Democratic Senator Chris Murphy (CT) told CNN’s Anderson Cooper this week that the United States was not in crisis “because of anything that China did.”
“We knew it was a matter of time before it arrived here, and it was shocking how cavalier the administration was. This was at a time when the president really, you know, viewed this as a hoax,” Murphy falsely claimed. “He said so on TV, and the reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did.”
Despite its coronavirus lies, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy says China is blameless:
"The reason that we're in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did" pic.twitter.com/sQXVVPgej5
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) April 15, 2020
“I walked out of that closed-door briefing just with chills running down my spine… It was just shocking how cavalier the administration was.”
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) April 15, 2020
CNN HOST ANDERSON COOPER: Joining us now to talk about missed opportunities, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, of Connecticut. Senator Murphy, I want to read you a tweet that you tweeted out February 5th about the White House’s response at that time. You said, “Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom-line, they aren’t taking this seriously enough. Notably, no request for any emergency funding which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening, staff et cetera. And they need it now.” What did you see in the medium, what was the problem?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, that was an extraordinary montage that you just played and that attitude was reflected in the meeting, inside that meeting in early February, where the President’s top Coronavirus experts. It was led by then-Chief of Staff Mulvaney and Secretary of HHS Alex Azar and they were just incredibly confident that they had beaten Coronavirus. At that time, they were only a few cases here, they were reflecting what the President said in those clips because they thought that the travel bans have kept it out of the United States.
We told them that they needed money and they needed money fast in order to buy supplies, in order to hire more staff and they told us that they didn’t need any funding, that they had everything that they needed. And I walked out of that closed-door briefing just with chills running down my spine because many of us on both sides of the aisle knew what this virus had done in China.
We knew it was a matter of time before it arrived here and it was shocking how cavalier the Administration was. This was at a time when the President really, you know, viewed this as a hoax. He said so on TV and the reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today, is not because of anything that China did.
It’s not because of anything that the WHO did. It’s because of what this president did. He didn’t take this virus seriously. We weren’t going to be able to keep every case out of United States, but we didn’t need tens of thousands this of people dying.
COOPER: It’s clear that the WHO has said very positive things about China and kind of downplayed, you know, their lack of transparency. Even the Chinese death tolls, you know, right now just seems ludicrously low, the official death toll in China. I’m wondering what you make of the president now focusing on WHO, though he previously had praised them for — China for transparency and the WHO’s work.
MURPHY: Well, pulling money out of the WHO has nothing to do with keeping America safe. It’s all about the president’s attempt to try to find scapegoats. Let’s be clear. Early on in this crisis, there was no bigger cheerleader for China and their response to coronavirus than president Donald J. Trump. It was President Trump who on 12 different occasions praised President Xi’s efforts to control coronavirus, specifically praised China’s transparency, which we now know was a complete joke.
And so the president is engaging in, you know, sort of middle school grade deflection trying to blame the WHO for something that he was responsible for. And the fact of the matter is, while the WHO is imperfect, in the early days of the virus, they invested in testing. They created by the end of February 1.4 million tests in collaboration with a German manufacturer.
And so had we been working with the WHO early on, we might be in a very different position here, being able to test twice as many, three times as many people as we have. We’ll be weaker as a nation if we pull out of the WHO because there’s no way to stand up an effective anti-pandemic program without them. This is just about the president’s attempts to try to blame others for problems that he created.
COOPER: Yeah. I know earlier you had said that there’s very coordinated effort amongst the White House and their allies to try to find scapegoats for the fatal mistakes that the president made in the early stage of the virus. You believe that the president made mistakes that ended up costing lives?
MURPHY: Absolutely. Absolutely. The fact that we didn’t start buying up medical supplies, masks, gowns, face shields early on, when we were begging for that funding in early February. The fact that the president didn’t put in place an effective plan to develop new tests. The fact that he didn’t work with governors and mayors to push social distancing measures earlier has cost lives.
Listen, let’s be honest. There is effectively no response to coronavirus from the administration. All the president does is hold press conferences. Everything that has been done to effectively control this virus has been done by governors. My governor has had to find almost every single face shield and every mask that has been dispensed to hospital.
It’s been my governor that has had to decide when to close schools and businesses. It’s my governor who is organizing a process of identify, trace and quarantine. The president talks in these press conferences, but all of the response has been left to governors. And so if the president had had a more effective national plan from the beginning, we would be in a very different position than we are today.
COOPER: Do you watch the coronavirus briefings? Because I’ve just been struck how they have now devolved to it the president essentially hijacking them to, you know, talk as long as he wants, an hour, more than an hour sometimes before any scientists really – you know, we get an update from the scientists about what’s actually going on.
MURPHY: Yeah. I mean, my sense right now is that the president does the press conferences and other people are trying to manage the virus. We did a call last week with the vice president and a team of experts, and, you know, there were really good people on that call, but it’s hard when the president is this disengaged, when he is so focused on trying to save himself politically and not terribly interested in learning the details of how you fight a vicious virus like this.
I tune into, you know, bits and pieces of these press conferences because a lot of my constituents are watching them and I want to be kept up to date, but they are just for show. They are just to keep the president occupied on a daily basis. It’s others in the administration that’s doing the work, but they don’t really have clear guidance from the commander in chief.
COOPER: Senator Chris Murphy, I appreciate your time. Thank you.