In May 2018, President Donald Trump’s biodefense preparedness adviser warned that a flu pandemic was the country’s No. 1 health security threat, and the U.S. was not prepared.
“We know that it cannot be stopped at the border,” Luciana Borio, director of medical and biodefense preparedness at the National Security Council, said at a symposium that day.
Borio left the Trump administration in 2019. Other high-level global health experts headed for the exits even earlier, after the White House dismantled the National Security Council’s global health security office.
The demise of that elite team is now under scrutiny as the Trump administration struggles to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump bristled when asked about his decision to disband the office at a news conference in the Rose Garden on Friday.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci facing death threats for telling truth about CoronaVirus…
Fauci’s response was quickly interrupted by Trump, who stepped up to the podium to say the nation’s most visible infectious disease expert doesn’t require protection.“(He) doesn’t need security, everybody loves them,” said Trump. “Besides that, they’d be in big trouble if they ever attacked.”
Read ➳ CNN
Roberts, who was setting up a question by mentioning criticisms of Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, noted that former Obama administration officials had pointed out that the Trump administration dissolved the pandemic office of the National Security Council.
“We didn’t do that. That turned out to be a false story…. What are you, working for CNN?” Trump said, interrupting the reporter’s question.
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Trump Officials Defend Disbanding Pandemic Team
- “Fired” may be a little strong, but in 2018, top national security officials handling pandemics left abruptly and were not replaced by the Trump administration.
- As for funding, there’s no question that the Trump administration sought to cut key CDC budget categories. But thanks to Congress, that funding was restored and even increased in bills that Trump ultimately signed.
Much of that attention has focused on the 2018 disbanding of a National Security Council unit focused on pandemic preparedness, which critics say left a leadership vacuum in global health security at the White House.
President Donald Trump dismissed criticism that disbanding the team had slowed things down, calling it a “nasty question” at a White House briefing. “I don’t know anything about it,” Trump said at the March 13 press conference. But a long list of experts, lawmakers and former officials spent the last 18 months warning that the Trump administration needed to reinstate it before it was too late.
“We worked very well with that office,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress on March 11.
“It would be nice if the office was still there.”
Read ➳ Time