President Donald Trump, in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, said he had “a lot of things going on” that prevented his administration from restocking the national stockpile of medical equipment safety supplies during his three years in the White House.
In the interview, ABC News anchor David Muir referred back to Trump’s comments in April, in which the president blamed President Barack Obama and his administration for giving “us empty cupboards” saying it prevented him from effectively combatting the coronavirus in the US.
“We started off with a broken system,” Trump previously alleged. “We inherited a broken, terrible system. And I always say it, our cupboards were bare. We had very little in our stockpile.”
The Strategic National Stockpile, which manages the US’ medical equipment in the event of a crisis, does not publicly disclose its exact inventory. However, both former Obama officials and Trump officials claimed they warned the current administration about the looming crisis in the event of a pandemic, according to CNN.
Trump’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, warned US officials in a memo in late January that the looming health crisis could pose an economic emergency, according to The New York Times. He also called for increased funding for personal protective equipment for health care workers.
Speaking to the president after his tour of a mask-making plant in Arizona on Tuesday afternoon, Muir referred to his re-election credentials and asked Trump what he did to address the alleged shortage.
“Well, I’ll be honest. I have [sic] a lot of things going on,” Trump said. “We have a lot of people that refused to allow the country to be successful.”
“They wasted a lot of time on Russia, Russia, Russia; that turned out to be a total hoax,” Trump added, referring to his characterization of the results of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
The special counsel’s office said in its findings that it did not find evidence members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign “conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.”
It did, however, find that Russia embarked on a campaign to interfere in the election. Special counsel Robert Mueller said in the report that the SCO was “unable” to charge Trump with a crime because of current federal regulations, but added it did not mean the president was exonerated.
“Then they did Ukraine, Ukraine; and that was a total hoax,” Trump added, referring to a whistleblower complaint that snowballed into his impeachment. “Then they impeached the president of the United States for absolutely no reason.”
Trump was impeached on two counts in the House of Representatives, related to a whistleblower complaint that alleged abuse of power in relation to asking a foreign power for investigations into a political rival.
He was acquitted of an obstruction-of-Congress charge and abuse of power charge during his February trial that resulted in a party-line vote. Only one Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, voted to convict Trump on the obstruction of Congress charge.
As of Tuesday, there were over 1,180,200 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and nearly 70,000 related deaths in the US.
Democratic Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey, a member of a recent bipartisan congressional committee overseeing the nation’s coronavirus efforts, told Insider that Trump “has a chance to get this right, right now.”
“That means massively scaling our testing capabilities, ensuring those who need PPE have access to it and supporting our state and local governments,” Kim said. “America needs a federal government dedicated to learning from the past, addressing the present, and preparing for the future.”
This content was originally published here.