Biden campaign hits Trump for saying he would close pandemic preparedness office


President Biden’s reelection campaign criticized former President Trump on Tuesday after Trump said he would get rid of the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy (OPPR).

The OPPR was founded in 2022 over failures in government response to the COVID pandemic. Trump said in a TIME interview on Monday that office isn’t necessary.

The office is “a way of giving out pork,” Trump said. “I think it sounds good politically, but I think it’s a very expensive solution to something that won’t work. You have to move quickly when you see it happening.”

Biden’s campaign blasted Trump for the idea, pointing to the former president’s response to the COVID pandemic outbreak in early 2020 as lackluster and without a clear plan.

“Pandemic preparedness isn’t abstract to the millions of Americans that lost a loved one because of Donald Trump’s failed response to COVID-19,” campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz said in a statement to The Hill. 

“We know the impact of Trump’s inability to lead all too well: an economy in shambles, schools closed down, and far too many American lives needlessly lost,” he continued. “We cannot afford to go back.”

Munoz also worked as a White House spokesman on COVID during the early months of the president’s term.

Trump’s commitment to disband the OPPR comes after his administration eliminated a similar pandemic preparedness task force in 2018. The National Security Council’s Global Health Security and Biodefense unit was disbanded during an NSC reorganization, with much of its staff leaving their posts or being absorbed into other NSC units.

Founded in 2015 after the Ebola outbreak, the unit was intended to create reaction plans and logistics preparation for any domestic health outbreak. Biden’s successor office, OPPR, has already worked in response to a bird flu outbreak among American livestock this year.

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