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McConnell admits he was wrong to say Obama didn't leave Trump a pandemic 'game plan'

The Senate majority leader's about-face came in an interview with Fox News.
Image: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) attends a luncheon on Capitol Hill,
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a luncheon on Capitol Hill on Thursday, May 14, 2020.Erin Scott / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., admitted he was wrong when he said that the Obama administration did not leave a plan for President Donald Trump on how to handle a pandemic.

"I was wrong — they did leave behind a plan. So I clearly made a mistake in that regard," McConnell said Thursday evening in an interview with Fox News' Brett Baier when asked about his initial comments.

McConnell added, "As to whether or not the plan was followed and who's the critic and all the rest, I don't have any observation about that because I don't know enough about the details of that, Brett, to comment on it in any detail."

In an interview on Monday with Trump 2020 senior adviser Lara Trump on a YouTube episode of "Team Trump Online!” McConnell said the Obama administration "did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this," referring to the coronavirus crisis.

Former Obama administration officials, however, said that they did share with the incoming Trump administration plans for handling a pandemic.

"The maddening thing is Obama left them a WH office for pandemics, a literal playbook, a cabinet-level exercise, and a global infrastructure to deal with 'something like this,'" tweeted former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes in response to McConnell's comments.

McConnell's walk back on Thursday came after Trump told reporters on his way to Pennsylvania earlier in the day that he had been given very little on pandemic preparation when he came into office.

"The Obama-Biden plan that has been referenced was insufficient, wasn't going to work," said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

"Beyond that, we did a whole exercise on pandemic preparedness," she added. "In August of last year, we had an entire after-action report put together. In other words, the Obama-Biden paper pocket was superseded by President Trump-style pandemic preparedness."