Washington Senator Patty Murray (D) has said she is “so angry and frustrated” by President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak as the disease wreaks havoc in her home state.
“Look, from day one, when we started seeing this grow and develop in China and continue to grow rapidly and expansively, all of us should have been aware that issues like a virus don’t stay in one place. That we are a global community, people travel,” Murray told BuzzFeed News in an interview on Friday.
“Instead, the reaction from the federal government or from the person in the White House, in particular, was ‘no worries, be happy,’” said Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. “And I am so angry and frustrated at that.”
Trump on Friday declared a national emergency over the fast-spreading coronavirus, freeing up additional resources and federal funding of about $50 billion to fight the disease.
Trump made the announcement at a news conference on Friday at the White House, saying he was declaring the national emergency in order to “unleash the full power of the federal government,” Reuters reported.
He called on all US states to establish emergency centers to help fight the deadly virus.
Trump said his government would partner with the private industry to speed up production of test kits to make them available to Americans.
He said perhaps more than 5 million coronavirus tests will be needed, and requested people to only seek out the test if they really need it.
The Trump administration has faced harsh criticism over the slow response and availability of coronavirus tests.
Senator Murray has been a frequent critic of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, saying as early as January that the administration needed to ramp up efforts to curb the virus’s spread.
“It seems to me, from day one, the message from the top [of] this administration has been to downplay it,” Murray said. “I don’t believe in panicking people, but I believe that our response as a country has to be … a sense of urgency.”
There have been over 2,000 coronavirus infections in the united sates with the most of them occurring in Washington state, where 37 people have died.
President Trump however has been defiant and praised the coronavirus response bill the House passed.
“Good teamwork between Republicans & Democrats as the House passes the big CoronaVirus Relief Bill. People really pulled together. Nice to see!” Trump tweeted on Saturday, hours after the bipartisan support approved the legislation.