Miss. lawmaker Bennie Thompson says President downplaying potential impact of coronavirus

Miss. lawmaker Bennie Thompson says President downplaying potential impact of coronavirus
Bennie Thompson

WASHINGTON (WLBT) - Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on President Trump’s coronavirus press conference:

“Instead of using this press conference as an opportunity to lead and inform the American people at a critical time, the President attacked his political opponents and sounded ignorant and even incoherent about the nature of the threat we face. To be clear, the President’s management of the Federal government’s response to the coronavirus is not only inadequate, it is downright dangerous.

“Instead of listening to public health and medical experts, the President has been downplaying the potential impact of the virus for over a month. The Trump Administration has simply not been proactive enough given the severity of this crisis and Administration officials continue to give contradictory messages to Congress and the public. Putting Vice President Pence, someone with no public health expertise, in charge of the response will not instill confidence with the American people and raises questions about the Administration’s ability to coordinate an effective response to a complex public health threat.

“The President appears more concerned with his reelection and the stock market than the outbreak. This should be concerning to all. We cannot allow his incompetence to undermine the health and well-being of the American people.”

In the press conference Wednesday evening President Donald Trump urged calm and said the U.S. is “very, very ready” for whatever the new coronavirus threat brings, even as health authorities warn Americans that more infections are coming.

Trump has been pushing back against criticism that his administration isn’t doing enough to meet the coronavirus threat.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are calling for much more money than the $2.5 billion the White House has requested, and Trump indicated at a news conference that he’d be open to more spending.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has asked for $8.5 billion.

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