Fact check: McConnell claims Obama didn’t leave Trump a pandemic ‘game plan.’ Obama left a 69-page playbook

Appears Monday in a Trump campaign online chat with Lara Trump, the president's daughter-in-law and the campaign's senior advisor, McConnell narrow Obama to criticize Trump's coronavirus response as an "absolutely chaotic disaster" on a private conversation last week with former employees.
As Donald Trump has done done repeatedly During the pandemic, McConnell also laid undeserved guilt on Obama's feet.

"They claim that pandemics only happen every hundred years, but what if it's no longer true? We'll be ready for the next one early, because the Obama administration clearly doesn't leave any kind of game plan to this administration," he said. McConnell.

"That's right," replied Lara Trump.


It was the opposite of the right.

The facts first: Obama's National White House Security Council handed the Trump administration a detailed document on how to respond to a pandemic. The document whose existence was public revealed by Politico in March, called the Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biological Events.
"We literally gave them a 69-page Pandemic Playbook …. which they ignored," Ronald Klain, a campaign adviser for Democratic candidate Joe Biden and former Obama administration's Ebola response coordinator, wrote on Twitter.

The playbook – 40 pages plus annex – contains step-by-step advice on questions to ask, decisions to make, and what federal agencies are responsible for what. It includes sample documents that officials can use for meetings between agencies. And it explicitly lists new coronaviruses as one of the types of pathogens that may require greater response.

The color-coded checklist style document addresses issues such as testing, financing, personal protective equipment, emergency declarations, border control measures, diplomacy, military use, public communications, and even equality services.


It contains dozens of key questions that you can ask at certain stages of the answer ("Should there be schemes for medevac or international clinical care counseling for American people?" "What is the robustness of contact tracking?" "Is the event likely to affect housing so that alternative housing needs may be needed? ") and dozens of important decisions to make (" Decide whether to implement screening and surveillance measures, or other travel actions in the United States or globally ";" Prioritization and allocation of resources subject to Defense Production Act ";" Tailored Waste Management plans to introduce specific conditions ").

"While each growing infectious threat will present itself in a unique way, a consistent, feature-based approach to meeting these threats will allow for faster decisions with more targeted expert content from federal departments and agencies," the document states.


There is absolutely valid criticism of Obama's pandemic preparations, and it is possible to claim that the playbook was insufficient for the current pandemic. A current NSC official, whom Politico cited anonymously, described the 2016 document as "quite dated." It is not clear who in the Trump administration saw the 69-page playbook.

Still, it is clearly not true that Obama left no "game plan" at all.

In addition to the playbook, draining senior Obama officials also led a personal exercise against the pandemic response of senior incoming Trump officials in January 2017 – required by a new law to improve presidential transitions like Obama signed in 2016. political reported in March that meeting, attended by current Trump Secretary of State, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, discussed how to deal with a hypothetical flu crisis, among other scenarios.
"The crazy thing is that Obama left them a WH pandemic office, a literal playbook, a cabinet-level exercise and a global infrastructure to deal with & # 39; something like this, & # 39;" Ben Rhodes, who served as Obama's national security adviser, so on Twitter in response to McConnell's claim.

McConnell's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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