Trump adviser Peter Navarro falsely claimed that “60 Minutes” was picking on the president and never reported about lack of pandemic preparation under President Obama before the network played a clip of it reporting just that.
CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker noted that the Trump administration ignored numerous early warnings before the coronavirus outbreak hit the United States.
"You say this could not have been anticipated," he said. "Intelligence agencies anticipated it, other foreign countries.”
"Well, let me push back a little bit,” Navarro interrupted. "If an intelligence agency said 'a global pandemic could happen,' I'm sure they've been saying that for decades. And nobody took them seriously. Why? Well, black swans are hard to sell. And this was the 500-year flood."
"You can line up every president since then and say, 'Why didn't you think this can happen again?' But that's not productive right now," he continued. "Have that episode and I challenge you — show me the '60 Minutes' episode a year ago, two years ago, or during the Obama administration, during the Bush administration that said 'Hey a global pandemic is coming. You gotta do X, Y, and Z. And by the way, we would shut down the entire global economy to fight it.'"
CBS brings the receipts:
"Show me that episode, then you'll have some credence in terms of attacking the Trump administration for not being prepared," Navarro challenged.
"I guarantee you we did," Whittaker replied.
CBS then played numerous clips showing its coverage of deadly diseases over the past two decades, including an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
"Right now, if we had an explosion of an H5N1, we would not be prepared for that," Fauci warned in 2005.
Navarro claims “fake news”:
Navarro was challenged on two memos he wrote warning of calamity if the US did not act quickly to stem the virus as he insisted that the administration did everything right.
Any evidence to the contrary, he said, is “like, the fake news stuff.”
"No apologies here from this administration," Navarro said. "We are, we are doing better and more than any other president could've done."
"Sir, this is the best you can?" Whittaker pressed.
"You say, 'This is the best you can?' It's, like, oh, somebody coulda done better. Really? Who coulda done better on this? I mean, really, think about this," Navarro replied.