President Donald Trump should be commended for his emergency request for $2.5 billion for fighting coronavirus, but other decisions by the administration to close offices concerning world health over the years are troublesome, Sen. Angus King said Tuesday.
"A little less than two years ago (then-National Security Adviser) John Bolton abolished the position of Global Health Coordinator in the National Security Council and disbanded the office and that office has been empty until today," the Maine independent told CNN's "New Day." "We've already seen conflict between the CDC, the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security and there really is a necessity for someone at the top, for someone in the White House that can knock heads in the bureaucracy and make decisions and have them stick throughout the federal government."
He added that he finds it "astounding" that last fall, the State Department abolished the pandemic preparedness program Predict and it has not yet been replaced, even though that is under discussion.
The closings are symptomatic of the turnover and number of vacancies and acting officials in the government, said King.
King also commented on Trump's declining during a press conference in India Tuesday to comment on whether he believes intelligence assessments pointing to Russia's attempts to meddle in the 2020 election, and his denials that Russia interfered in his 2016 campaign.
"There is no doubt about what happened historically," said King. "I think what's missing is a full-throated rejection of any interference in this coming election and that's where I'm concerned."
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