Former CIA director Leon Panetta has become the latest high-profile political figure to criticize President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Panetta made his remarks during an interview with CNN.
“This is a major crisis,” Panetta said. He noted that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has warned that the United States could soon top more than 100,000 new cases a day, adding: “But the president, rather than bringing together some kind of national strategy to confront this crisis, simply resorts to tweeting about vandalism and other things to kind of divert attention from the crisis that’s there.”
“We have a president that is not willing to stand up and do what is necessary in order to lead this country during time of major crisis. I have never experienced a president who has avoided that responsibility,” he continued.
You can watch footage of Panetta’s remarks below.
President Trump has "essentially gone AWOL from the job of leadership that he should be providing a country in trouble," says former CIA director Leon Panetta of Pres. Trump's coronavirus response. "This is a major crisis." https://t.co/WmaPW03RIY pic.twitter.com/u7Nta1Qubs
— CNN (@CNN) July 2, 2020
Earlier this week, Panetta admonished the president for saying he wasn’t briefed on intelligence reports that a Russian agency had placed a bounty on American troops.
“No matter what excuses the president puts forward, there is nothing that can justify the failure to act. The president’s duty as commander in chief is not just to defend the nation but also to defend the men and women in uniform who are willing to put their lives on the line for our country,” he wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.