WASHINGTON — Arguing that President Trump is not a medical professional, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried to force the release Wednesday of guidance for reopening the country that the White House blocked.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drew up plans to help shepherd the nation through a safer reopening of businesses and institutions during the coronavirus pandemic, but the White House blocked the experts’ work to release its own guidelines last month.
Taking to the Senate floor, Schumer asked for unanimous consent — which was blocked by Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun — for a resolution requiring the release of the plans developed by CDC’s epidemiologists.
Schumer said the nation deserved to have the advice of scientists, instead of the politicly tainted document the Trump White House put out.
“As we all know, the president is not a doctor. The president is not a scientist. Many don’t even believe he’s stable genius like he thinks he is,” Schumer said.
“It has become painfully clear over the last two months how unfamiliar he is with the disciplines of science and medicine. Anyone who would say drink bleach, use bleach, to protect yourself is not much of a medical expert,” he said. “So it’s difficult, if not impossible, to imagine any legitimate constructive purpose in a desire by the president or his staff to edit the CDC’s work.”
In fact, Schumer added, the president has given Americans numerous reasons to doubt his understanding of the pandemic, from his early claims that it would not be a problem to his declaration last month when he released the non-CDC plan that the country has all but won the battle against COVID-19.
“I wish President Trump and his aides could be trusted to tell the American people the truth about this public health crisis. I wish they could be trusted not to engage in political censorship of the medical and scientific judgments of our nation’s foremost experts,” Schumer said. “But at this point in the crisis, after all the falsehoods, all the disinformation, all the transparent attempts at political spin, every American knows full well that the president and his staff simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the coronavirus.”
In his objection, Braun argued that by blocking the scientists’ proposals, Trump was merely overruling bureaucrats in “the regulatory swamp of the CDC.”
He argued that it was bureaucrats who were to blame for the administration’s disastrously slow start on testing, and that Trump was saving the economy by stopping them from failing again.
He accused Schumer and Democrats of wanting to keep the economy closed because it had been so good.
“He’s trying to let career regulators and agencies like the CDC bog down the economy again with bureaucratic hurdles,” Braun said.
Schumer scoffed at Braun’s claims, particularly his assertion that Trump’s entrepreneurial approach to testing has finally made it a success in America.
“Does any independent scientist believe that? Is there anyone who believes we’re leading in testing, that we’ve done as p t said, and accomplished everything in testing? Does anyone outside of the White House, and their acolytes, believe that?”
Top health officials in the administration testified Tuesday that sufficient testing does not yet exist, though they pledged it would by the end of summer.