Omar accuses Trump of ‘dangerous criminal neglect’ on COVID-19 response

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) this week accused President Trump and administration officials of “dangerous criminal neglect” over their response to the coronavirus outbreak, asserting they deserved blame for the death of her father and more than 300,000 other people in the U.S. who have died from COVID-19.

Omar, a vocal critic of Trump, appeared on MSNBC on Thursday and reflected on the June death of her father from coronavirus complications, putting blame directly on the president for his handling of the pandemic. She said that officials should “investigate and prosecute the people responsible.”

“My dad was in Kenya. He came back into the United States when COVID hit because he thought he was going to be safer here,” Omar began. “And I know that my father and over 300,000 people have lost their lives to COVID because of dangerous criminal neglect by Trump and his administration.” 

The Democratic congresswoman went on to say she agrees with House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) that “it is not enough just for us to issue subpoenas.”

“We have to investigate and prosecute these people who are responsible for these reckless deaths,” Omar added. 

Clyburn on Thursday told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic may require a commission similar to the one that investigated the lead-up to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“My father should be here today,” Omar continued Thursday. “So many of our family members should be here today, and they’re not here with us because we had leaders who didn’t care about their lives.” 

“It does not make sense that this is a reality in this country,” she continued. “This could have been avoided. It can be avoided. There are people who are responsible, and we cannot forget about that when the next administration is sworn in and they are in charge of what happens next.” 

On Wednesday, Clyburn, who currently serves as the chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, released a memo citing newly obtained emails showing that the Trump administration pushed for a herd immunity strategy to respond to COVID-19. 

Paul Alexander, at the time a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official, referred to younger people and lower-risk people in a July 4 email and wrote, “We want them infected.”

A wide range of health experts have denounced the herd immunity strategy, citing that it leads to unnecessary deaths. The White House has previously denied it was pursuing such a strategy.

An HHS spokesperson responded to Alexander’s emails Wednesday, saying they “absolutely did not shape department strategy.” 

“Dr. Paul Alexander previously served as a temporary Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and is no longer employed at the Department,” the spokesperson added. 

This comes as the country faces a rapid surge in coronavirus infections, with more 17.4 million total cases and more than 313,000 fatalities as of Saturday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Tags Chuck Todd coronavirus covid-19 coronavirus deaths coronavirus infections Donald Trump House House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Ilhan Omar James Clyburn Johns Hopkins MSNBC Trump Administration

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