Trump expertly fact-checked by CNN host for blame-shifting and lying about shortages of US pandemic supplies

Trump expertly fact-checked by CNN host for blame-shifting and lying about shortages of US pandemic supplies
President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, addresses his remarks at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

The morning after Donald Trump held yet another coronavirus press conference where he said that the country is about to enter into a week with a sharp increase in COVID-19 deaths, CNN’s Victor Blackwell brutally dissected the president’s lies that the government is helpless because of a shortage of medical supplies because former President Barack Obama left the shelves bare.

Using clips of the president’s ever-evolving excuses and contradictions, the CNN host took apart Trump’s blame-spreading.

“This morning, a fact check,” the CNN host began. “Hospitals across the country are desperate to find the gowns and the gloves and the face shields. And some states have received millions of pieces of that personal protective equipment and the N95 masks from the federal government, but now President Trump says that the strategic national stockpile is nearly depleted of those supplies.”

“A few weeks into what doctors say could be a months-long crisis, but as far back as 2015 the National Institutes of Health acknowledged that in a pandemic, assuming to 20 percent to 30 percent of the population would become ill 1.7 to 3.5 billion respirators would be needed,” he said before repeating, ” 1.7 to 3.5 billion.”

With that he shared a clip of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stating in February, the country had “30 million N95 respirators” in hand.

“Consider that the 2015 government report that I referenced concluded that for pandemics with a lower attack rate and fewer cases, the number of respirators needed would be higher because the pandemic would have longer duration,” he explained before emphasizing, “30 million at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump has consistently blamed one person for the insufficient supply, his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.”

“Now at the start of the Trump administration the repository shelves were not empty,” he elaborated. “The strategic national stockpile has maintained a multi-billion dollar inventory across several administrations including tens of millions of pieces of that protective gear. It is true that experts have warned that the supplies, specifically of the N95 masks has been precariously low since the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. Until the coronavirus outbreak the H1N1 response was largest deployment in the histories of the stockpile .”

Sharing a clip of the former director of the national strategic stockpile saying they never received funding to rebuild the supplies, Blackwell added, “[Greg] Burrell oversaw the stockpile until January of this year. That’s the Bush administration, the Obama administration and the Trump administration, and if President Trump knew that the supply of N95 masks was insufficient, well, then there’s an obvious question.”

Watch below:

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.