By Hannah Bleau
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said during a live Q&A on Wednesday that President Trump is displaying an “epic level of negligence and incompetence that is costing human lives” during the coronavirus pandemic and suggested that people are dying because the president ignored scientists.
Ocasio-Cortez took questions from social media users on Wednesday and used the opportunity to criticize the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. The outbreak in the United States, she seems to believe, would not be as severe if Trump and Republicans took it seriously and listened to scientists.
“Someone said, ‘Do you think if we took precautions earlier than we did our numbers would be lower than it is now?’ Yes,” Ocasio-Cortez answered.
I think that if Trump took this seriously, if Republicans took it seriously, I think that if if we decided to listen to scientists early more than we listen to, you know, people who care more about profit than human lives, we would have taken precautions much earlier and we would have saved lives. We either would have gone into lockdown earlier in some circumstances or we would have started producing these damn ventilators way earlier than we are now. We would have invoked the Defense Production Act, but because Trump didn’t do that early enough, now we’re scrambling. And everything that is happening is happening late. And every decision that we make late means that people are dying unnecessarily.
The New York lawmaker’s assertion falls in line with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who also suggested that the crisis is worse due to inaction from the president.
“What the president — his denial at the beginning was deadly. His delaying of getting equipment to where — it continues — his delay in getting equipment to where it’s needed is deadly,” the speaker, who remained laser-focused on impeachment as the first known person with the virus arrived in the United States in January, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday.
Notably, Trump took decisive action that very month, announcing a ban on travel to the U.S. from China — a move many of his left-wing critics characterized as “racist.”
Just weeks ago, Ocasio-Cortez suggested that people who were no longer patroning Chinese restaurants during the crisis are “racist”:
“Honestly, it sounds almost so silly to say, but there’s a lot of restaurants that are feeling the pain of racism,” she said during an Instagram Live weeks ago.
“People are literally not patroning Chinese restaurants. They’re not patroning Asian restaurants because of just straight-up racism around the coronavirus,” she added at the time.
However, Ocasio-Cortez continues to believe that Trump and the GOP bear the brunt of responsibility for coronavirus-related deaths:
So understand, understand that people are not just dying of coronavirus. They are dying due to incompetence. They are dying due to poor decision making. They are dying due to a lack of listening to scientists and doctors, and they’re dying due to a crisis and a pandemic of a lack of leadership — not just because of the disease. And so the people who made those decisions who decided to prioritize profit over human life need to answer for those decisions.
The socialist lawmaker also vented about journalists who are “out there just assessing the president’s tone of his voice instead of what he’s actually saying” and declared that Trump is “conveying an epic level of negligence and incompetence that is costing human lives”:
“And it’s not just Trump,” she continued, bringing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) into the mix. “It is not just Trump. Look at DeSantis in Florida who’s just calling for lockdowns today and Florida beaches have been packed.”
“And these aren’t people that are just in Florida. These are people who are traveling to Florida spreading disease and traveling back to wherever they came from, and these people aren’t taking it seriously,” she added.
While DeSantis formally issued a stay at home order on Wednesday, he had already taken aggressive action against travelers from coronavirus hotspots. Those actions include screenings at major Florida airports, checkpoints on roads along the Florida-Georgia border and Florida-Alabama border, and a mandated 14-day quarantine for individuals from the New York Tri-State area and Louisiana.
Ocasio-Cortez recently said that there “should be shame for what was fought for” in the recently passed and signed bipartisan emergency relief bill. Last week, she specifically expressed outrage that the cash payment portion of the measure did not extend to non-citizens.