Amid criticism over the government's ability to test for cases of the new coronavirus, President Trump on Wednesday attempted to shift the blame to, who else, his predecessor former President Barack Obama.
Speaking to reporters alongside Vice President Mike Pence, who's in charge of handling the U.S. response to COVID-19, Trump said the Obama administration made a decision that wound up hindering the country's ability to tackle the spreading virus, but said he reversed that situation recently.
People were confused about what exactly the president was referring to, so Pence attempted to clarify, telling reporters the Obama administration had given the Food and Drug Administration jurisdiction over disease testing development. Trump, he said, is now allowing states to conduct their own tests and research, which expands testing capabilities.
REPORTER: What was this Obama-era rule that you are blaming for the coronavirus testing problems?
PENCE: "The last administration asserted FDA jurisdiction over testing, and the development of tests like this. The president changed that on Saturday." pic.twitter.com/S3EOycBS6B
- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 4, 2020
Trump critics were quick to jump on his attempt to blame Obama, pointing out that it was his administration that disbanded the team directly responsible for global health security and potential pandemics in 2018.
Obama, meanwhile, weighed in on COVID-19 on Wednesday, though there was no mention of how he feels about the Trump administration's response.
Protect yourself and your community from coronavirus with common sense precautions: wash your hands, stay home when sick and listen to the @CDCgov and local health authorities. Save the masks for health care workers. Let's stay calm, listen to the experts, and follow the science.
- Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 4, 2020
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