Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Wednesday expressed outrage over the Trump administration’s “disgusting” coronavirus response, even taking a subtle jab at Vice President Mike Pence’s faith.
President Trump, alongside members of his Coronavirus Task Force, delivered an update on the United States’ response to the viral threat on Wednesday.
“We are ready to adapt and we’re ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads,” Trump said on Wednesday, noting his request for $2.5 billion from Congress to tackle the disease.
“If they want to give more, we’ll do more, we’re going to spend whatever’s appropriate,” he added.
Trump also announced Pence will lead the coronavirus task force and work with professionals and doctors.
“Mike is going to be in charge and Mike will report back to me, but he has a certain talent for this,” the president said.
Sanders, the Democrat party’s leading presidential hopeful, expressed outrage over the president’s presser and, particularly, his decision to have Pence leading the charge.
The socialist claimed Trump’s “disgusting” response to the coronavirus, so far, involved cutting winter heating assistance for the poor, allowing “ex-pharma lobbyist Alex Azar refuse to guarantee affordable vaccines to all,” and having Pence, “who wanted to ‘pray away’ [the] HIV epidemic,” lead the task force:
Trump's plan for the coronavirus so far:
-Cut winter heating assistance for the poor
-Have VP Pence, who wanted to "pray away" HIV epidemic, oversee the response
-Let ex-pharma lobbyist Alex Azar refuse to guarantee affordable vaccines to all
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 27, 2020
Notably, Pence, who is not shy about his deep Christian faith, did not say he was going to “pray away” the HIV outbreak that ravaged Scott County while he served as Indiana’s governor in 2015. He simply said he was going to “go home and pray” about his decision on moving forward on a needle exchange program, which he ultimately approved.
As for Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II, he did, in fact, tell Congress he could not guarantee an affordable price for the future vaccine.
“I’m saying we would want to ensure that we work to make it affordable, but we can’t control that price, because we need the private sector to invest,” Azar told Congress on Wednesday. “Price controls won’t get us there.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a huge supporter of Sanders, also blasted Trump’s appointment of Pence as leader of the task force.
“Mike Pence literally does not believe in science. It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic,” she said.
“This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have,” she added, failing to specify which of Pence’s decisions has cost people their lives:
Mike Pence literally does not believe in science.
It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic.
This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have. https://t.co/NhMPOusOWm
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 27, 2020
During Tuesday evening’s Democrat debate, Sanders essentially likened the coronavirus to the climate change “crisis”:
What do we have to do? Whether or not the issue is climate change, which is clearly a global crisis requiring international cooperation, or infectious diseases like coronavirus, requiring international cooperation, we have to work and expand the World Health Organization.
The coronavirus has infected over 82,000 people worldwide and killed 2,804, most of whom were in China. The U.S. is currently monitoring 60 cases within the country, although most of them stem from evacuees of the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed on Wednesday a case in California “in a person not associated with relevant travel history or exposure to another known infected patient,” as Breitbart News reported.