St. Louis Post-Dispatch: ‘If the pandemic-preparedness cupboard was bare, it was Trump’s doing.’

Editorial:

Poor Trump. He just cannot make the world understand that he inherited a mess from the Obama administration. Or was it China or WHO that’s to blame for Trump’s dithering and lies that caused nearly 100K Americans to die.

“We inherited a broken, terrible system …,” Trump told reporters on April 18. “Our cupboards were bare. We had very little in our stockpile.” That was Trump’s attempt, frequently repeated by the president and recycled in White House presentations, to lay responsibility for the inept pandemic response at Obama’s feet, as if three years in office were insufficient for Trump to repair all the supposed damage his predecessor wrought.

Except it’s a lie of colossal Trumpian proportions.

But, there’s a problem with all that. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ‘dissected’ the CDC’s budget from the year before President Obama left office:

  • Obama left the prepared for a pandemic; Trump dismantled all his efforts.
  • Obama asked Congress for an increase from $15 million, to $46.6 million. Congress approved $31.6 million. Trump has asked for nothing.

Obama asked to nearly double his own $40 million outlay for epidemiology and laboratory capacity. Congress balked, but Obama left Trump with that $40 million as a starting point. What did Trump do? In his 2020 budget, he asked Congress to cut that number to: Zero. Zilch. Nothing.

  • President Obama wanted $629.5 million in funding for pandemic preparedness; Congress gave him $612 million.

If Trump was so worried about a bare cupboard, why did he ask Congress to cut the 2020 pandemic preparedness budget by $102.9 million? In the 2019 fiscal year budget, he sought a $595.5 million cut in the overall public health preparedness and response outlay.

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