Fact check: Trump falsely claims US didn't have supply chain issues during his presidency

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Republicans themselves have cited supply chain problems under Trump as a contributing factor to U.S. COVID-19 deaths.

In an appearance Thursday on Fox News, former President Donald Trump claimed falsely that supply chain problems were not a concern during his time in office — despite the fact that his own party routinely cited such issues throughout the final months of his tenure.

"Nobody ever mentioned those words 'supply chain,' they were never brought up, we had perfect supply chains," Trump said, in a phone interview with "Fox & Friends."

 

Supply chain disruptions were a major problem during Trump's presidency, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe in 2020.

The pipeline for personal protective equipment (PPE) was hit particularly hard: hospitals and other medical responders reported a lack of masks and other supplies in their battle against the virus.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (AR) noted in a February report that actions undertaken by Chinese officials in response to the virus had disrupted the flow of supplies to the United States. "This move imperiled America's ability to procure personal protective equipment at the outset of the pandemic, likely costing American lives," the report stated.

Cotton has since attempted to blame supply chain problems on President Joe Biden's administration, echoing Fox News and Trump administration figures like Kellyanne Conway.

Trump also claimed Thursday that "one of the causes" of the supply chain problem was vaccine mandates, like the one implemented by Biden himself.

"A lot of people aren't working because of forced mandates," he said.

Biden did not announce mandates until September, while supply chain issues stretch back to the pre-Trump years.

Experts have established that there is no link between vaccine mandates and the supply chain.

"The available supply of both truck drivers and warehouse and dock workers was already considered 'short' long before COVID wreaked havoc on our supply chains," David Correll, co-director of MIT's FreightLab told USA Today.

"I have seen nothing to suggest that vaccine mandates are to blame for supply chain backups," he said.

Experts on public health have also noted the vaccine mandates have been working, with workers getting the shots to comply with company policies. Even Fox News itself has a mandate policy in place.

The Biden administration, meanwhile, has launched a supply chain task force in February and announced further steps to reduce the backlog of goods on Wednesday.

Target, Walmart, and Home Depot, as well as others, have all reported recently that they are fully stocked with inventory for the holiday shopping season. Major retailers also announced increased sales and foot traffic on Black Friday.

Trump coupled his false comments on Thursday with racist rhetoric regarding COVID-19. "We then had the China virus, we fixed it, we did a great job with it," he said.

The remarks were a repeat of Trump's inflammatory rhetoric throughout the pandemic, which have been cited in part for inspiring thousands of racist attacks on Asians and Asian Americans in the United States.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.