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Mika Brzezinski Asks Obama/Biden Adviser Ron Klain if Trump’s Coronavirus Response is ‘Criminal’

MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski asked former Obama administration ebola czar Ron Klain if President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been “criminal.”

Klain, who is currently a senior adviser to former Vice President and current presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, joined a Joe-less Morning Joe Friday morning to discuss the ongoing crisis, and Brzezinski teed him up for a hard slam on the administration’s response.

Mika set the table by noting Klain was “involved and knew well of an office that was set up, a team that was in place, a playbook that went in depth about emerging respiratory viruses including the coronavirus, and we have up to 90,000 dead to this day and a president who seems to be focused on rage-tweeting and on conspiracy theories about Joe that are cruel to the people that he talks about, now he appears to be going after President Obama during this difficult time for the country, difficult to say the least.”

She then asked “in terms of helping people understand how safe they are, to understand the reality of the leadership they have, how would you characterize our response so far? Negligence, avoidance, criminal? Just a severe lack of ability to process, how would you characterize the way this White House and this president is responding to this pandemic?”

Klain wouldn’t go so far as to call the response criminal, telling Brzezinski :I think it’s been focused on all the wrong things. I think that there’s been this obsession with trying to protect the level of the stock market, and that’s really what’s driven the president’s reaction to this, it’s why he spent all of January and February denying the existence of the virus or denying it was going to be serious, or say he was going to be under control, that’s why he sent Larry Kudlow on TV to talk about in late February as opposed to Tony Fauci.”

He also talked about government experts like Dr. Nancy Messonnier who have been sidelined, and warned that “we’re still on that plan, to some extent. The president still kind of refuses to fully embrace masks, indeed even as scientists race to get a vaccine, the president said the other day I’m not sure I’ll take it when it’s available, which also inflames the anti-vaccine sentiment in this country that we’re going to have to tame if, when we get a vaccine, we’re going to have people take that vaccine.”

“So I think we’ve seen just a failure of leadership from start to finish here, and that’s not just a backward looking statement, that plagues our response right now,” he concluded.

Brzezinski then addressed Trump directly, saying “Just a note to Donald Trump before you tweet and undermine what Ron was saying about your denial in January and February, just keep in mind, your quotes are there for everyone to see.”

She then ticked off a list of those quotes, noting the death toll is now approaching 90,000, and concluded by saying “Backing up Ron plains point that the president himself with his own words denied and rejected the reality of this virus which is ravaging this country.”

According to Johns Hopkins University data, almost 86,000 Americans are confirmed dead due to the pandemic, although experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci say the true death toll is likely much higher.

Watch the clip above via MSNBC.

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