by WorldTribune Staff, April 5, 2020
New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday accusing the president of “tardiness and inadequacy” in his coronavirus response.
Trump fired back, telling Schumer: “If you spent less time on your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ended up going nowhere (except increasing my poll numbers), and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared for the ‘invisible enemy.’ ”
Trump also accused Schumer of being missing in action while the federal government works directly with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
In his letter to Trump, Schumer had written: “As the Coronavirus spreads rapidly into every corner of our nation and its terrible, grim toll grows more severe with each passing day, the tardiness and inadequacy of this Administration’s response to the crisis becomes more painfully evident.”
“Well-documented shortages of protective equipment, tests, and medical supplies are now beyond acute in my home state of New York and other hard-hit areas, and similar shortages are expected soon in many other parts of our country,” Schumer continued.
He argued that while private companies volunteering to make personal protective gear and other needed medical equipment are to be commended, “America cannot rely on a patchwork of uncoordinated voluntary efforts to combat the awful magnitude of this pandemic.”
“It is long past the time for your Administration to designate a senior military officer to fix this urgent problem. That officer should be given full authority under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to complete and rapidly implement a plan for the increased production, procurement and distribution of critically-needed medical devices and equipment,” Schumer wrote.
Trump responded: “Thank you for your Democrat public relations letter and incorrect sound bites, which are wrong in every way.”
The president then noted that Vice President Mike Pence is leading the federal government’s coronavirus task force and “by all accounts” is doing a “spectacular job.”
“The Defense Production Act (DPA) has been consistently used by my team and me for the purchase of billions of dollars’ worth of equipment, medical supplies, ventilators, and other related items,” Trump wrote.
“It has been powerful leverage, so powerful that companies generally do whatever we are asking, without even a formal notice. They know something is coming, and that’s all they need to know,” he continued.
In his letter to Trump, Schumer also called on the president to place a military officer in charge of the logistics chain for medical supplies, which the commander in chief had in fact already done. Trump pointed out that Navy Rear Adm. John Polowczyk is that person. The president identified him as such in a coronavirus task force briefing March 23.
“A ‘senior military officer’ is in charge of purchasing, distributing, etc,” Trump wrote to Schumer. “His name is Rear Admiral John Polowczyk. He is working 24 hours a day, and is highly respected by everyone. If you remember, my team gave you this information, but for public relations purposes, you choose to ignore it.”
At the March 23 briefing, Polowczyk described his duties as the “Supply Chain Task Force lead at FEMA. My task is to increase the supply of critical medical supplies, which include personal protective equipment and ventilators.”
Trump reiterated that Polowczyk is coordinating the medical supplies logistics chain and doing a “fantastic job.”
“We have one of the most highly respected people in the military, the admiral,” the president said. “This is what he does too, very professionally, and he’s in charge. But Chuck didn’t know that.”