McConnell Says He Was ‘Wrong’ to Claim That Obama Administration Left No Pandemic Plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said his claim that the Obama administration left no plan for a national pandemic was “wrong” and there was in fact a playbook in place for the Trump administration.

“I was wrong,” McConnell said during a Fox News interview.

“They did leave behind a plan. So I clearly made a mistake in that regard,” the majority leader continued. “As to whether or not the plan was followed and who is 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.”

Earlier this week, McConnell criticized the Obama administration for leaving no “game plan” for a health emergency on this scale.

“They claim pandemics only happen once every hundred years but what if that’s no longer true? 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,” the Kentucky Republican said during an online Trump campaign event where he was interviewed by Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law.

During the event, McConnell also responded to reports that Obama told associates privately that the Trump administration’s response to the health emergency is an “absolute chaotic disaster.” The Kentucky Republican said Obama “should have kept his mouth shut” and called the former president’s criticism of the current administration’s handling of the pandemic “a little bit classless.”

Obama officials left the Trump administration the Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents, which details questions officials should ask early on if faced with a potential pandemic, such as whether there is sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. The 69-page National Security Council plan also recommends that officials consider whether to invoke the Defense Production Act and urges a “unified message” from the federal government in such an emergency.

Mairead McArdle is a news writer for National Review Online and a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College.

(C) 2020 National Review

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