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Carper condemns Trump administration's delayed COVID-19 response

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on June 9 examined the federal government’s coordination related to the COVID-19 response and management of the supply chain during a HSGAC hearing titled, “Evaluating the Federal Government’s Procurement and Distribution Strategies in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

This was the first HSGAC hearing with Donald Trump administration officials overseeing the coronavirus response since March 5.

“I’m inspired by our men and women on the front lines battling this virus, and I’m inspired by the efforts you are describing here today,” said Carper. “But what I am not inspired by are these numbers. In a world where we, the United States, represent less than 5% of the world’s population, we’ve recorded more than 25% of the world’s deaths related to COVID-19.”

Since HSGAC’s last COVID-19 related virtual roundtable on May 6, cases worldwide have increased by 6 million. Today, COVID-19 has killed more than 410,000 individuals globally, including more than 111,000 deaths and nearly 2 million confirmed cases in the U.S. alone. The U.S. now leads the world in COVID-19 cases and deaths and makes up more than 1/4 global cases and deaths.

“The thing that I have a hard time getting my head around and understanding is how, by comparison, do U.S. deaths reach these kinds of staggering numbers compared to other nations?,” continued Carper. “I’m not a partisan guy, but I’m just going to share with you what may sound partisan, but it’s the truth.”

“I want to use these words from the president of the United States. On February 28, he said ‘It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle. It will disappear.’ On March 6, ‘Anybody who wants a test, can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is.’ On March 10, ‘This was unexpected. We are prepared and we are doing a great job. Stay calm, it will go away.’ On March 24, ‘We have never closed down the country for the flu so you can say to yourself ‘what is this all about?’ On May 20, ‘When you say that we lead in cases, that’s because we have more testing than anybody else. I don’t look at that as a bad thing, I wear that as a badge of honor.’”

“[These comments] fly in the face of the truth,” continued Carper. “Our medical professionals across the country have been handed an incredibly difficult challenge. If truth be known, it’s because we were really late out of the starting gate when realizing what we faced and addressing it right up front. A fellow that used to lead General Motors used to say ‘Leadership is staying out of step when everyone else is marching to the wrong tune.’ Well, the people that you have had to lead have had to march a lot faster because of the lack of leadership that we had in February, March and into April. I just want to thank you for your herculean effort to try to get us out of this crisis. We’re not there yet, but because of your efforts we will be there some day.”

A video of Carper’s full remarks is available at bit.ly/2XOOFIh.