President Trump has made every aspect of his response to Covid-19 political, from his resistance to mask-wearing to his insistence on reopening schools to his sparring with Democratic governors over lifesaving tests and personal protective equipment.
His administration has even been accused of scrapping a nationwide testing plan after a team convened by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner determined that the epidemic would hit blue states the hardest and Democratic governors could be blamed for it.
Now, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is calling for an investigation of Trump’s politicization of the virus and the unnecessary death and damage it may have caused. In a letter sent on Tuesday and obtained by Vox exclusively ahead of publication, Warren and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward Markey (D-MA) write that “President Trump and his advisors have repeatedly put their partisan political interests ahead of the health and welfare of the American people.”
They detail a host of allegations, including reports that Trump pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to weaken its recommended restrictions for reopening churches, and that he agreed to pay for National Guard troops in only two states, Florida and Texas, because their governors made “special, direct cases to the President.”
Echoing a call that Warren, Blumenthal, and Markey first made in April, the senators ask the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), an oversight body created by the CARES Act, to investigate the Trump administration’s conduct.
It’s unclear whether the PRAC will take up such an investigation or what effect it would have — the committee has not responded publicly to the senators’ April letter. And Trump has already intervened in the operations of the group, removing its leader in April after citing nonspecific “reports of bias.”
Still, the senators’ letter adds to the chorus of voices charging that the president has turned a national crisis into an opportunity for political gain, effectively leaving tens of thousands of Americans to die.
“Americans are seeking trustworthy, objective information and leadership to help them navigate this unprecedented crisis, but the administration’s repeated prioritization of President Trump’s political interests calls into question the integrity of every action of the federal government,” they write. “It will be impossible to develop an effective federal response until this partisan interference is addressed and public trust can be restored.”
Warren and her colleagues say Trump has repeatedly played politics with a national crisis
In addition to a call for an investigation, the letter by Warren and colleagues also serves as a public indictment of the president’s Covid-19 response, during which he has admitted to punishing those he sees as critical of him. These are just some of the ways the senators say the president has put politics ahead of American lives: