Schumer: Trump thinks coronavirus crisis 'revolves around him'

Schumer: Trump thinks coronavirus crisis 'revolves around him'
© Bonnie Cash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCruz blocks amended resolution honoring Ginsburg over language about her dying wish Senate Democrats introduce legislation to probe politicization of pandemic response Schumer interrupted during live briefing by heckler: 'Stop lying to the people' MORE (D-N.Y.) knocked President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE's efforts amid the coronavirus crisis late Tuesday, asserting the president is focused on daily fights with his perceived political enemies instead of resolving key issues like ramping up testing.

Asked about a Washington Post report that some coronavirus checks will be delayed because the Treasury Department ordered that Trump's name be added to them, Schumer said during an appearance on MSNBC that he wished "it were the only ego trip" by the president.

"I wish it were the only ego trip. It seems almost every day the president thinks this crisis resolves around him, and his desires, his needs, his enemies," Schumer told MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowMichael Cohen: Trump hates Obama because he's everything he 'wants to be' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump floats 0M+ in personal spending for reelection bid Feehery: Unconventionally debunking the latest political conventional wisdom MORE.

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Schumer pointed to Trump's attacks on the World Health Organization (WHO) hours after the president announced he would pause funding for the global body pending a review over what Trump described as its mismanagement of the coronavirus outbreak.

"How is it going to make the country better by going after the WHO one day, or the press one day, or the governors one day or Pelosi one day or me one day. That seems to [be] where his energy is," Schumer said. 

In addition to criticizing the WHO, Trump used Monday's White House press briefing to lash out at critics of his coronavirus response and air his grievances with press coverage of his administration.

Schumer, who has had a rocky public relationship with Trump since he entered office, pointed to the president's public feuds with various perceived antagonists and contrasted them with a spotty effort within the United States to test for the coronavirus.

Public health officials consider widespread testing to be crucial for lifting some of the social distancing restrictions imposed to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Association of American Medical Colleges also sent a letter to White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx saying that its member labs are trying to increase capacity but are hamstrung by the lack of testing supplies.

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"Everyone knows if we want to get out of this crisis, we need a nationwide testing regime. Everyone knows if we want to avoid going back into a crisis some months later we need this. And yet the plans at the White House are almost nonexistent, they're helter skelter," Schumer said. 

"Instead of calling names, or deciding who signs the check, the president ought to be rolling up his sleeves and helping solve the problem. It seems too much of what he says, does and thinks about is about himself," he added. 

Schumer has called for Trump to appoint a "czar" to oversee the production and distribution of medical supplies. Schumer noted that the official could help scale up widespread testing across the country. 

A draft plan from the Trump administration on how to reopen impacted parts of the U.S. economy calls for “aggressive manufacturing distribution, and use of testing” through May 15.