I have had the honor to serve as Vice President and oversee some difficult projects that President Obama entrusted to me, including implementing the $800 billion Recovery Act. I know how difficult it can be to muster a whole-of-government effort. But while Vice President Pence’s visit today to a GE facility manufacturing ventilators is meant to signal victory, the truth is that the slow and erratic response we have seen from this Administration is anything but.
The Trump Administration is currently responsible for one of the most significant failures of governance of any administration in modern history. It failed to heed warnings and adequately prepare our nation. It has failed to sufficiently ramp up the production of critical equipment, like ventilators, masks, and other personal protective equipment through the Defense Production Act (DPA). It has not only left governors on their own to scramble for supplies, it has actively stood in the way of some of those efforts. And the Trump Administration has failed to surge COVID-19 tests nationally, which public health officials say is necessary to safely reopen our country. That is why we need Congress to establish a Pandemic Testing Board to do what President Trump and Vice President Pence cannot: lead.
The Trump Administration routinely takes steps too late and by half measure. President Trump is now, belatedly, saying he will invoke the DPA to produce more testing swabs. We have seen that what Trump says bears little resemblance to what he does. For weeks, I have urged President Trump to adopt the policies in my COVID-19 plans and statements, including the recommendation to implement the DPA for urgently needed lab supplies like swabs. He must follow through this time. The American people are depending on it.
American lives are on the line. Every day matters. This attempt to use Wisconsin as the backdrop to a political photo opportunity comes as the state is suffering a devastating loss of life to COVID-19, particularly in the African American community, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin workers have filed for unemployment in recent weeks, and Republicans drive dangerous efforts to prematurely end social distancing efforts. The Trump Administration is hoping that Wisconsinites have a short memory.