WASHINGTON– Former President Barack Obama’s Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday attacked President Donald Trump over his administration’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a major crisis,” Panetta told Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, noting infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci’s recent warning that America may soon hit 100,000 new cases a day.
“But the president, rather than bringing together some kind of national strategy to confront this crisis, simply resorts to tweeting about vandalism and other things to kind of divert attention from the crisis that’s there.”
“We have a president that is not willing to stand up and do what is necessary in order to lead this country during time of major crisis,” said Panetta. “I have never experienced a president who has avoided that responsibility.”
Panetta then went on to echo presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s slam at Trump’s handling of the pandemic, saying “It seems like our wartime president has surrendered and waved the white flag, and left the battlefield.”
According to a report published by Johns Hopkins University, the Coronavirus has infected more than 2.6m Americans and killed 128,000.
When questioned Wednesday about the president’s recent efforts to combat the virus, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, said: “The president is not focused on talking; he’s focused on action. And this administration has taken historic action with regard to the coronavirus.
“We have an excess amount of PPE, surge – a huge amount of ventilators in the stockpile. Things that could never be done, we were told, have been done under this administration. Testing more than 600,000 a day. This president has done a historic job with regard to coronavirus.”