James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) recently represented his party on CNN’s “State of the Union” program to talk about the devastating impact of the Coronavirus. His new role is as the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and at the top of his agenda is not the disease itself, but the White House’s response. Clyburn told CNN host Jake Tapper that he was focused on “fraud and abuse, profiteering, price-gouging” and in investigating how the White House is allocating funds.
Tapper then asked:
“You’re not going to look at all at the federal response and why it took so long to get a federal response going that would have saved lives?”
Clyburn’s response indicated a look to the future
“My understanding is that this committee will be forward-looking,” he said. “We’re not going to be looking back on what the president may or may not have done back before this crisis hit.”
Not all Democrats agree with this course of action. Many think the “forward looking” focus is not correct – and that id does not place enough blame on President Donald Trump.
According to the Washington Post, the need to investigate the response is greater than the need to help others or look forward:
“It took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus not as a distant threat or harmless flu strain well under control, but as a lethal force,” the left-wing outlet reported.
The timeline is not the only problem for those critical of the response. The availability of medical supplies has been questioned – and the White House has ben accused of playing favorites – particularly in favor of hard hit Florida.
According to the Post: “The president knows Florida is so important for his reelection. … He pays close attention to what Florida wants.”
The New York Times is critical of the figures and statistics shared by the government:
“Hospital officials, doctors, public health experts and medical examiners say that official counts have failed to capture the true number of Americans dying in this pandemic.”
Even Clyburn’s forward looking committee is under fire. The stated goals of doing away with waste and fraud seem to be an issue for many, who feel this does not go far enough or look deeply enough as it could.
With a country sheltering in place, dangerous misinformation being shared by many outlets and an election looming in the fall, Democrats are still targeting not the illness or profiteers, but the sitting president and their opinion of his performance, and continue to urge Clyburn and his committe to take stronger action.