McConnell admits ‘I was wrong,’ Obama ‘did leave’ Trump a pandemic plan

White House press secretary calls Obama plan ‘insufficient’ then touts a never-before mentioned Trump pandemic plan that was implemented in 2018

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has admitted that former President Barack Obama did leave the current administration a game plan for handling a pandemic, walking back his earlier comments that Obama shared blame for the coronavirus outbreak and “should have kept his mouth shut” about President Donald Trump’s response.

“Clearly, the Obama administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this,” McConnell said Monday in an interview with Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, on Team Trump Online.

By Thursday night, however, McConnell reversed course in an interview on Fox News.

“I was wrong,” he said. “They did leave behind a plan. I clearly made a mistake in that regard,” McConnell said.

“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.”

Obama’s National Security Council did present the Trump administration detailed guidance on how to respond to a pandemic.

The Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents contains step-by-step breakdown on how the federal government should navigate the chaos of a pandemic, according to Politico.

The document includes directives on the critical questions to ask in the outset, and spells out the responsibilities of the various federal agencies.

Most notably, the document lists novel coronavirus as one of the kinds of pathogens that could require a major response, according to CNN.

It has also been widely reported that outgoing Obama officials also led an in-person pandemic response exercise for Trump officials during the presidential transition in January 2017.

McConnell’s criticism of the former president Monday was sparked after a tape-recorded call surfaced last weekend of Obama calling Trump’s response to the pandemic “an absolute chaotic disaster.”

During his sit-down with on Trump campaign webcast, McConnell also falsely accused Obama of being the first to ever criticize his successor.

“I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut,” the Senate Majority Leader said, while also falsely accusing the former president of being the first to ever criticize his successor.

“I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you,” McConnell said.

The next day, former Vice President Joe Biden excoriated McConnell on Twitter for saying Obama didn’t leave Trump a game plan for pandemic response.

“This is a bunch of malarkey and you know it,” Biden tagged the majority leader. “We left a 69-page playbook on how to fight pandemics.”

McEnany touts Trump plan

Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House Thursday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany held up a binder that she said was Trump’s own pandemic response plan that was implemented in 2018.

It was the first time anyone in the administration mentioned a Trump specific plan on dealing with the pandemic.

“I just wanted to outline our pandemic preparedness. The Obama-Biden plan that has been referenced was insufficient, wasn’t going to work, so what our administration did under the leadership of President Trump is do an entire 2018 Pandemic Preparedness Report,” she said, holding up a binder.

“Beyond that we did a whole exercise on pandemic preparedness in August of last year and had an entire after-action report put together.”

From there, McEnany pulled out a smaller stack of papers and held them up:  “In other words, the Obama-Biden paper packet was superseded by a President Trump-styled pandemic preparedness response plan,” she said.

Trump, who was standing alongside, immediately jumped in to follow up McEnany’s statement.

“... Which was much better, which was much more complete and which was a lot tougher,” Trump said. “We were given very little when we came into this administration, and they’ve done a fantastic job.”

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