One of the nightmare scenarios for Susan E. Rice when she was national security adviser to President Barack Obama was the possibility of a global pandemic. They planned for it. They did a tabletop exercise with the incoming Trump administration that included pandemic preparedness. They even left a road map behind for the incoming team.

“We left behind a 69-page playbook, which was sort of ‘Pandemic for Dummies.’ If you don’t know where to start, start here, and ask these questions and do these things,” Rice told me in the latest episode of “Cape Up.” “And, apparently, if they weren’t thrown into garbage bins, they sat on the shelves and collected dust.”

Today, Rice’s nightmare is our reality. And she believes President Trump, from his rhetoric to his actions, is not helping matters. “The president of the United States almost says boastfully that we will have done ‘a very good job’ if he can contain deaths to between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans,” Rice said with exasperation. “In what circle of hell, Jonathan, is that a good outcome?”

“Cape Up” is Jonathan’s weekly podcast talking to key figures behind the news and our culture. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.

Read more: