Coronavirus Crisis: President Trump Responds to Chuck Schumer’s Criticism

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to the media before a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to wrap up work on coronavirus economic aid legislation in Washington, D.C., March 20, 2020. (Mary F. Calvert/Reuters)

President Trump sent a scathing letter to Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) after the Senate minority leader criticized the president’s coronavirus response and demanded that he establish someone “unpolitical” to oversee the flow of medical equipment to embattled providers.

“No wonder AOC and others are thinking about running against you in the primary. If they did, they would likely win,” Trump wrote. “ . . . I’ve known you for many years, but I never knew how bad a senator you are for the state of New York, until I became president.”

The criticism comes after Schumer claimed Trump was politicizing the government’s coronavirus response, after reports that hospitals and other medical providers are facing shortages of crucial medical equipment. “It is the cruelest irony that this nation is now dependent on China for many of these products,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said at his daily press briefing on Thursday.

“I am calling on the administration to put in charge of both production and distribution of materials a military man as czar under the [Defense Production Act],” Schumer said Thursday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “We need someone unpolitical to produce the materials more quickly and to distribute them to the places that are most needed — to not have my governor have to call up California and compete with other states.”

Trump initially responded on Twitter, saying “we do have a military man in charge of distributing goods,” in reference to Rear Admiral John P. Polowczyk, who is overseeing the supply chain task force at FEMA.

He added in later tweets that “Massive amounts of medical supplies, even hospitals and medical centers, are being delivered directly to states and hospitals by the Federal Government.”

Schumer then sent a letter to Trump to further press the issue, accusing the Trump administration of “tardiness and inadequacy” in its response.

“The existing federal leadership void has left America with an ugly spectacle in which States and cities are literally fending for themselves,” Schumer wrote. “ . . . The only way we will fix our PPE and ventilator shortage is with a data-driven, organized and robust plan from the federal government.”

The president then responded with his own letter. “Thank you for your Democrat public relations letter and incorrect sound bites, which are wrong in every way,” Trump opened.

He then reiterated the points from his tweets, before laying into the Democrat further.

“If you spent less time on your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ended up going nowhere (except increasing my poll numbers), and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared,” Trump leveled. “. . . You have been missing in action, except when it comes to the ‘press.’”

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