- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 27, 2020

Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Bernard Sanders on Thursday accused President Trump of botching the response to the coronavirus outbreak, calling it “inadequate, misleading and dangerous.”

Mr. Sanders said every step taken by Mr. Trump was wrong and offered his prescription to fend off the potentially deadly virus.

Mr. Sanders said that if he were president he would not “play politics with our health and national security.”

He disagreed with Mr. Trump’s decision to put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the administration’s response.

“By picking Vice President Mike Pence to lead the administration’s response to the pandemic, Trump has not only chosen someone completely unqualified, but the president has made clear that he’s more concerned about his own politics than the health and safety of the country,” said Mr. Sanders, a senator from Vermont who is an avowed socialist.

He joined other top Democratic officials, including Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, in attacking Mr. Trump’s moves to deal with the disease.

Mr. Sanders outlined what he would do if he were in the White House.

“In my view, the Trump administration must take immediate action. First, they must replace Mike Pence with an expert on pandemics and disaster response,” he said. “Second, the Trump administration must stop releasing misleading, unscientific, and false information about whether the coronavirus is controlled or when it will be controlled.”

He continued: “Third, they must immediately staff their response team with experts and scientists to help us address a pandemic based on facts – Steve Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow are political cronies, not scientists.”

He insisted Mr. Trump sign emergency legislation proposed by Mr. Schumer for $8.5 billion in coronavirus response funding.

Mr. Trump initially requested $2.5 billion.

“We need a president who does not play politics with our health and national security,” said Mr. Sanders. “Besides passing Medicare for All so everyone can see a doctor or get a vaccine for free, my administration will greatly expand funding for the Center for Disease Control and National Institute of Health, work with the international community, including with the World Health Organization, and invest in research and technology to make vaccines available quickly.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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