Obama Chides Trump For Mishandling Pandemic

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Former president Barack Obama said in a speech Wednesday that, “This idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is just not true.”

Obama Skewers Trump As Former President Hits Campaign Trail

Former President Barack Obama unloaded on his successor Wednesday in Philadelphia as Democrats’ biggest luminary hit the campaign trail in support of his onetime vice president. Obama lambasted President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 220,000 Americans and infected nearly 8.4 million — including the president, members of his family and many of his top aides. … Obama also sought to reclaim credit for the economy that, prior to the virus’ arrival, Trump and his allies frequently touted and used it as a cudgel against the current president. “Now, he did inherit the longest streak of job growth in American history,” Obama said. “But just like everything else he inherited, he messed it up.” (Niedzwiadek, 10/21)

USA Today:
Barack Obama Blasts Trump In Philly Speech Supporting Biden

Much of Obama’s speech was leavened with humor. Obama said his administration left a pandemic playbook for how to respond to the emergency, but with the number of cases rising again after eight months, Trump “probably used it to prop up a wobbly table somewhere.” “Donald Trump isn’t suddenly going to protect all of us,” Obama said of the president who became infected. “He can’t even take the basic steps to protect himself.”

Obama said the pandemic would have challenged any president. But he said other countries demonstrated how to deal with it better, including South Korea with 1.3% of the per capita U.S. death toll and Canada with 39%. “If he’d have been working the whole time, it never would have gotten this bad,” Obama said. “But this idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is just not true.” (Jansen, 10/21)

Entreating Pa. Residents To Vote, Obama Delivers Rebuke Of Trump 

He admonished the Trump administration for dismantling environmental protection programs and its efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He also reprimanded Trump for his rhetoric and spreading misinformation. “America is a good and decent place,” Obama said. “But we’ve just seen so much noise and nonsense that sometimes it’s hard for us to remember. Philadelphia, I’m asking you to remember what this country can be.” (Sprunt, 10/21)

In other news from the Biden campaign —

Biden’s Big Health Agenda Won’t Be Easy To Achieve 

If Joe Biden wins the presidency in November, health is likely to play a high-profile role in his agenda. Just probably not in the way he or anyone else might have predicted. Barring something truly unforeseen, it’s fairly certain that on Jan. 20 the U.S. will still be in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic — and the economic dislocation it has caused. Coincidentally, that would put a new President Biden in much the same place as President Barack Obama at his inauguration in 2009: a Democratic administration replacing a Republican one in the midst of a national crisis. (Rovner, 10/22)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Bay Area Health Experts Weigh In On Joe Biden’s Coronavirus Plan 

If he wins the election, Joe Biden’s pandemic plan calls for rejoining the World Health Organization and thrusting federal public health agencies that have been largely sidelined under the current administration back into the spotlight. That would be his first day in the White House, his campaign says. The next steps of his response, laid out in detail on his campaign website, include massively ramping up testing, increasing production of health care equipment like ventilators, and promoting widespread use of face coverings. (Allday, 10/21)

Democrats Want To Overhaul Warp Speed. But If Biden Wins, Should He?

For months, Democrats have called for the ouster of Moncef Slaoui, the former pharmaceutical executive who President Trump installed to run his multibillion-dollar vaccine development initiative, Operation Warp Speed. But if former Vice President Joe Biden wins the presidency, can he afford to fire him? (Florko, 10/22)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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