Mayor de Blasio says the president should activate Defense Production Act for supplies and mobilize the military to help fight coronavirus pandemic.
By Ben Kamisar
WASHINGTON — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sharply criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic Sunday, arguing that the federal government has not done enough to ramp up production of life-saving medical supplies like masks and ventilators and asking the president to deploy the military across the country to help with the public-health crisis.
“The president of the United States is from New York City and he will not lift a finger to help his hometown and I don’t get it. I don’t get it. Right now, I have asked repeatedly for the military to be mobilized, for the Defense Production Act to be used to its fullest to get us things like ventilators, so people can live who would die otherwise,” de Blasio said Sunday on a special edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“If the president doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise — senior citizens, folks who are members of families.”
De Blasio said the president should order all military personnel with medical training to deploy to hot-spots in America and to help the country ferry ventilators to those hot spots.
“Why are they at their bases? Why are they not being allowed to serve? I guarantee you they are ready to serve, but the president has to give the order,” he said.
The comments sparked a back-and-forth with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who said that looking backward is not productive.
“I don’t think just talking about what was done wrong yesterday or last week or last year is really that helpful in the discussion,” Hogan said.
“We are getting some progress. Now, it’s not nearly enough, it’s not fast enough, we’re way behind the curve,” he said, adding that the unified effort is making progress on respirators, masks and tests.
“It’s not a perfect situation, but we are trying to ramp up, order things on the open market, get some things produced here. It’s going to take the federal, state and local governments all stepping up and doing whatever it takes regardless of who is supposed to do what,” he added.
De Blasio countered that “it’s not about blaming people for what happened in the past,” but said he’s trying to sound the alarm on ways he feels the response has been inadequate.