The coronavirus pandemic caught much of the world by surprise with how fast it has been spreading and the strain it is putting on health care systems and economies. President Donald Trump has been slammed for his response to the outbreak, with critics suggesting that he could have done more to combat the virus.
In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania defended the commander in chief against criticism. Per The Hill, speaking with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, Toomey suggested that Trump’s response to the crisis — as well as his messaging — has gotten better with time.
“I mean his message has changed as our understanding of this has changed and sometimes it’s been better than other times,” Toomey said when asked whether the president has “gotten in the way” of his own administration’s response to the pandemic, deepening the crisis.
“I think more recently, it’s generally been better.”
According to Toomey, Trump has stepped back “in many ways,” allowing the expert task force to lead the coronavirus effort. However, the Republican senator argued, the administration is dealing with an unprecedented situation.
“Well, you know, Chuck I think many of us have, have struggled to understand this and think about this. It’s completely unprecedented,” he said.
Toomey also argued that Trump and his team did a good job in assembling the coronavirus task force, praising Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. According to the senator, Fauci “has done a fantastic job helping people to understand what’s happening here.”
“I also think many other folks in the administration have been absolutely terrific from Seema Verma to Alex Azar and others,” he added, noting that he believes the entire administration is “responding well” to the pandemic.
TODAY: Republican @SenToomey describes the three categories of the coronavirus relief bill, awaiting procedural vote this afternoon. #MTP #IfItsSunday— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 22, 2020
Sen. Pat Toomey: "It will be very hard, I think, to vote against it." pic.twitter.com/lLMVs2SnU0
Democratic politicians and prominent media figures have argued that Trump’s federal government has not been able to deal with the pandemic. For instance, during a segment of his MSNBC show on Friday, anchor Chris Hayes said that the United States is not only facing a public health crisis and an economic meltdown, but also a “leadership crisis.”
Similarly, on Saturday, Dr. Joseph Fair argued that Trump is endangering lives by spreading false and misleading information about the virus. According to the medical expert, the president’s press briefings have done more harm than good, given that he has continued to mislead his followers and downplay the crisis.
Former Vice President Joe Biden — who is all but certain to win the Democratic presidential nomination — said earlier this week that Trump is “all over the map” and unable to deal with the pandemic.