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Bolton defends decision to shutter NSC pandemic office

  

Former White House National Security Adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE’s 2018 decision to shutter the National Security Council’s (NSC) office overseeing responses to pandemics, saying the move did not hinder the government’s response to the coronavirus. 

“Claims that streamlining NSC structures impaired our nation's bio defense are false. Global health remained a top NSC priority, and its expert team was critical to effectively handling the 2018-19 Africa Ebola crisis. The angry Left just can't stop attacking, even in a crisis,” Bolton tweeted Saturday morning.

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The remark from Bolton comes a day after Trump was pressed on his decision to disband the pandemic response team on the NSC in 2018. While responsibility for monitoring threats from infectious diseases was shifted to another group within the NSC, the move was reportedly interpreted as a downgrading of the administration’s priority for global health security.

“Well, I just think it’s a nasty question,” Trump fired back when asked about the closure. “I don’t know anything about it. I mean, you say we did that. I don’t know anything about it. Disbanding, no, I don’t know anything about it.”

The Trump administration has faced a wave of criticism over its handling of the coronavirus, with Democrats saying the White House’s halting rollout of testing kits exacerbated the spread of the virus.

More than 2,000 confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S., and at least 49 patients have died, according to The New York Times’s tally.