KEY POINTS

  • "I’d rate it a 10," replied Trump to media asking him to rate his administration's COVID-19 response
  • He said he attained this perfection despite inheriting "an obsolete system" from Barack Obama
  • Trump praised public health officials spearheading the administration’s response to COVID-19 

President Donald Trump engaged in a bout of self-congratulation Monday, rating his administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as absolutely perfect despite widespread criticism his actions led to the outbreak worsening more than it should have. He again took to throwing shade at his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Asked by a reporter during the White House press briefing about COVID-19 how he would rate his administration’s response to the crisis on a scale of 1 to 10, Trump unabashedly replied: "I’d rate it a 10."

Trump again shone the spotlight on one of the only few correct decisions he's made during his crisis: banning flights from China from entering the United States on January 30. He again boasted his decision to restrict travel from China to the U.S. made the latter a safer place.

“I think we’ve done a great job, and it started with the fact that we kept a very highly infected country, despite all of the, even the professionals saying it’s too early to do that,” according to Trump. “We were very, very early with respect to China, and we would have a whole different situation in this country if we didn’t do that. I would rate ourselves and the professionals, I think the professionals have done a fantastic job."

Of course, Trump didn't pass up a chance to hit Obama. Trump defended his administration’s checkered record against the coronavirus during the briefing, saying he took over an “obsolete system” from Obama. He also said the U.S. is now testing “tremendous amounts of people.”

“We really took over an obsolete system, or put it maybe in a different way, a system that wasn’t prepared to do anything like this,” according to Trump. “We took the system, we worked with the system we had, and we broke down the system purposefully.”

Trump also praised the public health officials spearheading the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health professionals have told media the lack of testing kits and the dearth of testing in January and February were lost opportunities that might have mitigated the coronavirus' spread. The issuance by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of faulty test kits and its decision to solely conduct testing were also faulted. There are still not enough test kits in the U.S. and not everyone that wants to be tested will be tested because of this.

Trump's decision to declare a national emergency, a move that makes available more than $50 billion in funding to states, is rightly praised. On March 13, Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, and announced measures to limit the heathcare and economic effects of the outbreak. He said the declaration will "unleash the full power of the federal government."

“I am officially declaring a national emergency, two very big words,” said Trump.

Trump declared both a national emergency and invoked the Stafford Act, or the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1998. This amendment triggers financial and physical assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

It frees-up extra federal funding and allows access to the funds. The declaration of a national emergency also gives access to expanded authorities for the executive branch. Trump's declaration puts FEMA in a position to be the coordinator of the federal government's coronavirus response.

Also on March 13, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, said the House passed an economic stimulus bill aimed at boosting coronavirus testing, which is scandalously deficient, and protecting Americans from the economic impact of the pandemic.

"The three most important parts of this bill are testing, testing, testing," she said.

Pelosi said the bipartisan package will provide for coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test -- including the uninsured -- for free. The package will also secure paid leave and allow two weeks of paid sick leave, and family and medical leave for those affected by the virus.

President Donald Trump urged state governors to buy their own medical equipment to fight the coronavirus, instead of counting on the federal government, according to media reports President Donald Trump urged state governors to buy their own medical equipment to fight the coronavirus, instead of counting on the federal government, according to media reports Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski