Former national security adviser Susan Rice appeared on CNN's Don Lemon Wednesday evening to discount President Donald Trump's claim that the previous administration left him without anything necessary to fight the coronavirus.
Lemon began his segment alleging that Trump was blaming President Barack Obama for leaving him the keys to the car, driving it for three years, and then blaming Obama for the tank being empty.
"The fact of the matter is we did leave a full tank," said Rice. "Independent journalists who visited the national strategic stockpile in late 2016 - validated that it was, indeed, fully stocked, and so that wasn't the problem. Nor were tests. The problem is, of course, as everybody should understand, you can't create a test for a virus that doesn't exist. And this virus emerged in late 2019, early 2020, on Donald Trump's watch. So, no prior president could have left a test that would have been appropriate for this particular virus. So this is all just throwing sand in the gears."
"We didn't just leave a playbook, we had understood clearly, as, frankly, did the Bush administration before us, that a pandemic was inevitable," Rice continued. "President Obama gave a speech in 2014 as we were dealing with the Ebola epidemic warning of precisely this. I established an office at the national security council in the White House for precisely this sort of thing called the Office of Global Health Security and Biodefense. Its sole purpose was to prepare for this kind of event."
She said that the administration also left a kind of "Pandemic for Dummies," after the administration conducted a simulation of a pandemic hitting the United States. Rice explained that the simulation asked the questions, "Do we have the supplies? Do we have the surge capacity? Do we have the testing? All of the things that are standard in this kind of scenario."
She went on to explain that they had CDC experts that were posted in China for the express purpose to be an early warning system of a virus, but the Trump administration removed those people and dismantled the office they established and threw the playbook out the window.
"They were not focused on the reality a pandemic was going to happen sometime, but could happen any time," Rice continued. "That's why they were so flatfooted. It didn't accord with the president's new trade deal with China, everything being hunky dory, the stock market being high, et cetera. So they deflected and delays and didn't take the months of January and February to prepare as they must. We have lost thousands of lives, and our economy is far worse off than it had otherwise been -- had they been on this from day one."
Lemon asked Rice why she thinks Trump uses Obama so frequently as a scapegoat.
"I can only assume and infer that President Trump has some extraordinary insecurity in relation to Barack Obama," she replied. "Everything that Obama stood for, decency, family values, unity, a country that stood tall and proud, not by dividing but by uniting, is the antithesis of who Donald Trump is. And he's clearly threatened by it. And he clearly likes to use Obama as a foil for all of these failures."
Watch the interview below: