On Saturday, during a press briefing at the White House, President Donald Trump warned Democratic governors and lawmakers against treating the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic like the “Russia witch hunt,” reports Mediaite.
Trump called for cooperation between Republicans and Democrats, arguing that the latter view the crisis caused by the virus as their chance to win the November election.
“Unfortunately with the other side, they are viewing it as an election. So I don’t know, I don’t think I’d do that on the other side. I think here we have a crisis and that we have to work together,” he said.
Trump then likened the criticism he has received from Democrats to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, arguing that they should refrain from attacking the federal government over its response to the crisis.
“This should not be a partisan witch hunt. You know like the Russia witch hunt that turned out to be a total phony deal. Unfortunately, some of these voices though are attempting to bring this into politics — whether it’s testing, ventilators, or hospital beds.”
As Mediaite notes, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polling data, 49.9 percent of Americans disprove and 47.4 percent approve of the way Trump is handling the response to the pandemic.
Trump discussed a number of other issues during the press briefing, attacking Democratic politicians, criticizing the media, and touting what he claims are some of his administration’s many accomplishments. As Vox reporter Aaron Rupar pointed out via Twitter, Trump also argued that he “inherited broken junk” from former President Barack Obama.
During the briefing, Trump repeatedly blamed the former president for issues with logistics and for the lack of resources necessary to respond to the pandemic, claiming that the Obama administration did not even care to ensure that there are enough ventilators in hospitals across the country.
"We started off with a broken system. We inherited a broken, terrible system. And I always say it — our cupboards were bare. We had very little in our stockpile": Trump tries to blame Obama, who left office in 2017, for a virus that reached the US in 2020 pic.twitter.com/YwMSPkjmw8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 18, 2020
In January, long before the coronavirus pandemic broke out in the United States, The Guardian reported on the lack of preparedness to deal with COVID-19. Various agencies and offices necessary in public health crises have been gutted or completely eliminated by the Trump administration.
In May, for instance, then-national security adviser John Bolton eliminated the position of senior director for global health security and biothreats on the national security council, which was established in 2016 during the Ebola outbreak.
Nevertheless, the president has continued to shift the blame to Democratic Party politicians. The president’s most recent remarks echo the statements he made earlier this week when he suggested that Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is “on vacation” instead of doing her job.