RELEASE: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Lambasts Trump on PPE: ‘What Wartime President Leaves the States To Fight It Out Amongst Themselves?’

Washington, D.C. — In a new video released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) urged President Donald Trump to fully deploy the Defense Production Act (DPA) to solve the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for America’s health care workers during the coronavirus crisis. The DPA would grant the federal government the authority to influence domestic industry to mass produce and deploy equipment such as masks, gloves, gowns, ventilators, and other medical necessities in the time of an emergency. For weeks, President Trump—who likened himself to a “wartime president” during this crisis—has resisted calls to fully invoke the DPA and has instead signaled that the White House’s role is coming to an end by announcing last week that the coronavirus task force will functionally disband later this month. President Trump’s announcement comes as states rush to reopen without sufficient testing capabilities, and as new infection projections predict an imminent rise in the COVID-19 death toll. 

Full remarks from Sen. Whitehouse: 

The president likes to brag that he is a “wartime president.” What wartime president leaves the states to fight it out amongst themselves for the armor and the weapons that they need to protect the country?

The Trump administration failed to provide hospital workers the protective equipment that they desperately need.

Trump’s inaction led to an explosion of coronavirus cases that is stretching hospitals to the breaking point.

Without PPE and sufficient medical equipment, our health care system will suffer, and Americans will perish unnecessarily.

I cannot stress this enough. The coronavirus pandemic requires a coordinated federal response.

President Trump needs to fully deploy the Defense Production Act.

That gives him the power to set our national domestic industry to our national defense, so that ventilators and other lifesaving equipment get to the cities that need them.

Americans deserve transparency into the stockpile supply and where those supplies are going and why.  

American health care workers deserve all the resources they need to keep themselves and the rest of us safe.

Americans deserve better.

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