Over 4.2 million Americans have now contracted COVID-19 and over 146,000 Americans have died already. While the coronavirus outbreak was likely to become a tragedy to some extent even with the most competent leadership imaginable, the sheer magnitude of the current tragedy can be directly laid at the incomplete feet of President Trump and his White House enablers.
From gutting the Centers for Disease Control’s pandemic response team to dismissing coronavirus concerns as a Democratic “hoax,” Trump has repeatedly botched the federal response since day one. This virus has proven to be the test of his presidency and he has failed it in staggering fashion.
True to odious form, the president still refuses to take any responsibility for his mistakes. His attempts to shift the blame away from himself ahead of the 2020 election have grown so desperate that he even went so far as to imply that President Obama is responsible for inadequate COVID-19 testing, even though the disease didn’t occur during his tenure. It’s a truly pathetic strategy and one which his lackeys appear to be mimicking.
Attorney General William Barr, as an obsequious a Trumpian lapdog as one is likely to find in the current administration, was called before Congress today to testify about the numerous scandals and controversies that have rocked his office since his tenure began. His performance was quintessentially Barrian, which is to say heavy on obfuscation and dishonesty while focused firmly on saying or admitting nothing that might upset his boss.
At one point, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) asked Barr if he believes that Trump’s statement that he takes no responsibility for testing failings demonstrates strong leadership. Barr responded by shamelessly attempting to ingratiate himself with Trump by repeating the president’s lie that Barack Obama is to blame for the inadequate virus testing.
“It was accurate,” Barr said of Trump’s remarks. “The problem with the testing system was a function of President Obama’s mishandling of the CDC and his efforts to centralize everything in the CDC when it didn’t have the capacity–” Barr went on until Jeffries interjected to dismiss the claim as both a myth and a lie.
It’s telling that like Trump, Barr was unable to provide any evidence for his smear and is clearly just assuming that MAGAheads will simply accept any unflattering characterizations of Obama as fact. Jeffries’s response was the perfect way to handle such a blatantly untrue statement and he should be commended for refusing to even entertain it.
While being grilled by @RepJeffries, Barr absurdly tries to blame Obama for the Trump's disastrous coronavirus response: "The problem with the testing system was a function of President Obama's mishandling of the CDC." pic.twitter.com/I58V2cL5Xq
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 28, 2020
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.