Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) expressed his dismay with the Trump administration’s handling of growing fears surrounding the global spread of the Coronavirus while speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier Tuesday, Romney and other senators attended a classified briefing held by Trump administration officials amid growing fears of the spread of Coronavirus — and as the CDC warned “the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”
Romney reportedly said during the briefing that he’s “very disappointed in the degree to which we’ve prepared for a pandemic” and that “we should be pulling out all the stops.”
“Well I’m disappointed that there’s not been stockpiling in prior years of protective equipment. I mean by that: gowns, masks and so forth that our medical workers would need and that our general public would need,” Romney told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “That’s something that should’ve been put aside a long time ago and hasn’t been.”
After adding that he’d like to know if the U.S. has enough respirators and necessary equipment needed for those who potentially get the Coronavirus, Romney argued that he’d like to see the administration “investing more than we have been and probably more than we’re even planning at this stage.”
Romney went on to say that the administration’s response “probably justifies” having one government official who could “work across the various departments and agencies to make sure that we have a unified response to protect our citizens.”
Asked if he agrees with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) saying that there should be a czar responsible for addressing Coronavirus response, Romney replied “that could well make sense” although he’s” not sure what the right title would be.”
Citing the classified briefing held by Trump administration officials Monday morning, Romney added that “it would make sense to have a single person who is in charge of our national response to the threat of Coronavirus.”
TPM reached out to Romney’s office for additional comment. We will update this post if we hear back.
Earlier Tuesday, President Trump took a shot at Schumer’s criticism of the White House’s ask for a $2.5 billion Coronavirus response package — which would include transferring $535 million currently designated toward fighting the Ebola virus.
Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus. If I asked for more he would say it is too much. He didn’t like my early travel closings. I was right. He is incompetent!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2020
Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow insisted during an interview on CNBC Tuesday that “we have contained this” although he wouldn’t say airtight, “but pretty close to airtight.”
Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf got heat from Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) earlier Tuesday during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the 2021 Homeland Security budget for failing to answer a series of questions regarding the department’s response to Coronavirus fears.
Watch Romney’s remarks below:
Sen. Romney expressing concern about admin handling of coronavirus:
"Well I'm disappointed that there's not been stockpiling in prior years of protective equipment…"
"…It would make sense to have a single person who is in charge of our national response…" pic.twitter.com/QKLanrdm4K
— Alan He (@alanhe) February 25, 2020