For more than two months, the United States federal government has known of the potential threats posed by COVID-19.
But during a press conference held at the White House to declare a national emergency, Trump pushed back on the notion that he had any responsibility for the government’s slow response when dealing with the coronavirus crisis. He questionably also laid blame on the Obama Administration for its response to the Swine Flu.
Black women journalists Yamiche Alcindor (PBS) and Kristen Welker (NBC) had to check him on both points.
“You said you don’t take responsibility for the slow response to coronavirus but your administration disbanded the White House office on pandemics?” Alcindor noted.
Trump responded by calling it a “nasty question” and insinuated that Alcindor was laying blame on the wrong person, though he considers himself the President of the United States. “When you say me, I didn’t do it,” Trump shot back. “We have a group of people [in the administration].”
Trump also claimed that he “knew nothing about” the closing of the office that would be responsible for handling an event like the coronavirus.
When MSNBC correspondent Kristen Welker asked Trump again if he feels he should take any responsibility for the lag in coronavirus testing. Trump said, “No, I don’t take responsibility at all.” He continued, “We were given a set of circumstances…it wasn’t meant for this kind of an event with the kind of numbers that we’re talking about.”
Trump went on to blame Obama and his response to the H1N1 virus. “They didn’t do testing like this,” Trump claimed, furthering the lie that the administration didn’t do testing until “far too late.” Welker pointed out that Trump is lying and that a million people had been tested at a similar point during the Obama Administration.
Though missteps were admittedly made during the H1N1 outbreak, the responses of the two leaders were dramatically different. Obama took responsibility. Trump lashed out at Black women journalists who tried to show him the light, and said he takes “no responsibility at all.”