Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris slammed President Trump for his lackluster coronavirus response that has killed more than 180,000 Americans.
“All we needed was a competent president. One who was willing to listen, willing to lead, take responsibility, have a plan, do their job,” the former attorney general told CNBC. “But Donald Trump has failed at the most basic and important job of a president of the United States,” Harris said. “It’s his obligation to protect us. Yet, he has failed miserably.”
There have been more than 6 million reported cases of coronavirus in the United States as of Thursday, with at least 180,380 Americans dead of the virus. Additionally, the U.S. accounts for more than 25% of coronavirus cases and 20% of related deaths across the world.
The California senator did not stop there.
Trump’s coronavirus ‘reckless disregard’
“Trump showed what we in the legal profession would call a reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people,” Harris added. “A reckless disregard for the danger a pandemic would pose to American lives.
“For the devastation it would do to our economy, for the damage it would do to communities of color who have been subjected to structural racism for generations. For the chaos that would upend our daily lives, make it impossible for many of our children to go to school, make it impossible to live normally and with a sense of certainty.”
Harris also praised Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden, who she said “sounded the alarm” about the coronavirus while Trump continued to dismiss it.
Harris said Trump’s lack of a plan to address the outbreak in the United States literally killed thousands and his lies about medications that helped against the virus killed thousands more, while at the same time, Biden was calling for a national strategy.
“Here’s what you have to understand about the nature of a pandemic: It’s relentless,” Harris said. “You can’t stop it with a tweet. You can’t create a distraction and hope it will go away. It doesn’t go away. By its nature, a pandemic is unforgiving. If you get it wrong at the beginning, the consequences are catastrophic. It’s very hard to catch up. You don’t get a second chance at getting it right.”
Harris Attacks Trump On China
Harris also attacked Trump on his foreign policy, noting that on Jan. 24 Trump “praised the transparency of the Chinese government.”
The Howard graduate added Trump “caved” when he needed “to be tough” with the Chinese government over its refusal to share information about the virus months ago.
“He said, quote, ‘China has been working hard to contain the coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciated their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well.’”
Harris added the Chinese government played a hand in the situation as well because they “weren’t being transparent.”
According to Harris, the Chinese government blocked officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “from getting access and information that they needed to protect American lives.”
“Instead of rising to meet the most difficult moment of his presidency, Donald Trump froze. He was scared and he was petty and vindictive,” she added.
Harris also pointed out the March 16 phone call with U.S. governors where Trump “told them it wasn’t his job to get personal protective equipment to frontline workers.”
“He said ‘respirators, ventilators, all the equipment, try getting it yourselves,’” Harris said. “On that day we had about 5,000 cases as a nation. Today we have nearly 6 million. Even now, some eight months into the crisis, Donald Trump still won’t take responsibility,” she said.
Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s campaign spokesperson said in an email to CNBC “Americans have seen President Trump out front and leading the nation in the fight against the coronavirus.”
“The President’s task force began meeting in January and he restricted travel from China, and then Europe, early on. At the time, Joe Biden criticized the decision, calling it ‘hysterical xenophobia’ and ‘fear-mongering,’ so we know Biden would not have done it. We would be in far worse position today if Joe Biden had been president in January,” Murtaugh wrote.