President Donald Trump has tried to claim that the coronavirus pandemic came out of nowhere and that his administration couldn’t have possibly been better prepared for it.
However, CNN reports that past statements from his own administration’s officials show that the threat of a pandemic hammering the United States was long seen as a danger that the country was not equipped to handle.
“Of course, the thing that people ask: ‘What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?’ Pandemic flu, of course,” said Trump HHS Secretary Alex Azar nearly one year ago.
Former administration official Tim Morrison, meanwhile, said at the same time that he had been reading about the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak to get a handle on what it would take to solve such a crisis, which he noted killed “more people than any other outbreak of disease in human history.”
“So when people ask me what keeps me up at night, it’s issues like that,” Morrison added.
Trump, however, has insisted for months that no one would have seen a pandemic like this coming.
“Nobody knew there’d be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion,” Trump said on March 19th. “Nobody has ever seen anything like this before.”
Trump also said last month that “we’re having to fix a problem that, four weeks ago, nobody ever thought would be a problem,” and “it’s something that nobody expected.”