Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice said during an interview on CNN, Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s “abdication of leadership” was responsible for the “23,000 lives” lost in barely two months during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rice said, “Yesterday’s performance from the White House briefing was full of lie. The month of February was a lost month. Frankly, the month of January too was also a lost month because we understand in pandemics that once they break out and you have a novel virus in any part of the world if it can be spread easily from human to human, we are in trouble. That’s the point at which things should have started to kick into gear — the kind of preparations that I described earlier. The travel ban on those traveling from China, never the less, could have bought us valuable time to accelerate those preparations. That whole time frame after the imposition of the travel ban, by the way, 40,000 people came to this country from China but never less that ban gave us the opportunity to accelerate our preparations but instead of accelerating our preparations as you pointed out, again, a wasted month in which the threat was downplayed.”
She added, “What was the period where we ought to begin recognizing once we had cases in the United States and evidence of the beginnings of community spread that we really needed to look at lockdown sorts of orders and authorities. Again, that time was wasted. The president creating a jungle environment where every state had to defend itself and every state to buy their own critical equipment and competing once again another and competing against the federal government and bidding up the price to the benefit of the private sectors. That’s not leadership. That’s an abdication of leadership, and it continues this day. ”
Host Anderson Cooper said, “It is easy to kind of — I don’t know how to say this. It is one thing for the president to kind of do this stuff and other times when it is inappropriate and ridiculous and shameless when people are actually dying because of a lack of decisions being made and a lack of preparation it takes it to another level where people have died who did not have to die.”
Rice replied, “That’s right, Anderson. We have over 23,000 Americans whose lives have been lost already. And this is not nearly over. We may have begun to flatten the curve in New York State and New York City, this is going to take a long time. We’ll be very, very fortunate in the United States and globally if we don’t see a second and potentially a third wave of this before we have a vaccine that’s widely accessible. I really hope the president does not declare prematurely mission accomplished and try to celebrate his success when we already lost more than 23,000 lives in barely two months. Lives that many of which necessarily did not need to be lost. And our economy is in the tank? It is a very, very tragic situation that could have been lessened with responsible and effective leadership. Sadly that is not what we have at the moment.”
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