Biden blasts McConnell claim about Obama pandemic prep as a ‘Bunch of malarkey’

Politics

Former Vice President Joe Biden slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Tuesday, accusing him of spreading “malarkey” about the Obama administration’s preparation for pandemics like the coronavirus outbreak.

“Clearly, the Obama administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this,” McConnell said during an interview Monday night with Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law. Later in the interview, he seemed to address Obama directly, saying, “you had your shot, you were there for eight years.”

“This is a bunch of malarkey and you know it, @senatemajldr,” Biden tweeted above a link to the interview. “We left a 69-page playbook on how to fight pandemics.”

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Biden was referring to a 69-page document compiled in 2016 by the National Security Council (NSC). According to Politico, which reported on the document in March, the Obama administration created the playbook as a way to prevent a repeat of perceived mistakes by world leaders during the 2014-15 ebola outbreak.

Neither McConnell’s office nor the Trump campaign immediately responding to Fox News’ requests for comment. A former NSC official, however, told Politico that the document was inadequate.

“We are aware of the document, although it’s quite dated and has been superseded by strategic and operational biodefense policies published since,” the official said at the time. But a former U.S. official who served in both the Obama and Trump administrations claimed that the playbook “was thrown onto a shelf” under Trump.

The Obama administration’s response has come under focus as Trump has continually blamed his predecessor for failing to ensure future administrations would have enough supplies to grapple with new pandemics.

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On Friday, Obama seemed to fire back when he described the Trump administration’s response as an “absolute chaotic disaster.”

“This election that’s coming up on every level is so important because what we’re going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party,” he said. “What we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy — that has become a stronger impulse in American life.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

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