Even though many Democrats are cautious, they have targeted the White House for failure to deliver critical supplies in their home states and districts. They have criticized the Trump administration for not fully relying on the Defense Production Act due to the lack of medical equipment. And they surrendered when Trump removed the watchdog that oversees trillions of coronavirus funds.
Some Democrats have even claimed that the Trump administration has delayed or withheld much-needed medical care from its states – allegations that the White House denies.
In a letter to Pence earlier this month, Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Wrote that “there is still a serious and harmful perception” that medical care and personal protective equipment are not distributed because of threats, but rather because of political ones or personal motives. “Pointing out that Connecticut – a solid blue state – had only received 14 percent of his protective gear request, he found that Florida, where the governor speaks regularly to Trump, received the requested deliveries.
Murphy has also attempted to contact the White House adviser, Peter Navarro, but was instead referred to a Department of Defense official.
“The only sensible thing the administration does is hold daily press conferences,” Murphy said in an interview. “The only federal response came from Congress. I find it absolutely amazing how little the administration has done and how little it is willing to do it. “
“People are afraid that they will retaliate if they ask difficult questions about what is happening and what is not happening and how we can make progress. That is a problem,” added Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.).
Pence’s call to the Senate and House Democrats last week also left some members dissatisfied and prompted the House Democrats to send a follow-up letter on Monday.
The White House did not comment on this story, but the Republicans defended the government’s handling of the crisis.
“When you look at the fact that we continue to lower the estimate of the number of people who will lose their lives, the response has been very successful,” said Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo), a member of the GOP leadership. “The fact that we have dropped from 1.5 to 2 million projected deaths to less than 100,000 is a direct result of the government’s and American people’s response.”
Some Democrats warn that their party needs to know the tone of a message right now.
“If we disagree with someone, we have to do it very carefully,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, a conservative Democrat close to the Trump administration, in an interview. “You have to be careful not to attack the President in any particular way, because the public will say,” Hey, what are you doing, you should work together. “
Democrats have turned to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in recent days over Trump’s frustration. For example, he spoke to Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) About disbursing funds to his state. And Mnuchin again acts as the point of contact for negotiations with Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.), chair of the Senate Minority, and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Spokeswoman for the terms of the next aid package, which will be at least a quarter of a million dollars.
These talks between Mnuchin and Pelosi partially replaced the lack of communication between Pelosi and the President, who has not spoken directly since October. Pelosi is now tearing apart Trump’s “failure to properly plan an outbreak on the U.S. shores.”
Other top Democrats are also unwavering in their criticism: House Democratic Caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) Described Trump’s response to the crisis as an “unrestricted disaster.” House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) Warned that Trump could try to use the relief money to “reward his own business.”
And there is a heightened sense of concern among some Democrats in the most affected regions who don’t trust Trump not playing politics with the response in their states.
“It is certainly something we all think about,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Who watched Trump with his home country democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, amid rising cases of coronavirus.
“His instinct was always about how a decision affects you, not whether it was the right decision,” said Kildee. “But we really want him to succeed because his success saves American lives.”