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Donald Trump suggested that global supply chain issues hadn't existed under his administration.
"Nobody ever even heard the term supply chain," he told conservative commentator Lou Dobbs.
Global supply chains have been disrupted since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday in a podcast interview with conservative commentator Lou Dobbs claimed that global supply chain problems didn't exist while he was in office.
Dobbs disputed the characterization that the coronavirus pandemic has triggered supply chain bottlenecks, telling Trump that "if corporate America had listened to you, and put America first, hired American, bought American, brought their plants back to the United States, there would be no so-called supply chain disruption. There would be no shortages and no bare shelves."
Trump replied that "nobody ever even heard the term supply chain."
"This was the thing, let's talk about the supply chain. It was automatic. It just was embedded. It was embedded in a free country, in a democracy. It was embedded in our country. We didn't sit around talk about supply chain. Now all of a sudden that's all the two words that people are using most because you can't get anything," Trump said.
"Nobody talked about supply chain and now we have even that messed up. Our country is a mess. Our country is an absolute disaster," he added.
Supply chain issues have stressed US industries and contributed to widespread goods shortages in recent months. Two of the largest ports in the country — the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — experienced major cargo backlogs ahead of last year's holiday season. In response, President Joe Biden ordered the ports to operate 24/7 and called on large businesses and shipping companies, including Walmart and FedEx, to increase their operations.
Economists at Wall Street banks including JPMorgan and Jefferies have said the worst of the shipping crisis is behind the country, but the global supply chain is still far from fully healed.
The rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and winter weather have also given rise to empty store shelves. An early January survey conducted by the Census Bureau found roughly 8.8 million people were out of work because they were sick or caring for people sick with symptoms of COVID-19. That equates to roughly 6% of the country's entire workforce. With severe winter storms also keeping some shipments from reaching stores, retailers are stuck without the manpower or the goods to keep their shelves stocked.
There were also myriad supply chain issues tied to the COVID-19 pandemic when Trump was in the White House, and he frequently acknowledged this at the time. At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Trump urged Americans against hoarding as panic set in and it became clear that global supply chains would be impacted. Americans were struggling to find basic items, such as toilet paper, at grocery stores. "You don't have to buy so much," Trump said at the time. "Take it easy. Relax."
Trump sought to use pandemic supply chain issues to make the case for increasing domestic manufacturing. "This pandemic has reaffirmed the importance of keeping vital supply chains at home. We cannot outsource our independence," he said in April 2020. "We cannot be reliant on foreign nations."
"We've got to start bringing our supply chains back," Trump added.
Trump that same month signed an executive order that declared meat-processing plants "critical infrastructure." As Trump downplayed the threat of COVID-19 and scoffed at public health recommendations, meat-processing plants were becoming hotspots and workers were dying from the virus.
There were also major supply chain issues regarding medical supplies and equipment under Trump. In the face of rampant criticism, Trump punted the issue to states — contending it was their responsibility and not the federal government's to obtain what they needed to fight the pandemic. The executive order said that closures of plants threatened "the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency."
Trump resisted calls to invoke the Defense Product Act (DPA), a Korean War-era law that gives presidents broad authority to compel industries to produce supplies for the purpose of national defense, to help with the shortage of medical supplies. He eventually employed the law to address shortages, but critics say he didn't go far enough.
Read the original article on Business Insider