House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters, who recently lost her sister to COVID-19, has had enough of Donald Trump and his warped priorities. In a blistering press release Thursday, Waters slammed Trump for his negligent pandemic response while accusing him of diverting time and energy to threatening protestors demanding the removal of Confederate statues.
Waters called Trump an “incompetent and heartless man” who is “more concerned about statues and relics of the Confederacy and slavery than he is the survival of the American people.” Months into the coronavirus pandemic, the nation that Trump is supposed to lead is still the epicenter, with over 2.4 million cases and more than 124,000 deaths. “America First” cannot mean this.
Waters pointed out that even as 33 states are seeing their weekly average cases spike, Trump is ignoring the disease, rather than “using the full power of his office” to fight it. Even worse, Trump continues to defy guidance from health experts and hold rallies without encouraging mask wearing and social distancing. Trump is also now cutting federal funding for community testing sites across the country, as if we have vanquished the virus.
Although we have a “real, deadly public health crisis on our hands,” Water warned that Trump nevertheless prefers to focus his energy on dividing Americans. By now threatening to call U.S. marshals to scare away anti-racism protestors and imprison them for up to 10 years, Trump is “more focused” on protecting the memories of deceased racists than saving “living and breathing Americans.”
Rather than engage in a dialogue to address racism, deescalate the situation, and unite the country, Trump instead denounced protestors, tweeting on Wednesday that they are just “roving gangs of wise guys, anarchists & looters.” Trump then whitesplained that it’s “important for us to understand and remember” the Confederate statues, “even in turbulent and difficult times, and learn from them.”
Waters is right that Trump’s priorities are tragically upside-down, even as we find ourselves under extraordinary circumstances. On November 3, we must send a powerful message about what matters in America—and elect competent people who are passionate about getting the job done.