Susan Rice, the former national security adviser to President Obama, didn’t hold back when speaking to the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart this Monday, accusing the Trump administration of negligence in its response to the coronavirus outbreak. But when asked if she thought the negligence was deliberate, she stopped short slightly.
“Even I am not prepared to say that and maybe I should, but it’s just inconceivable to me to have to state a proposition that the president of the United States is willfully trying to kill Americans,” Rice said. “I don’t want to say that. I don’t want to believe that. But I do think he’s playing politics.”
Rice, according to Capehart, is living proof that the virus was on the radar of health and government officials for months before the White House started taking it seriously.
“I had met, myself, with my successor, General Michael Flynn, on four occasions over 12 hours. I handed off over 100 briefing papers to him and shared with him the issues I thought were most salient and most important for him to grasp. Among them, the risk that we would face another pandemic,” she recounted. “The reality is … anybody who knows national security, anybody who knows global health, knows development issues, understood that we were not only inevitably going to face another global pandemic, but in fact, that the world was overdue.”
Rice thinks there should be a nationwide stay-at-home order because “when you do these shutdowns early and comprehensively, it makes a difference. It saves lives and it flattens the curve.” She added that Trump hesitancy to issue such an order shows “utter lack of leadership” and “utter incompetence.”
“And he’s been profoundly dishonest about the nature of the threat to the American people by downplaying it, by dismissing it, by comparing it to the flu. … He has misled the American people to such an extent that lives have been lost in the process.”
Read her full interview over at The Washington Post.