Democratic South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn claimed Friday that President Donald Trump had scrapped a national plan for coronavirus because the spread was largely impacting blue states.
Clyburn opened Friday’s hearing — calling for a national plan to combat the continued spread of coronavirus —by attacking the Trump administration, accusing the president’s team of ignoring warnings and suggesting that Trump had chosen not to implement a national plan for political reasons. (RELATED: ‘I Cringed, No Question About That’: James Clyburn Wasn’t Impressed With Biden’s ‘You Ain’t Black’ Fiasco)
Clyburn began the hearing by running through some of the numbers, noting that the United States had already seen over 150,000 deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic and could potentially see thousands more.
He noted that new surges in states that had already begun to reopen were resulting in strain on hospitals, adding, “Hospitals in some states are at risk of running out of beds and some hospitals have reported that they may be forced to choose which patients to treat and which to send home to die.”
“To improve our response, we need to identify and correct past failures, especially those that are ongoing,” Clyburn continued, claiming that the continued problems were the result of the Trump administration’s failure to implement a national strategy and heed warnings from experts.
“Yesterday, it was reported that back in April the administration considered implementing a national strategy to coordinate the distribution of test kits and contact tracing infrastructure, but they decided not to do so because at the time the virus was primarily spreading in blue states,” Clyburn continued. “Since the earliest days of this crisis, the Trump Administration has also refused to call on Americans to take simple steps to stay safe, like wearing a mask and social distancing.”
While Clyburn did not specify the report to which he is referring, Vanity Fair published a piece Thursday claiming that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner developed a national coronavirus testing strategy that was later dismissed.
Kushner’s “handpicked group of young business associates, which included a former college roommate, teamed up with several top experts from the diagnostic-testing industry” to create the plan, Vanity Fair reported.
“Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically,” Vanity Fair reported, citing an anonymous health expert reportedly “in frequent contact” with the coronavirus task force.
Clyburn concluded by accusing the Trump administration of “sidelining government experts” and instead promoting “discredited remedies,” downplaying the extent of the crisis and pressuring the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to change recommendations in accordance with the narrative the White House wanted to present.
“The result of these decisions is that the virus has continued to rage out of control and our nation’s economic misery has continued,” Clyburn concluded.