Several House Republicans walked out of a closed-door briefing on the coronavirus by Trump administration health officials after a Democratic chairman railed against the White House response to the crisis.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the leading House health appropriator, kicked off the briefing by criticizing the administration for being disorganized and lacking urgency in its response. Several GOP members started to boo before most Republicans got up and walked out.
“If I wanted to hear the politics of it, I’d read Politico or something, let’s be serious,” said Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan. Even Democrats were uncomfortable with DeLauro’s tirade.
DeLauro’s comments were indicative of the growing political tensions around the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus response. President Donald Trump, who has publicly tried to downplay the virus through a series of misleading claims, just after midnight took to Twitter to complain that Democrats were pinning the crisis on him.
But at least one Democrat also left the briefing irritated. Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), who led the health department under President Bill Clinton, said DeLauro’s diatribe missed the purpose of the meeting.
“No one wanted to hear that, either the Democrats or Republican. We just wanted to hear the substance,” she said.
DeLauro was unapoligetic.
DeLauro, the leading House health appropriator, accused the administration of a lack of urgency and warned that there were several crucial questions that remained unanswered about the coronavirus response. As lawmakers transferred to a bigger room to accommodate all the attendees, a visibly frustrated DeLauro told colleagues she didn’t “give a rat’s ass” and about the reaction and that members needed answers from the administration.
“I feel that the issue on resources and current expenditures has been less than adequate and that these are some of the questions that we have to get answered,” she told reporters afterward, and her office later released a transcript of her remarks. “I quite frankly don’t worry about people who may have a concern. I just know that the questions are right.”
The questions are stupid. How can the White House possibly have any idea how much will be needed to combat the crisis? Scientists don’t even know how the darn thing spreads. As far as current expenditures are concerned, maybe the people who could figure that out are a touch busy at the moment doing actual, you know, work on the crisis, and not looking for a club to beat Republicans with.
It’s amazing how quickly Democrats and the media have pounced on the government’s response to a crisis involving a disease that no one knows hardly anything about yet. We don’t even know where it came from. There isn’t even a reliable test for it. And yet, numbskulls like DeLauro want everything done now — right now, damn it.
Isn’t 20/20 hindsight wonderful?