GOP Leader Embarrasses Trump Over Weak Coronavirus Plans


President Donald Trump can’t even be trusted to get his act together for long enough to competently respond to the threat of the Coronavirus, apparently. As he spends his own time trying to convince observers that the disease which has claimed the lives of thousands of people around the world isn’t actually a big deal, his administration has requested $2.5 billion in emergency funding to prepare for the potential further spread of the virus in the United States — which, when compared to the scope of the threat, even seems low to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who’s hardly a Trump critic by any stretch of the imagination.

He commented:

‘I think $2 billion is a little low, I think we’re probably looking at $4 billion in this process, having spoken to Democrat House members from Appropriations… This is not a time to play politics. We want to make sure we have all the funding needed.’

Only about half of the administration’s requested funds even consist of new money — they’re planning to take the rest from existing programs, including half a billion dollars that had been designated for the fight against the Ebola virus, which remains a threat in Africa although its profile has gradually diminished in the U.S. news spotlight. Other programs with budgeted funds getting taken for the Coronavirus fight include a federal assistance program for Americans struggling with energy costs.

McCarthy is hardly the first member of Congress on either side of the aisle to suggest that the administration’s initial funding request was too low. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-La.) commented during a hearing about the funding plans:

‘It seems to me at the outset that this request for the money, the supplemental, is lowballing it, possibly, and you can’t afford to do that.’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been even more direct, deriding the funding request as “anemic.”

She told reporters:

‘What he’s doing is late, too late, anemic. Hopefully we came make up for the loss of time but we have to have professionals in place, resources that are adequate and not use scare tactics about people coming back to our country.’


Trump seems to be completely ignorant of the actual nature of the situation — this Wednesday, he tweeted that duly proceeding news coverage of the virus was supposedly part of some kind of conspiracy to make him look bad. Spoiler: it’s not, but he insisted:

‘Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape!’

So far, the number of reported cases of the disease in the U.S. has been very low, especially compared to outbreak centers like China, South Korea, and even Italy. Trump scheduled a press conference for Wednesday evening covering the virus and response efforts, although it remains unclear what basis of credibility that Trump actually has to speak about the issue.