Ocasio-Cortez slams Trump for ending coronavirus relief talks: ‘Second wave could be catastrophic’

Greg Nash

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) lashed out at President Trump after he instructed his top aides to stop negotiating with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on future COVID-19 stimulus legislation until after the November election. 

“We’re already starting to see warning signs of the severe economic and health fallout that is to come. We are on the brink of an eviction crisis, a mass eviction crisis, here in our district, but also across the country, 30 to 40 million people are at risk of being evicted because the president has decided to walk away from every working person in this country,” Ocasio-Cortez told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday evening. 

A report published earlier this year by the Aspen Institute warned that an estimated 30 million to 40 million people are at risk of being evicted. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month issued an order banning landlords from evicting tenants who can no longer afford to pay rent due to a pandemic-related hardship or expense through the end of 2020, though it’s unclear how the order will be enforced.

Ocasio-Cortez said that now-stymied negotiations had been expected to include a slate of other policy priorities under the umbrella of COVID-19 relief for U.S. residents, including additional stimulus checks, unemployment payments and more.

The New York lawmaker also warned that the fall could bring a second spike in COVID-19 cases across the country. 

“What we are seeing here in New York City — which is a city that has some of the strictest COVID guidelines and some of the highest rates of mask-wearing adherence in the country — we are still starting to experience areas where there’s a second spike. Nine ZIP codes in New York City are at risk of being shut down totally or partially due to a secondary fall wave,” Ocasio-Cortez said. 

“If the president and the GOP follow through with walking away from COVID relief, we are staring down the barrel at one of the largest mass eviction crises in the history of this country since the Great Depression. That’s what we’re looking at. We’re looking at a potential second wave that could be catastrophic. We are looking at the potential of hunger in the United States exploding on a level that we have never seen since the Great Depression,” she continued. 

The freshman lawmaker also hit Trump over his repeated claims that a coronavirus vaccine could be available to at least part of the public by Election Day, despite some health officials saying that timeline is not realistic. 

“We need to make sure we are funding large-scale testing and tracing programs, and we need to make sure that we’re really developing a vaccine responsibly and not pushing one out for the sake of an election,” Ocasio-Cortez said. 

After earlier in the day calling off bipartisan talks on the next round of coronavirus aid legislation, Trump late Tuesday signaled that he would support specific COVID-19 relief measures, including stimulus checks, aid for the airline industry, small business loans and more.

“The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support, & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program for Small Business. Both of these will be fully paid for with unused funds from the Cares Act. Have this money. I will sign now!” Trump tweeted Tuesday, citing the coronavirus stimulus package passed in March. 

Both provisions were part of the stimulus negotiations being held between the administration and top congressional Democrats.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Coronavirus coronavirus relief coronavirus stimulus COVID-19 Donald Trump MSNBC Nancy Pelosi New York New York Rachel Maddow

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