President Donald Trump admitted Tuesday that he won’t let members of his coronavirus task force testify before a House committee because the lawmakers could be “Trump haters” critical of the White House’s dismal response to the pandemic.
“The House is a setup,” Trump told reporters when asked why he won’t allow top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci to testify. “The House is a bunch of Trump haters.”
A congressional hearing to look at the government’s response to the spread of COVID-19 is still planned for Wednesday, despite the top members of Trump’s task force being blocked from attending.
Last Friday, the White House claimed it would be “counterproductive” to let task force members speak before the House Appropriations subcommittee holding the hearing.
“While the Trump Administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counterproductive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at congressional hearings,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement on Friday. “We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.”
But Trump gave an explanation more befitting of a president who would rather lash out at his perceived enemies than take responsibility for a crisis he continues to exacerbate.
“They put every Trump hater on the committee, the same old stuff,” he said of the Democratic-controlled House. “They frankly want our situation to be unsuccessful, which means death, which means death. And our situation is going to be very successful.”
As of Tuesday, more than 70,000 Americans were dead due to the coronavirus, with more than a million infected. Those numbers were driven up by a serious lack of testing by an administration that dragged its feet as the virus spread across the country.
What’s more, Trump is pushing to reopen the economy even as multiple states still wait to hit their peak daily death totals from the virus. He has ignored health experts who have warned that the country should not be reopened without a massive increase in testing and contact tracing, and has downplayed the serious threat of his own supporters putting others in danger as they protest government stay-at-home orders. None of this has stopped him from trying to deflect blame onto his political opponents.
“[The Democrats] do everything they can to make things as bad as possible,” Trump said on Tuesday.
The president said that Dr. Fauci will instead testify in front of the Republican-controlled Senate.
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