Obama refused to shut down US-Mexico border after CDC and WHO issued H1N1 pandemic alert

Once again, Barack Obama has opened the door to reviewing his 2009 response to what the CDC then called the "first global flu pandemic in 40 years." 

In a tweet accusing President Trump of being in denial about the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, the former president cited an L.A. Times article on the administration's new policy to roll back Obama's 2012 environmentally friendly fuel efficiency standards.

We've seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can't afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.

This is rich coming from a president whose denial of the H1N1 pandemic early on may have led to tens of millions more infections and thousands more deaths than otherwise would have happened.

During his two terms as president, Obama left our borders wide open to all kinds of infectious diseases the United States had rid itself of almost a century ago.  So looking back to April 29, 2009, a day after the CDC issued Interim Guidance on Closing Schools and Childcare Facilities, recommending a seven-day dismissal in affected schools and childcare facilities with laboratory-confirmed cases of the swine flu, it's no surprise Obama told a White House reporter, on the advice of his hourly discussions with his public health officials, that closing our southern border would be "akin to closing the barn door after the horses were out."

From whitehousearchives.gov:

President Barack Obama speaks at a press conference in the White House on April 29, 2009. 

Q Thank you, Mr. President.  With the flu outbreak spreading and worsening, can you talk about whether you think it's time to close the border with Mexico, and whether -- under what conditions you might consider quarantining, when that might be appropriate?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, as I said, this is a cause for deep concern, but not panic...

I've consulted with our public health officials extensively on a day-to-day basis, in some cases, an hour-to-hour basis.  At this point they have not recommended a border closing.  From their perspective it would be akin to closing the barn door after the horses are out, because we already have cases here in the United States.  We have ramped up screening efforts, as well as made sure that additional supplies are there on the border so that we can prepare in the eventuality that we have to do more than we're doing currently.

But the most important thing right now that public health officials have indicated is that we treat this the same way that we would treat other flu outbreaks, just understanding that because this is a new strain we don't yet know how it will respond. 

By late June, nearly two months after Barack Obama refused to close the border with Mexico, more than 30 summer camps in the U.S. had reported outbreaks of 2009 H1N1 influenza illness.  The virus typically affected children and young people more than adults, and with children heading back to school in late August, the CDC activated its school dismissal monitoring system on August 3, 2009.  Still, President Obama, along with his public health advisers, which included Dr. Fauci, did not feel inclined to issue an order closing the U.S.- Mexico border.

President Obama callously allowed infected individuals to enter the country after the CDC reported cases in California and Texas in early April.  According to a September 2009 NPR article researchers concluded that the new flu strain had probably been circulating in Mexico for months before the rash of outbreaks occurred in the U.S. 

The same person accusing President Trump of being in denial regarding the coronavirus continued his open border policy with Mexico throughout the year-long swine flu pandemic.  The virus ended up claiming nearly 13,000 lives, including 317 children, and infecting over 60 million.

In contrast to President Trump's early travel bans to contain the virus, Barack Obama, by his own admission, refused to "close the barn door."

Chuck Todd and Nancy Pelosi have their presidents mixed up.  It is 44 who has "blood on his hands" and who "fiddled" as people died.

Caricature by Donkey Hotey.