Days after Mitch McConnell publicly criticized Barack Obama for having an opinion on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the Kentucky lawmaker is admitting that he was wrong when he said the former administration had not offered a playbook for responding to an infectious disease.
When questioned about it by Fox News’s Bret Baier, McConnell said, “I was wrong. They did leave behind a plan, so I clearly made a mistake in that regard.”
During an interview with Lara Trump, Mitch McConnell told the Team Trump Online host that Obama “should have kept his mouth shut” about what he felt was a “chaotic” response to COVID-19. He also said that Obama was “classless” for speaking on the current administration in a private phone call.
“I think President Obama should’ve kept his mouth shut,” McConnell opined. “I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you.”
Twitter ripped him for his critique, but those who worked within the Obama administration pounced on McConnell for another reason. In the interview, he said that Obama had not left a playbook for the handling of an outbreak such as the coronavirus, which was simply not true.
“They claim pandemics only happen once every hundred years but what if that’s no longer true?” McConnell said on Monday. “We want to be early, ready for the next one, because clearly the Obama administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this.”
And that’s where Mitch’s opinion about Obama turned into a lie. The Obama administration had, in fact, left a playbook for the new occupants of the White House. The 69-page National Security Council guidance included 40 pages, according to CNN, of step-by-step advice to help make a health outbreak, like the coronavirus, easier to manage. They also, according to Ronald Klain, the Obama administration’s Ebola response coordinator, left a global monitoring system and an office on pandemic preparedness and held a meeting with the new administration about what to do if a virus were to infiltrate the country, prior to handing over the reins.
Despite knowing that the Trump administration had not followed Obama’s playbook and that they ignored or disbanded the safety measures put in place, McConnell said on Thursday, “whether or not the plan was followed and who’s the critic and all the rest, I don’t have any observation about that because I don’t know enough about the details of that to comment on it in any detail.”