PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor asked the best and most incisive question during President Donald Trump’s Friday press conference about the coronavirus — and the president lashed out in response.
She noted that earlier in the press conference Trump had said he doesn’t “take responsibility at all” for the administration’s failures to respond to the virus outbreak thus far.
“But you did disband the White House pandemic office,” she said. “And the officials working in that office left this administration abruptly. So what responsibility do you take to that? And the officials that worked in that office said that you — that the White House lost valuable time because that office was disbanded. What do you make of that?”
“Well, I just think it’s a nasty question,” Trump said, despite Alcindor’s complete civility and accuracy.
He continued: “When you say ‘me,’ I didn’t do it.”
“It’s your administration,” Alcindor pointed out.
“It’s my administration,” he responded. “You say we did that, I don’t know anything about it.”
“You don’t know about the reorganization at the National Security Council?” she asked.
“It’s the administration, perhaps they do that, you know?” he said.
It was a stunning display of peevishness, ignorance, and ineptitude. If it’s true that Trump didn’t know about the disbanding of the pandemic group, then he was utterly negligent in his role as president. Of course, the situation isn’t any better if he did know since it shows — as this entire crisis has made clear — that he doesn’t take the threat of disease outbreaks seriously.
Some pointed out, too, that Trump’s comments exposed his hypocrisy given his past claims about leadership:
Leadership: Whatever happens, you’re responsible. If it doesn’t happen, you’re responsible.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2013
Watch the exchange below:
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