Trump to press: ‘No, I haven’t consulted past presidents … I don’t think I’m going to learn much’

(Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

President Donald Trump is not making plans to consult his predecessors about how to handle the current coronavirus emergency facing his administration.

Trump was asked during a press briefing at the White House on Sunday about the possibility he would reach out to former presidents for advice on how to navigate the nation through the health crisis which currently has over 41,000 confirmed cases in the U.S.

But the president did not seem to think it would prove beneficial to reach out to the former White House occupants, and noted that he did not want to “bother them.”

“In previous crises like the tsunami, [Hurricane] Katrina, past presidents, they’ve called a predecessor and said ‘hey, I need you to step in,” a reporter asked Trump on Sunday at the White House coronavirus task force briefing. “Do you have any interest in reaching out to Presidents Bush, Obama, Clinton, Carter?”

Trump noted how some past emergencies were “not handled very well,” specifically citing the 2009 influenza H1N1 virus and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“I respect everybody, but I feel I have an incredible team and I think we’re doing an incredible job,” he said. “All you have to do is look at the approval numbers on the job we’re doing.”

A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 55 percent of  those surveyed approved of Trump’s handling of the global pandemic on American soil.

“I think we’re doing an incredible job. So I don’t want to disturb them, bother them,” he said. “I don’t think I’m going to learn much and, you know, I guess you could say that there’s probably a natural inclination not to call.”

However, Trump added, “if I felt that if I’d called that I’d learn something, and that would save one life, it would save one life, I would make the call in two minutes.”

“But I don’t see that happening,” he concluded.

Fundraising efforts brought together Bush and Clinton along with President George H.W. Bush to raise contributions following Hurricane Katrina and to help victims of tsunami relief in 2004.

As the Senate continues to battle over a massive stimulus package, the president indicated that “social distancing” and other steps being recommended may need to be revisited soon as the nation can not endure a long-term shutdown.


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