Donald Trump should have known about the Ebola outbreak that was threatening his presidency when he became president in January, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Attorney Jeffrey Snider, representing Trump in a lawsuit filed against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other officials over the outbreak, said the Republican’s statements about his handling of the virus in January were “an obvious misinterpretation” of what he knew when he was president.
“Mr. Trump’s statements on Ebola were clearly an obvious misinterpretated interpretation of his knowledge,” Snider told the Orlando Sentinel in a statement.
“As president, Mr. Trump was not required to know the details of the outbreak before assuming the office of president.”
Trump’s comments about Ebola were clear in the early days of his presidency, according to Snider.
“During the period in which he was the chief executive, the CDC was reporting that the virus was spreading to the United States, but no one had been able to establish whether it was being transmitted from the U.S. to other countries or even from infected people in the United Kingdom,” Sniders attorney, Michael Cohen, wrote in the filing.
“There was no way to know that until the virus began to spread to more than one country.”
In late January, a report by the CDC showed that the number of Americans infected with the Ebola virus was nearly 9,000 higher than previously thought.
Trump has not commented on the lawsuit, but his team has repeatedly insisted that he had “complete and total” knowledge of the epidemic and was not in any danger of being infected.
The suit claims that in February, Trump was informed of the deadly outbreak by the U-2 spy plane he was flying on.
The lawsuit also alleges that after being briefed on the outbreak by a senior official at the CDC, Trump failed to contact the National Security Council to request additional resources for the response.