Susan Rice, a national security adviser during the Obama administration, claims President Donald Trump is responsible for American deaths during the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking with the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart on the "Cape Up" podcast, Rice said Trump's "incompetence" has cost "tens of thousands of American lives."
"He has demonstrated utter lack of leadership, utter incompetence. And he's been profoundly dishonest about the nature of the threat to the American people by downplaying it, by dismissing it, by comparing it to the flu," Rice said.
"He has misled the American people to such an extent that lives have been lost in the process," she continued. "Whether that's because he didn't care or he was trying to downplay the problem and buoy his electoral prospects mistakenly, or whether it was to buck up the markets, or because he doesn't care, I don't know what it was.
"I just know that he has cost tens of thousands of American lives," Rice declared.
Is Rice telling the truth?
Specifically, Rice alleged the Trump administration ignored pandemic preparedness, while, of course, claiming the Obama administration prioritized such readiness as "a top national security priority."
However, research indicates this is not completely accurate.
In fact, the Obama administration significantly depleted the national stockpile of medical equipment containing N95 respirator masks and other personal protection equipment that has now become vital in the face of COVID-19.
Fact-checking this claim about the Obama administration, USA Today reported:
We rate this claim TRUE because it is supported by our research. There is no indication that the Obama administration took significant steps to replenish the supply of N95 masks in the Strategic National Stockpile after it was depleted from repeated crises. Calls for action came from experts at the time concerned for the country's ability to respond to future serious pandemics. Such recommendations were, for whatever reason, not heeded.
Meanwhile, Rice also bashed Trump for not taking action soon enough.
She claimed that Trump should have began "moving immediately from very early January to do the things that we know we have to do."
But that was not possible considering the World Health Organization was disseminating Chinese propaganda that COVID-19 was not transmittable from human-to-human contact. In fact, the WHO did not declare coronavirus a pandemic until March — at least two months after the disease began spreading around the world.
And when Trump did act — placing travel restrictions on travel to China and mandating a 14-day quarantine for people returning from the Chinese providence from which COVID-19 originated — WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom bashed the moved as not "evidence-based."
The media also decried the move.
"The Trump administration's quarantine and travel ban in response to the Wuhan coronavirus could undercut international efforts to fight the outbreak by antagonizing Chinese leaders, as well as stigmatizing people of Asian descent, according to a growing chorus of public health experts and lawmakers," Politico declared on Feb. 4.