Governors around the United States are increasingly fed up with the Trump administration’s cowering inaction amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Recently, the president’s team has even been complaining about states seeking federal assistance at all — at a recent White House press conference, President Donald Trump whined that the feds aren’t an “ordering clerk.” Well what on earth else is the Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies there for? Trump’s personal use? This weekend on CNN, Illinois Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker gravely and grimly suggested that the White House’s bumbling inaction could lead to unnecessary deaths, hammering them for their brazen incompetence in the process.
Pritzker’s state has been among the hardest hit in the country — the Chicago metro area is one of the biggest in the nation, and the bigger the city, the further that the deadly virus can spread. His state has reported over 10,300 Coronavirus cases and counting. On Saturday alone, the number of confirmed cases in his state jumped by more than 1,400, suggesting an intensification of the process. He told host Jake Tapper:
‘The President does not understand the word federal, like the Federal Emergency Management Agency. We have a state emergency management agency, but if he were right, why would we ever need a federal emergency management agency? It’s because individual states can’t possibly do what the federal government can do… There’s no way we could stockpile in anticipation of a pandemic that no one anticipated, and yet the federal government is responsible for doing precisely that, and we now know that intelligence sources and all the best advice that was given was given in January and early February to the president and the White House, and they seem not to have acted at all upon it.’
"The President does not understand the word federal," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says. "If they had started in February building ventilators, getting ready for this pandemic, we would not have the problems we have today and frankly, very many fewer people would die" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/7SIPKZIdjw
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 5, 2020
Indeed — Trump has wound himself up to high heaven with complaints about how the lack of U.S. preparedness for the Coronavirus is just about everyone’s fault but his own, but the buck stops with him. Trump has even claimed that his administration struggled to enact an early large-scale testing scheme because they got handed down faulty tests from the Obama era — but Coronavirus tests didn’t even exist back then, because the virus hadn’t been discovered! Trump was lying.
Trump says tests passed on from the Obama administration were bad tests.
Well hell, I guess so since #coronavirus was not active in 2016.
I say again, this dude is certifiable. pic.twitter.com/yvvJS7NHph
— Southern Sister Resister (@ResisterSis20) April 4, 2020
‘If they had started in February building ventilators, getting ready for this pandemic, we would not have the problems we have today and frankly, very many fewer people would die.’
Instead, the president went golfing, told a late February rally crowd in South Carolina that Coronavirus concern was a hoax, and Republican Senators like Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler made huge stock trades after getting their own briefings about the incoming Coronavirus crisis, which they refused to take publicly seriously too.
Now, potential solutions to the president’s inaction include a broader national level coordination of medical supplies for stricken states, but with rhetoric like what Trump and his allies have been spouting, it’s unclear if that will happen at all, let alone any time soon.
Proposals have included a national supply czar and the broader invocation of the Defense Production Act in order to order the production of needed supplies and equipment.