CNN anchor Brianna Keilar got into a heated back-and-forth with Peter Navarro on Thursday after the White House trade adviser blamed the previous administration for problems with the current response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Keilar confronted Navarro over the Trump administration’s lack of preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic and its seeming inability to provide ventilators and masks to localities and states in dire need as the number of confirmed cases and deaths continued to surge on Thursday.
“The Chinese Communist Party cost this country and the rest of the world six-weeks of preparation because they did not tell us early to mid-December that there was a crisis of human to human transmission with a new novel coronavirus,” Navarro pushed back when asked why the federal government was caught flat-footed in their response to the coronavirus outbreak. “That has set the world back six weeks so we are dealing with this issue every day. We have a full force of the federal government.”
“In fairness, the government was clearly ill-prepared for this,” Keilar shot back. “This is not something that, you know, these viruses happen and how awful they are. But they are things that happen. Your government knew in the summer when they did a drill if this happens, this would be a problem and there was a lack of preparation which was why we have you on to talk about the sly supply chain. The US, it looks like, is going to be about 200,000 ventilators and what experts are saying there could be a million needed. Are you going to be able to meet that demand?”
“Let me bring you up on the history here of what we inherited. In ‘09 when the … Obama administration had the H1N1 flu crisis,” Navarro said before Keilar interjected to ask: “Peter, why are you wasting your time on this and not solving the problem that you have? Peter, why are you even talking about this?”
“You made the claim that this administration was ill-prepared,” Navarro answered.
“Don’t tell me that we were ill-prepared for this because we inherited a system of testing, and we inherited a system of stockpiles that was woefully inadequate for this and there was plenty of people — two of the last two administrations who had wake up calls, and they went back to sleep. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re going to fight this virus,” Navarro said.
“You’re wasting everyone’s time with this. It’s 2020,” Keilar said. “The president was elected in 2016. Can you get to a million ventilators?”
President Trump has also blamed the Obama administration for the shortcomings in his administration’s handling the pandemic.