Cuomo, Whitmer call for Congress to investigate Trump’s response to COVID crisis

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Two Democratic governors are calling for Congress to investigate the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, which they allege was politicized and impeded the U.S. response.

Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, both of whom have been criticized for their own responses to the crisis, allege that the U.S. has “the worst response to the COVID-19 virus of any nation in the world” and that it is “a direct result of President Trump and the federal government’s deceit, political self-dealing and incompetence.”

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“Rather than turning to the advice and direction of public health experts and career public servants, President Trump instead put the health and security of the American people in the hands of political appointees whose first priority was securing the reelection of their benefactor, with predictably tragic results,” they said in a statement.

The U.S. has hit an estimated 200,000 deaths this week. More than 30,000 of those come from New York and more than 7,000 from Michigan.

The governors point specifically to reports last week that the White House blocked a plan in April to have the Postal Service distribute masks to every household in the country, and that Health and Human Services overruled the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) scientists and published what the governors call “indefensible” guidance that asymptomatic people did not have to get tested.

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“Congress must immediately conduct an oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s response to this pandemic, including the actions at HHS and the USPS the public learned about over the past week,” Cuomo and Whitmer said.

But those governors themselves have faced challenges and criticism of their response to the virus, on issues including lockdowns and also the handling of nursing homes in the early days of the crisis.

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last month that it is requesting data from governors of a number of states — including Michigan and New York — that implemented coronavirus policies that may have resulted in deaths of the elderly at nursing homes.

The DOJ specifically cited New York’s March 25 order: “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

Cuomo and Whitmer issued a joint response, calling the Justice Department politicized.

Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.

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