If Donald Trump is the cancerous tumor slowly leeching the life out of American democracy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the doctor who refuses to operate.
It long ago became clear that this president is painfully unfit for office and yet McConnell has chosen to support him in lockstep, stonewalling his impeachment despite the mountains of evidence against him because he sees Trump as a useful rubberstamp for the right-wing legislative agenda.
Now, Trump is in the midst of his greatest failure to date with his anemic federal response to the COVID-19 outbreak and still McConnell is protecting him at the expense of the American people. Today, the senator employed a particularly pathetic excuse for Trump’s shortcomings: blaming Obama.
During a conversation with Lara Trump, McConnell sought to rewrite history.
“Clearly the Obama administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this,” McConnell lied. Lara Trump quickly backed him up in support of her odious father-in-law and claimed that the “Obama-Biden administration left us high and dry in this time right now.”
The shamelessness of McConnell’s partisan messaging here is rivaled only by its patent dishonesty. Obama didn’t force Trump to dismiss the novel coronavirus as a Democratic “hoax,” Obama didn’t force Trump to fire the CDC’s pandemic response team, and Obama didn’t force Trump to suggest that injecting toxic disinfectant into the body could help fight the coronavirus. Trump’s disastrous handling of the virus is entirely Trump’s fault.
More to the point, Obama did leave a “game plan for something like this.” After weathering the Ebola and H1N1 swine flu, the Obama administration bulked up the United States’ pandemic response infrastructure. Obama’s National Security Council drafted a literal playbook composed of 69 pages worth of strategies for how to deal with future outbreaks. The Trump White House failed to competently deploy it.
According to several former officials and pandemic experts, once Trump assumed office he set about dismissing and dismantling some of the key preparations set in place by the Obama White House. President Trump also failed to coherently articulate goals for the COVID-19 response. While some of the apparatus for handling something like this was allowed to remain in place, he failed to wield it properly.
All of which is to say that Mitch McConnell is lying through his teeth. It’s not that Obama failed to leave Trump a pandemic game plan, it’s not even that Obama left one that proved inadequate. No, the reality is that Obama left a detailed game plan that Trump promptly tossed in the trash. Americans are dying because of that decision.
Sen. Mitch McConnell: "Clearly the Obama administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this." pic.twitter.com/fVqEKviOR3
— The Hill (@thehill) May 12, 2020