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Democrats call Trump's COVID-19 response 'among the worst failures of leadership in American history'

Democrats call Trump's COVID-19 response 'among the worst failures of leadership in American history'
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House Democrats on the committee overseeing the coronavirus crisis released a report Friday calling the Trump administration’s response “among the worst failures of leadership in American history.”

The report from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis comes four days before Election Day, in a campaign where Democrats have hammered President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE over his response to a virus that has killed more than 228,000 people in the U.S.

“President Trump’s decision to mislead the public about the severity of the crisis, his failure to listen to scientists about how to keep Americans healthy, and his refusal to implement a coordinated national plan to stop the coronavirus have all contributed to devastating results: more than 227,000 Americans dead, more than 8.8 million Americans infected, and a dangerous virus that continues to spread out of control nine months after it reached our nation’s shores,” the report said.

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The report pointed to the administration’s failure to “implement a national plan on testing, contact tracing, public health measures, and protective equipment,” instead shifting much responsibility to the states that were competing with each other for testing supplies and protective equipment early on in the pandemic.

The White House’s own findings that it sent to states, but did not release to the public, have shown the number of “red zone” states increasing from seven on June 23 to 31 on Oct. 18, the committee found, in contrast to Trump’s continued public downplaying of the severity of the virus.

The committee report also highlighted instances of the administration having “injected politics into public health decisions,” such as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August that said asymptomatic people do not need to be tested, which eventually was walked back somewhat amid a firestorm.

On the economic side, the committee said 9 million Americans were still waiting as of September to receive their $1,200 checks that Congress authorized in the CARES Act more than six months earlier.

Republicans dismissed the report as political posturing ahead of the elections.

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"Democrats' latest partisan report issued just days before the election underscores how they've used the Select Subcommittee to attack President Trump and politicize the pandemic to the detriment of the American people,” said House GOP Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' New RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future MORE (La.), the top Republican on the panel.

The report comes as the war of words escalates between Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBiden's Treasury pick will have lengthy to-do list on taxes On The Money: Initial jobless claims rise for 2nd week | Dow dips below 30K | Mnuchin draws fire for COVID-19 relief move | Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges Mnuchin to put 5B in COVID-19 relief funds beyond successor's reach MORE, who have been in talks about a coronavirus relief package.

The two sent dueling letters to each other this week, with Pelosi saying she has not received a “final answer” on her push for language on a national strategy for testing and tracing and Mnuchin responding that he had provided comments to Pelosi.

House Democratic Whip James Clyburn (S.C.), the chairman of the committee that authored Friday's report, said the administration had essentially thrown in the towel on the pandemic.

He pointed to White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump administration revives talk of action on birthright citizenship MORE’s recent comments that “we’re not going to control the pandemic.”

“It is unconscionable that the White House chief of staff has essentially surrendered,” Clyburn said.