.com/Z0UBaORIwI
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 4, 2020
“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing, and we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion,”
he told reporters during a White House meeting with airline executives, whom he had called to discuss the economic effects of the outbreak.
“That was a decision we disagreed with,” he said. “I don’t think we would have made it, but for some reason, it was made.
This man is responsible for leading us out of the Corona Virus?
He doesn't even know nor does he care to know what is going on with healthcare under his own administration or how it is affecting vulnerable people in our society!
Are you serious?!
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) February 27, 2020
It was unclear what decision Trump was referring to.
Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said private laboratories used to be able to develop clinical tests but “in the previous administration that became regulated. For someone to do that they had to file with the FDA”, Redfield said.
But experts on lab testing have said they are unaware of an Obama administration rule that would have hindered the use of tests developed at university or private labs in an emergency.
The responsibility for the coronavirus test kit shortage appears to lie with the CDC’s choice to develop and distribute its own kit rather than use the one recommended by the World Health Organization, according to ProPublica. But the CDC’s tests didn’t work, falsely flagging harmless samples that contained viruses other than Covid-19.
Moreover, Trump ordered the dissolution of the National Security Council’s global health security unit and reassigned its head.
The former national security adviser John Bolton also pressured the team’s counterpart at the Department of Homeland Security to resign.
Trump attacked Democrats for warning of the seriousness of the crisis while spreading disinformation and downplaying the outbreak, his critics have said.
Two days before he was announced as a member of the White House taskforce on coronavirus, Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, declared coronavirus “contained” in the US, despite a plethora of data that suggested it was not.
“I won’t say airtight, but it’s pretty close to airtight,” Kudlow told CNBC, swaddling himself in a comforting narrative that was probably destroyed in his first meeting with the task force.
Last week, a senior health department official alleged that she was retaliated against after raising concerns that staff had been sent to assist Americans evacuated from China because of coronavirus without proper training or appropriate protective gear.
“If efforts are being made to muzzle them, to control messaging so that it suits the political needs of the administration,” Michael Carome of Public Citizen, a not-for-profit consumer advocacy organization, said, “that’s ultimately going to endanger the public.”
The spread of corona-virus has created an emergency situation all over the world. 52 countries are currently affected by the killer virus.
Business activities are drastically reduced and country-to-country visits have been banned. If the situation does not seem to be going towards improvement, the coming time may bring news of unprecedented destruction.