By Janet Ekstract
NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – The travesty of inadequate coronavirus testing while not being able to get testing supplies puts America front and center in a precarious position where states end up lagging behind in reopening their economies. As CNN host Jake Tapper said on Sunday in his show State of The Union: “There’s a real disconnect between the tests that exist and getting them.” Meanwhile, Vice-President Mike Pence was recently grilled about testing by Senate Democrats because contrary to what America’s governors report, Pence said: “We believe today we have enough capacity to do the testing we need to do.” Tapper added: “Many governors simply do not know where these tests are.”
On Sunday,Tapper interviewed Senator Chuck Schumer, Democratic Minority Leader about the seriousness of the testing issues America is facing. Schumer said the Democrats proposed a $30B testing program for the new stimulus bill and he said it’s urgent that this program be funded. Schumer added that it’s very difficult to get testing going without federal government cooperation. He also said the issue has been that President Trump doesn’t have a clear focus on testing, that there should be a national focus across the nation on this.
On State of The Union, Tapper interviewed three American governors who were criticized by President Trump for what they perceive as the federal government ignoring state’s requests for adequate tests and testing supplies. Governors have spoken out about their lack of tests, inadequacy of tests and their lack of access to testing supplies such as swabs and reagents needed to process the tests. As politicians, medical experts and journalists agree – this isn’t a case of a few governors – it’s across the board in 50 states. While President Trump said in his March 6 briefing: “Anybody who wants a test can get a test,” these three governors reveal a very different reality.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam told Tapper: “Our president has obviously been unable to deliver on tests.” Northam stressed this is a “time for leadership” and “a time for truth and a time to bring people together.” He added: “We’re trying to fight a war without the supplies we need.” Though Northam said his state wants to ramp up testing, the Virginia governor commented: “We’ve been fighting everyday for more PPE.” He said there aren’t enough swabs for testing and the most crucial he shared is: “We don’t have guidance for states, that’s just irresponsible.”
Tapper asked Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to weigh in on the testing situation and respond to Pence’s statement: “We believe today we have enough testing capacity to do the tests we need to do.” Hogan said: “I think this is the number one problem in America and it has been from Day One.” He added that Pence’s statement is “absolutely false.” Hogan further stated: “Every governor in America has been fighting, clawing and pushing to get more tests.” The Maryland governor echoed Northam’s statement and pointed out that Maryland also has a shortage on swabs and reagents. Hogan concluded: “It’s not accurate to say there’s plenty of testing and the governors should just get it done, that’s not being straightforward.” Hogan also echoed what New York Governor Cuomo has repeatedly said, that funding is “desperately needed” for states. Hogan added: “My goal is to get us open as quickly as we possibly can but in a safe way.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan said: “Michigan has the third largest death count in the country, we are the third largest state in the nation.” She said this is an “unprecedented crisis” and in response to testing, Whitmer reiterated what both Hogan, Northam and Cuomo have said: “We do not have swabs and reagents.” She said that if she did “we could double or triple our testing.” The governor said: “It would be nice if we had a national strategy.” Whitmer emphasized that the federal government needs to use the Defense Production Act to produce swabs and reagents. She added: “We need the fundamental supply chain issues addressed.” Whitmer explained that she wants to “reengage the economy” but in the safest possible manner to prevent a second wave of a virus outbreak.
The handling of America’s coronavirus pandemic is being described as “chaotic” and “lacking leadership.” Trump’s daily White House coronavirus press briefings are viewed by a multitude of analysts and experts as nothing more than empty words and political jostling, seven months out from what is expected to me one of the most highly anticipated presidential elections in U.S. history. To weigh in on this aspect, Tapper interviewed British TV Co-Host of Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright. Morgan was blunt in his criticism of Trump’s handling of the crisis: “Trump is using his briefings as political campaigns.” He added: “Donald Trump’s ratings are falling because they don’t trust him and he’s turning briefings into self-serving rallies.” Morgan cited Emmanuel Macron, Jacinda Ahern and Angela Merkle as leaders he feels are doing an excellent job of handling the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, they are “very candid and concede if they make a mistake.”
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright when asked to weigh in on current leadership under Trump, replied: “I think if it’s the new world, it’s very dangerous. We do have to deal with partners to solve a problem and it does require working with partners. I’m very, very worried about the Trump administration changing its mind all the time. The only way we’re going to solve this, is through international cooperation. We cannot be absent, America is essential.”
When Morgan’s friendship with Trump was mentioned by Tapper, the TV co-host said he has no problem being blunt with Trump. Morgan had this warning for the president: “You will lose the election in November if you continue to make it about yourself, continue to make it about you and continue to criticize governors for your political purposes.” In his recent Twitter post, Morgan wrote: “America doesn’t want a King Trump.” His final message to the U.S. president: “Donald Trump should use the criticism from the media to ask himself, am I doing the right thing, am I doing a good job?” The TV host said it’s time to “come together, work as one, show a unified front.” What matters, Morgan said, is human life.
As Albright concluded, she cited Trump’s withdrawal of funding from The World Health Organization (WHO) and explained: “It doesn’t prove anything for us to pull out. I’m sorry to see America not play its rightful role.” She added that “President Trump and President Xi are pushing each other’s hypernational buttons,” Albright said, “we don’t need that.”
At the end of his show, as usual, Tapper asked the president the obvious questions: Where are the tests? Why aren’t governors getting enough tests and why isn’t the White House addressing these issues. Tapper added that the real test is how Trump runs the country: “ Leadership is being tested too, Mr. President.”