Schumer: Trump coronavirus response marked by 'towering and dangerous incompetence'

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Trump backs plan to give airlines another billion in aid MORE (D-N.Y.) publicly fumed on Tuesday over the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus. 

Schumer, speaking from the Senate floor, said the administration’s handling of the virus has been marked by “towering and dangerous incompetence.”

“Here in the United States, the Trump administration has been caught flat-footed. The administration has no plan to deal with the coronavirus, no plan and seemingly no urgency to develop one,” Schumer said. 

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Schumer’s comments come after the administration provided a closed-door briefing on the virus to all senators on Tuesday morning. 

The Department of Homeland Security is requesting $2.5 billion. That would be divided between the $1.25 billion in new funding, with the rest to be taken from existing health programs, including $535 million from fighting Ebola. 

Democrats have lashed out at the decision to shift money from the Ebola account, with Schumer accusing the administration of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

“The Trump administration is scrambling to respond. We have a crisis, and the Trump administration is trying to build an airplane while already in mid-flight,” Schumer added. 

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire MORE (D-Conn.) also appeared frustrated after the briefing, saying the administration’s response to the virus is “frightening” and “will cost lives.”

“Many of us were calling for major emergency funding weeks ago and Trump ignored us. Now it’s likely too little and too late,” he added in a tweet.