Illinois Gov. Pritzker on Coronavirus: Trump Administration ‘Has Fallen Down,’ States Are ‘On Our Own’

Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D-IL) said President Donald Trump’s administration had “fallen down” on the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

After international U.S. airports were crowded with returning Americans, Pritzker tweeted at President Donald Trump, “since this is the only communication medium you pay attention to—you need to do something NOW.”

Host Chuck Todd asked, “Let me start with what happened at O’hare. You weren’t the only airport, but every international airport seemed to have a similar situation. Dr. Fauci seemed to say that is what is going to happen when you come back into this country. What do you believe should have been done that wasn’t done.”

Pritzker said, “That’s not right. I have enormous respect for Dr. Fauci, but that’s just incorrect. We knew when the president gave the orders that European travel back to the United States was going to be cut off, that there would be an influx of people, Americans and others, that would come before the final cutoff. So what should have happened? They should have increased the customs and border patrol numbers. And they should have increased the number of CDC personnel on the ground doing those checks. They did neither of those. Last night, as people were flooding into O’hare airport, they were stuck in a small area. Hundreds and hundreds of people. And that’s exactly what you don’t want in this pandemic. So we had that problem. And then today, it’s going to be even worse. There are a larger number of flights with more people coming. And they seem completely unprepared.”

Todd asked, “You have not gotten any reassurance from customs officials that they’re going to have more folks on hand today?”

Pritzker said, “Well, here’s what I got. I got a call at about 11:00 last night after that tweet from a White House staffer who yelled at me about the tweet. That is what I got. Now, we have been talking to customs and border patrol officials directly on the ground at O’hare. I have been working with the mayor and our senators to make sure we’re getting the federal government to pay attention to this problem because we can’t have it happen all day today.”

He added, “We had to provide the leadership because the federal government has fallen down on this. They didn’t advise us to shut down events. They’re not the ones who advised us to close down schools. We made those decisions on our own. We’re on our own. I wish we had leadership from Washington. We’re not getting it.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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