Farewell, Yuma! By March 31, the American death toll from COVID-19 was greater than the 3,460 population of Yuma, Colorado, hometown of Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.
Farewell, Red Oak!
Just two days later, by April 2, the American death toll from COVID-19 exceeded the 5,333 population of Red Oak, Iowa, hometown of Republican Sen. Joni Ernst.
In just another 15 days, by April 17, the COVID-19 death toll surpassed the 31,997 population of Bangor, Maine, where Republican Senator Susan Collins calls home.
By April 27, America had lost the 50,143 population equivalent of Bozeman, Montana, where Republican Sen. Steve Daines lives.
By April 30, Americans were grieving the loss of more lives from COVID-19 than the 57,098 population equivalent of Huntersville, North Carolina, the Charlotte suburb where Republican Sen. Thom Tillis lives.
As I write this, the American death toll from covid-19 is approaching the big-city level of 100,000.
In November, Sen.s Gardner, Ernest, Collins, Daines and Tillis, along with many other Senators, are running for reelection and they want to impress voters with their record of accomplishments in office.
As a Republican former Member of Congress, I defended my record in each election. And it pains me to see today’s Republicans abandoning their sworn duty to act in the public interest.
Having walked the halls of Congress, and now as a member of Republicans for Integrity, I have questions about actions these Senators took (or failed to take) to prevent America’s soaring death tolls:
Did Republican senators accept President Trump’s unfounded judgment on Jan. 22 that the virus is “totally under control?”
Unfortunately for Americans, yes.
Did senators heed the urgent classified intelligence briefing warning of the looming pandemic provided to all Senators on Jan. 24?
No. They chose to ignore the threat, and some Senators even took the opportunity to use this inside information to profit from large stock trades in pandemic-related companies after the classified briefing.
Did Republican senators share Trump’s claim from Feb. 11 that the virus would “miraculously go away?”
Yes: Republican Senators seemed more concerned in February about supporting Trump’s proposed CDC budget cuts than about preparing for the pandemic. They also watched the Trump Administration prepare its Supreme Court case to kill Affordable Healthcare (“Obamacare”) Act insurance coverage for more than 20 million Americans.
Will these senators conduct hearings about the Trump administration’s stunning failure to heed pandemic warnings that the Obama Administration gave in its final days in office?
Obama Administration officials left detailed pandemic preparation plans and briefed Trump’s team on pandemic scenarios, but Trump’s officials were reportedly uninterested, and one cabinet member dozed off during the briefing.
Will Republican senators support American workers struggling to cope with the stunning economic crash and record unemployment levels?
No. Republican Senators seem to think that a one-time relief check of $1,200 per adult should be sufficient to cover months of rent, health insurance, groceries and other essentials. After all, Republicans want workers to pay for more tax cuts for the rich!
Many epidemiologists predict COVID-19 may become less intense this summer before it surges back this fall with an even deadlier impact.
Will America be prepared for an even deadlier outbreak? This summer could be America’s “window of opportunity” to prepare our citizens.
Please remember, the election is November 3. You must vote!
Whether you choose to vote by mail or in person, be safe.
And ask yourself: “Did Sen. McConnell act in the public interest to protect our country during the pandemic?”
This may be the most important election of our lives.
Peter Smith is a Republican former member of Congress who has also served as state senator and lieutenant governor of Vermont. He is a member of Republicans for Integrity, a group of Republican former Members of the House and Senate who are working to put good governance and our country before partisan politics.