UPDATE: Trump has since issued a national state of emergency over the coronavirus.
The move frees up $50 billion for states to deal with the crisis. During the address, Trump also said up to half a million tests would be available early next week, and that a list of locations would probably be announced on Sunday night. Drive-through test locations will also be established in certain critical locations with help from Google as well.
Trump also took questions from reporters present during the address, including one where he was asked if he took responsibility for the delay in making coronavirus tests available.
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” he responded.
Following that, Trump was asked by PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor about his closure of the White House’s pandemic response team in 2018, to which he called a “nasty question.”
Read the original story below.
Trump also criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the swine flu, H1N1, calling it a “full-scale disaster.”
Donald Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to criticize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over its testing system for the coronavirus and, in the process, also put some of the blame on Barack Obama.
“For decades the @CDCgov looked at, and studied, its testing system, but did nothing about it,” he tweeted. “It would always be inadequate and slow for a large scale pandemic, but a pandemic would never happen, they hoped. President Obama made changes that only complicated things further…..”
For decades the @CDCgov looked at, and studied, its testing system, but did nothing about it. It would always be inadequate and slow for a large scale pandemic, but a pandemic would never happen, they hoped. President Obama made changes that only complicated things further…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2020
“….Their response to H1N1 Swine Flu was a full scale disaster, with thousands dying, and nothing meaningful done to fix the testing problem, until now,” he continued. “The changes have been made and testing will soon happen on a very large scale basis. All Red Tape has been cut, ready to go!”
In response to Trump’s tweet, a trending topic has emerged on Twitter called “Blaming Obama,” with a number of people reacting to Trump blaming the CDC’s problems on Obama.
As Trump tries blaming Obama for CDC problems, let's recall:
-Every Trump budget has proposed cutting CDC's budget. His OMB chief still backs cutting $1.2 billion this year
-Trump's 2017 hiring freeze left 700 CDC positions vacant
(From May 2017👇) https://t.co/q5hO0g9flt
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) March 13, 2020
Trump has been in charge of the country for more than three years. The main outbreak-related action he took was to disband the pandemic preparedness unit within the White House and try to slash CDC funding. Now he's blaming Obama. He is so unbelievably unfit for office. https://t.co/IgelttF0EL
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) March 13, 2020
As some have pointed out, the Trump administration removed the position of senior director for global health security and biodefense in 2018. The role has yet to be reinstated. In February, Trump introduced his fiscal year 2021 budget proposal that included a 16 percent reduction in CDC funding from last year’s budget proposal. As ABC News noted, although all of Trump’s budget proposals have included cuts to CDC funding, “Congress has intervened each time by passing spending bills with year-over-year increases for the CDC that Trump then signed into law.”
It has also since been revealed that Trump allegedly blocked coronavirus testing in January to aid his reelection chances. While appearing on NPR’s Fresh Air, Politico reporter Dan Diamond shared that Alex Azar, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, warned Trump that the coronavirus could be a major problem back in January. But Trump didn’t push to do additional testing this week because “more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear — the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall,” according to Diamond.
MAJOR BREAKING NEWS: NPR Source Says Trump Blocked Coronavirus Testing in January to Aid His Reelection Chances By Keeping US Infection Figures Low
NOTE: Please RETWEET this—America needs to know what this monster did. Thousands of future deaths will rightly be laid at his feet. https://t.co/FFGm5BDmIF
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) March 12, 2020
H/T: ABC News