Susan Rice: Trump’s ‘Utter Incompetence’ Has Cost Tens of Thousands of American Lives

Former national security adviser to President Obama, Susan Rice said during an interview on The Washington Post’s “Cape Up,” podcast, Friday that President Donald Trump’s “utter incompetence” is killing “tens of thousands” of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rice said, “Rather than moving immediately from very early January to do the things that we know we have to do, get in place the testing capacity, scale it up so that it’s widely available. Surge the purchase and the distribution of personal protective equipment, ventilators, masks, gloves, gowns, and get that to our hospital systems, build out a bed capacity, call back medical professionals. All these things that states and locals are now doing on the fly. These are the things that we know we needed to do and do at the outset. And so, they didn’t do that. They waited two months. Not the one month that The New York Times had a headline, A Wasted Month, it was a wasted two months, Jonathan. And those two months have meant the difference between many tens of thousands of Americans dying who might otherwise not have died.”

She continued, “He has demonstrated utter lack of leadership, utter incompetence. And he’s been profoundly dishonest about the nature of the threat to the American people by downplaying it, by dismissing it, by you know comparing it to the flu and having his senior officials do the same, having Fox News do the same. He has misled the American people to such an extent that lives have been lost in the process.”

She added, “Whether that’s because he didn’t care or he was trying to downplay the problem and buoy his electoral prospects mistakenly, or whether it was to buck up the markets, or because he doesn’t care, I don’t know what it was. I just know that he has cost tens of thousands of American lives.”

When host Jonathan Capehart asked if Trump’s actions are deliberate, Rice said, “Even I am not prepared to say that and maybe I should, but it’s just inconceivable to me to have to state a proposition that the president of the United States is willfully trying to kill Americans. I don’t want to say that. I don’t want to believe that. But I do think he’s playing politics.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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