One of the more remarkable untruths critics of President Trump persist in circulating is the claim that Trump dissolved the pandemic response team President Obama had set up in the White House, making our nation less safe. This untruth has been repeatedly debunked. Tim Morrison, former senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense on the National Security Council” wrote a new debunking, which the Washington Post published a couple of days ago. Here’s hoping Forum users will stop repeating the false claim.
A few of Morrison’s main points:
- “It has been alleged by multiple officials of the Obama administration, including in The Post, that the president and his then-national security adviser, John Bolton, ‘dissolved the office’ at the White House in charge of pandemic preparedness. Because I led the very directorate assigned that mission, the counterproliferation and biodefense office, for a year and then handed it off to another official who still holds the post, I know the charge is specious.”
- “It is true that the Trump administration has seen fit to shrink the NSC staff. But the bloat that occurred under the previous administration clearly needed a correction…from the Clinton administration to the Obama administration’s second term, the NSC’s staff ‘had quadrupled in size, to nearly 400 people.’ That is why Trump began streamlining the NSC staff in 2017.”
- “One such move at the NSC was to create the counterproliferation and biodefense directorate, which was the result of consolidating three directorates into one, given the obvious overlap between arms control and nonproliferation, weapons of mass destruction terrorism, and global health and biodefense. It is this reorganization that critics have misconstrued or intentionally misrepresented. If anything, the combined directorate was stronger because related expertise could be commingled.”
- “The reduction of force in the NSC has continued since I departed the White House. But it has left the biodefense staff unaffected — perhaps a recognition of the importance of that mission to the president, who, after all, in 2018 issued a presidential memorandum to finally create real accountability in the federal government’s expansive biodefense system.”