President Donald Trump did not take responsibility for shutting down a global health security team, in response to a PBS White House correspondent.
During his coronavirus press conference on Friday, Trump took questions from the press. PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked the POTUS whether he would “take responsibility” for his administration’s lagging response to the novel coronavirus pandemic:
You said that you “don’t take responsibility,” but you did disband the White House Pandemic Office, and the officials that were working in that office left this administration abruptly. So what responsibility do you take for that? The officials in that office said that the White House lost valuable time because that office was disbanded. What do you make of that?
Trump shook his head as the question was being asked. “Well, I just think it’s a nasty question,” he said once Alcindor had finished speaking, “because what we’ve done is — and Tony had said numerous times — that we’ve saved thousands of lives because of the quick closing.”
“And when you say “me,” I didn’t do it,” Trump continued. “We have a group of people, I could ask, perhaps, my administration. I could perhaps ask Tony about that because I don’t know anything about it,” he said, turning and gesturing toward Dr. Tony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “You said we did that, I don’t know anything about it.”
“You don’t know about the reorganization that happened at the National Security Council?” Alcindor pressed in a dubious tone. Trump spoke over much of the question, but the phrasing was disjointed. “It’s the administration, perhaps they do that, people — let people go. You used to be with a different newspaper than you are now. Things like that happen.”
“But this–” Alcindor started, but Trump ended their exchange by signaling to cut her microphone. “We’re doing a great job, let me tell you,” he said.