Thursday, July 2, 2020

Trump has 'gone awol' as president amid coronavirus pandemic, says ex-CIA director

Leon Panetta becomes latest prominent public figure to accuse Trump of effectively surrendering to the virus and abandoning Americans to their fate.

Donald Trump at the White House in Washington DC on 17 June 2020. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

Donald Trump has “essentially gone awol from the job of leadership that he should be providing a country in trouble” during the coronavirus pandemic, a former defence secretary and CIA director said on Wednesday.

Leon Panetta, who served in various capacities under nine US presidents, became the latest prominent public figure to accuse Trump of effectively surrendering to the virus and abandoning Americans to their fate, using the military jargon awol, meaning absent without leave.

“This is a major crisis,” Panetta told Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, noting that top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci has warned that America may hit 100,000 new cases a day, twice the current rate.

“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.”

He added: “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.”  Read more >>