Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow the Democratic Party's campaign strategy is failing America GOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation We don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday walked back comments made earlier this week that the Obama administration didn't leave behind a "game plan" for a pandemic.
"I was wrong," McConnell said when asked about his comments during a Fox News interview.
"They did leave behind a plan. I clearly made a mistake in that regard,” he said.
“As to whether or not the plan was followed and who is the critic and all the rest, I don’t have any observation about that because I don’t know enough about the details of that ... to comment on it in any detail,” he added.
McConnell's comments come after he appeared to blame the Obama administration for not leaving guidelines behind for the Trump White House during the transition in 2017. President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE and his allies have made similar remarks.
"They claim pandemics only happen once every hundred years but what if that's no longer true? We want to be early, ready for the next one, because clearly the Obama administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this," McConnell said during a Trump campaign event with Lara TrumpLara TrumpPast criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries Trump endorsement shakes up GOP Senate primary in NC Lara Trump calls on Americans at border to 'arm up and get guns and be ready' MORE.
His comments sparked backlash from former Obama administration officials.
Ronald Klain, who was the Ebola coordinator for the Obama administration, tweeted that "we literally left them a 69-page Pandemic Playbook.... that they ignored."
"And an office called the Pandemic Preparedness Office... that they abolished. And a global monitoring system called PREDICT .. that they cut by 75%" he added.
Jeremy Konyndyk, who previously served as the director of USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, told CNN that the Trump administration was "extensively briefed" on the plan during the transition.
The White House has garnered criticism in the midst of the coronavirus for a 2018 decision to disband the National Security Council's global health unit, a decision former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Ex-Trump adviser Bolton defends Milley: 'His patriotism is unquestioned' MORE characterized as a "streamlining."