Sen. Elizabeth Warren said that funds being used to construct the president’s border wall with Mexico should be redirected to help contain coronavirus, a quickly spreading epidemic with origins in China.
“I’m going to be introducing a plan tomorrow to take every dime that the president is now taking to spend on his racist wall at the southern border and divert it to the coronavirus,” the candidate said during a CNN town hall on Wednesday evening.
The senator also had harsh words for the president earlier in the week, posting tweets accusing him of “absolutely bungling” the United States’ response to the spreading virus. She accused Trump of “putting our public health and our economy at risk” and said that is “why we need a real plan and an adult in charge.”
Warren’s fellow candidates also criticized the president, who held a White House news conference — the first in a long while — with CDC officials earlier that same day. Warren has also released a plan to prevent, contain, and treat infectious disease in the U.S.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar took issue with Trump putting Vice President Mike Pence as lead on responding to coronavirus. “I would think usually you might put a medical professional in charge,” Klobuchar said. It’s also worth noting that during his time as governor of Indiana, Pence saw a widespread HIV outbreak in the state in 2015 due in part to his cutting Planned Parenthood funding that closed the only HIV testing center in one hard-hit county and his opposition to needle exchanges.
Candidate Michael Bloomberg released an ad accusing the president of leaving the government unprepared to deal with the epidemic, and during the town hall, former vice president Joe Biden referred to his experience combatting Ebola in the Obama administration . “Were I president now,” Biden said, “I’d insist that China allow our scientists in to make a hard determination of how it started, where it’s from, how far along it is. Because that is not happening now.”
At his press conference, Trump issued advice to Americans on how not to catch the virus. “I do it a lot, anyway, as you’ve probably heard: Wash your hands,” the president told reporters. “Stay clean. You don’t have to necessarily grab every handrail unless you have to. You know, you do certain things.”