Appearing on MSNBC, former Obama CIA Director John Brennan compared Trump’s response to the coronavirus to Obama’s response to H1N1 and speculated if President Trump is capable of putting the country’s well being first.
You’ve dealt with post-9/11. You’ve dealt with crises throughout your career in intelligence, real homeland security issues, inside the White House, and in the agency. This feels so very different.
It is very different. And when I was the Homeland Security adviser for President Obama, three months into the administration, we had to deal with the H1N1 crisis. And this was a crisis that was obviously identified first inside the United States, not abroad, so we didn’t have time to try to figure out how it should.
How bad? Refresh our viewers’ memory about H1NI.
It was identified first in April of ’09 and then through the next year, too, because once it subsided over the summer, it came back in the fall and the winter. There were about 60 million Americans that were affected by H1N1 virus, with about 12,000 deaths. It was different than the coronavirus right now in terms of its transmissibility as well as which demographics were affected by the virus. H1N1 infected younger adults much more seriously than the older population. So one of the things President Obama told us, he wanted to have the science, facts, and data drive administration policies and actions.
And later on, President Obama had to deal with Ebola. So he really had two on his watch
Right, and he had created then a pandemic office in the White House that has been taken down by the Trump administration. So, one of the things I think we see the difference here is that Donald Trump, who throughout his entire life, he’s looked through the world through a prism of how things affect his financial and political fortunes. I wonder if he’s psychologically capable to put the country’s well-being first and to subordinate his own interests in trying to spin things in a manner that won’t reflect badly on him.
Politics need to be damned at this point. The health and safety of the American public is most important. Now, obviously, we want to make sure that our economy is going to be able to width stand the traumatic hit it seems to be taking right now, but we want to make sure there is truth and honesty coming out from our public officials. Certainly from the White House and from someone who purports to be president of the United States.