Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) said this week that President Donald Trump is “willfully ignorant” regarding the threat of a coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
“Our country faces serious national security threats that require American leadership and constructive engagement – not floundering alone in isolation, but rather working together with our global partners. The coronavirus is a such a threat, and lives are at risk. President Trump is willfully ignorant as to what America’s public health experts are telling him, and is incapable of taking the steps necessary to address a potential crisis,” McCollum said in a statement released Wednesday.
President Trump announced during a Wednesday night news conference that he has appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead the administration’s response to the coronavirus.
“We’re very, very ready for this,” Trump said during the press conference, but disagreed with the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) assessment that the spread of the virus in America is “inevitable.”
The president has also requested $2.5 billion in emergency funding from Congress for responding to the coronavirus, but Democrats are pushing for an $8.5 billion figure.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the U.S. has 60 confirmed coronavirus cases.
McCollum said the president’s funding request is “long past due and woefully insufficient to protect American lives.”
“In the midst of this global health emergency, President Trump is so out of touch with the need for a strong Emergency Preparedness program within the CDC that his budget proposal significantly cuts the program’s funding,” she continued. “Not listening to the scientists and doctors who keep us safe and proposing steep budget cuts clearly shows his egregious lack of leadership.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) criticized Trump for appointing Pence to lead the administration’s response, claiming the vice president “enabled the worst HIV outbreak in Indiana’s history” while serving as governor.
Let this sink in: Mike Pence, who enabled the worst HIV outbreak in Indiana’s history, is leading the coronavirus response.
A real public health professional must step up to handle this. This is not a drill — lives are at stake.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 27, 2020
“A real public health professional must step up to handle this,” she wrote on Twitter. “This is not a drill – lives are at stake.”
– – –