Statement from Vice President Joe Biden on FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor’s Comments on CNN State of the Union
The coronavirus pandemic is the most severe threat to public health that the United States has confronted in decades. It’s also causing unimaginable damage to our economy, putting working families and middle class Americans under agonizing financial strain.
It was obvious to the entire world for months that coronavirus was a grave threat to people everywhere, and many countries mobilized to protect their citizens and ensure they were prepared for the unprecedented challenges and dangers of this outbreak — especially by rapidly manufacturing tests and accumulating the specific medical equipment that professionals need right now to save lives.
The United States didn’t do that.
And now a tragic and inescapable truth is clear: even though the senior-most medical and intelligence experts in the United States government were sounding the alarm about coronavirus for months, President Trump neglected, minimized, and lied about this virus. He failed to expeditiously get us enough tests, respirators, ventilators and other vital equipment when his peers in other countries did their duty and stood up for their people. He ignored my warning not to take China’s word about their containment of the virus, too.
He is still failing, even this morning: despite telling the American people that he was using the Defense Production Act to bring the full force of our government to protect our doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals and get them the devices that they need to save Americans in hospitals who are literally struggling to breathe, his lead emergency management official says it is not true. Hospitals, mayors, and governors are forced to fend for themselves to secure the gear and equipment they need. As one governor put it, “it’s a wild west” out there.
Mr. President, stop lying and start acting. Use the full extent of your authorities, now, to ensure that we are producing all essential goods and delivering them where they need to go.
President Trump’s dithering on preparing us for this global pandemic and his lies about his response to this dangerous crisis is one of the most unjustifiable failures of presidential leadership in American history.
Our people are strong, resilient, and unmatched in their innovative genius. When we come together as a people, there is no limit to what we can do. But there has to be competent, empathetic, and qualified leadership in the Oval Office. Now we’re worse off than we needed to be as we’re struck with an unprecedented health and economic crisis, all because of another kind of crisis: one of presidential leadership.