President Donald Trump at a White House news conference on...

President Donald Trump at a White House news conference on Monday. Credit: AP / Evan Vucci

While running for president in 2015, Donald Trump said falsely that CIA Director George Tenet had told the Bush administration the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack "was coming, so they did have advanced notice."

Carelessly casting blame has been a Trump method of operation from the get-go.

Now he has good reason to fear that current and future presidential contenders may persuasively attack his own record on the current global crisis, and use facts to do it.

On Tuesday, the president showed a glimmer of an effort, if not to swear off finger-pointing entirely, then at least flatten the curve a little.

As with his administration's delayed drive to contain coronavirus, results in the form of an actual slowdown in the spread of blame remain to be seen.

Responding to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the morning, Trump tweeted: "Cuomo wants 'all states to be treated the same.' But all states aren’t the same.

"Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all. New York is a very big 'hot spot,' West Virginia has, thus far, zero cases. Andrew, keep politics out of it … ”

Setting aside the comparison, Trump later said after the two had spoken: "We're both doing a really good job."

While his use of the phrase "Chinese Virus" drew criticism, Trump at least had the alibi that Beijing propagandists in fact tried to blame the U.S. for the initial spread of COVID-19. Never mind that on Jan. 24, he hailed President Xi Jinping for his "transparency" on the virus issue.

Trump on Tuesday singled out Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — a Democrat — for some bile.

"Failing Michigan Governor must work harder and be more proactive," Trump tweeted. "We are pushing her to get the job done. I stand with Michigan."

Whitmer shot back: "Now that I’ve got your attention, Mr. President — attack tweets won’t solve this crisis. But swift and clear guidance, tests, personal protective equipment, and resources would."

Later, Trump did not pile on but used the "counterpunching" excuse usually employed by his White House surrogates. "I only do that when I have to respond," he told reporters of his attack on Whitmer.

Then he fell back on the news media as his default scapegoat.

During Sunday night's Democratic presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden hurled a false report at Trump — perhaps giving the president a taste of his own campaign snake oil.

“Look, the World Health Organization offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them. We did not want to get them from them. We wanted to make sure we had our own,” Biden said.

According to a Kaiser Health News fact-check, WHO offered the kits to nations with less developed medical systems, not the U.S.

Trump still will have many other coronavirus flubs and dodges to explain sooner or later.

In 2017, during the presidential transition, a tabletop exercise was held involving emergency experts to help prepare incoming White House officials.

The briefing dealt comprehensively with pandemics. According to Politico, Trump's team was told it could face shortages of ventilators, drugs and other essentials, and that having a coordinated, unified national response was “paramount."

Was anything gained or taken seriously?

Tough to say. Most of those who attended are no longer with the president's team.

Would federal action be different if Trump had not disbanded the National Security Council's pandemic unit?

Also tough to say.

Trump surely would be sharpening his blame curve if these legitimate stories were about any other administration.