October 05, 2020

After Trump’s Hospitalization, Duckworth Tells GOP Colleagues: Your Actions Now Can Set an Example and Save Lives


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today issued the following statement urging her Republican colleagues to do more to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, stop denying the reality and seize this difficult moment to set an example for the American people:

“From day one, Trump and too many of my Republican colleagues’ focus has been politicizing this pandemic rather than protecting Americans from it. Trump lied that it would magically disappear even as he was privately saying he knew how dangerous it would be. But Congressional Republicans fell in line anyway, even as some of their own fell ill.

“In recent months, I’ve watched in disbelief as my Republican colleagues have irresponsibly ignored the science and actively undermined efforts to protect our people from COVID-19. As Donald Trump held numerous in-person rallies with thousands of maskless supporters in close proximity. As he held an unnecessarily in-person political convention and then, last weekend, as he hosted what now appears to have been a super-spreader event simply to further their desperate power-grab for a Supreme Court seat that could put millions of Americans’ healthcare at risk.

“Late this week, my disbelief turned to sadness as senior White House officials, several of my Senate colleagues and the President of the United States were stricken by this devastating disease. As the fear that more than 7.3 million Americans have faced in recent months suddenly became all-to-real for Republicans who have spent much of this year denying.

“And this weekend, my sadness turned to outrage as it became clear that even this appears unlikely to change Republicans’ irresponsible behavior. They are plowing ahead with hearings despite several of our colleagues testing positive. Officials who know they may have been exposed to COVID are refusing to quarantine or even get a test. And they are still refusing to come back to the negotiating table so that we can provide relief to the millions of Americans who don’t get the benefit of the world class, taxpayer-funded healthcare that the President is currently receiving at Walter Reed.

“Because of their negligence, more Americans will die. Some of their own colleagues may die. And if that weren’t bad enough, our nation is weaker and our national security is at risk with the Commander in Chief in the hospital and several Senators as well as senior administration officials—the very people who should be leading our nation through this crisis—having fallen ill.

“This was all completely preventable. Scientists have told us exactly how to prevent this type of outbreak. Wear a damn mask, especially indoors and when you can’t keep adequate distance from others. And, for the love of God, if you know you’re COVID positive or if you know you’ve been exposed to someone who is, stay home and don’t risk exposing others to a disease that could kill them. Trump and all of the officials in the Rose Garden last month were well aware of this advice, because it comes from this administration’s own health experts. They just chose to ignore it and in many cases even lie about it, as they have repeatedly and consistently done since the beginning of this pandemic.

“When our country is grappling with a deadly pandemic, how are we supposed to trust the leadership of these officials who show such breathtakingly poor judgement and callous disregard for the lives of others? Good leaders and effective leaders don’t knowingly put their staff, their supporters, their own family and their entire nation at risk. Good leaders tell the truth, even when it’s hard.

“For the future and safety of our fellow citizens I implore my Republican colleagues to join Democrats in taking this seriously. Wear a mask. Social distance. Follow the science, CDC guidance and listen to experts. Your actions now can still set an example—and it may very well save the lives of some of your supporters, colleagues and leaders, too.”