Romney, Democrats claim Trump administration unprepared to handle coronavirus outbreak

(USA Features) Sen. Mitt Romney, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, said Tuesday his administration was unprepared to handle an outbreak of coronavirus in the U.S.

Romney, a Utah Republican, said he confronted administration officials during a private briefing of senators on Capitol Hill Tuesday around the same time President Trump downplayed concerns about the virus. Trump, in New Delhi wrapping up a summit with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said the situation is “under control” and that it’s a “problem that’s going to go away.”

Amember of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Romney said said he does not think the administration has done enough to prepare for the infectious virus spreading widely among the domestic population, The Hill .

“I’m very disappointed in the degree to which we’ve prepared for a pandemic, both in terms of protective equipment and in terms of medical devices that would help people once they are infected,” he said.

“At this stage, I think we are substantially underinvesting in what would be appropriate for a setting which could be serious,” he added.

Romney said he hopes a dire scenario can be avoided but added “we don’t know what the future holds.”

“I think we should be pulling out all the stops,” he said.

So far 57 cases have been reported in the U.S., most of whom contracted the disease abroad and were then repatriated, The Hill noted.

Democrats have also criticized the president and his administration.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said after the briefing the administration’s handling of the virus has been marked by “towering and dangerous incompetence.”

“Here in the United States, the Trump administration has been caught flat-footed. The administration has no plan to deal with the coronavirus, no plan and seemingly no urgency to develop one,” Schumer said.

“The Trump administration is scrambling to respond. We have a crisis, and the Trump administration is trying to build an airplane while already in mid-flight,” Schumer added.

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