Trump Takes Flak After Requesting $2.5B to Deal With Coronavirus

By Susan Jones | February 25, 2020 | 8:58am EST
President Donald Trump holds a news conference in India on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (Photo: Screen capture)
President Donald Trump holds a news conference in India on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (Photo: Screen capture)

(CNSNews.com) - "Too little too late," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted on Monday night, after the Trump White House asked Congress for $2.5 billion to fight the coronavirus.

President Trump, responding to Schumer on Tuesday from India, told reporters, "I think we're doing a great job."

Trump said he and Indian Prime Minister Modi "actually discussed the coronavirus, and at this moment India doesn't have much of a problem, they feel...And I think that whole situation will start working out.

"A lot of talent, a lot of brain power is being put behind it. $2.5 billion we're putting in. I see that Chuck Schumer criticized it, he thought it should be more, and if I gave more, he'd say it should be less. Automatic, you know, with these characters. They are just not good for our country.

"If I gave more, he'd say, it should be less. But that's what they do. In the meantime, that's all they can do. They're not getting anything done. We have so many things we could get done -- we could so easily do prescription drugs..."

Schumer on Monday tweeted his objection to Trump's request for supplemental funding to deal with the coronavirus, including the development of a vaccine:

-- Too little too late. That President Trump is trying to steal funds dedicated to fight Ebola is indicative of his towering incompetence and further proof that he and his administration aren’t taking the Coronavirus crisis as seriously as they need to be.

-- We’ve seen no sign that President Trump has any plan or urgency to deal with the spread of the Coronavirus. We need real leadership, and we need it fast.

(Later, Trump tweeted: "Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus. If I asked for more he would say it is too much. He didn’t like my early travel closings. I was right. He is incompetent!")

 

 
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President Trump, speaking Tuesday, said the coronavirus is "very well under control" in the U.S.

"We have very few people with it, and the people who have it...are all getting better." He said that includes the infected Americans taken off a cruise ship in Japan who were allowed to fly back to the U.S., where they are now in quarantine.

Trump said allowing them to come home "was really the right thing to do," adding, "we think they'll be in very good shape very soon."

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) gave Trump a little credit on Tuesday, telling CNN's "New Day":

Number one, I think the president is to be given some appreciation for the emergency request of $2.5 billion that's come out in the last couple of days. That was the right thing to do, and I'm sure Congress is going to approve that very quickly.

On the other hand, I think what Chuck was probably referring to was, two years ago, a little less than two years ago...John Bolton abolished the position of global health coordination in the National Security Council and disbanded the office. And that office has been empty until today. 

And why is that important? Because we've already seen conflict between the CDC, the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, and there really is a necessity for someone at the top, for someone in the White House, that can knock heads in the bureaucracy and make decisions and have them stick throughout the federal government.

The other piece, which I find kind of astounding, is last fall, just last fall, the State Department abolished a program called Predict, which was designed -- it was under USAID -- it was designed to examine and indeed predict and work on global potential pandemics. That office was abolished last fall and hasn't yet been replaced, although they're talking about it.

So I think there is, you know, just on the record a lack of preparation. And I put in a bill just in the last few days to create this position in the National Security Council as a permanent position because these kind of things are going to happen in a globalized economy, and we need to be prepared, not scrambling to play catch up.


 

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