Speaking on Friday night to HBO Real Time host Bill Maher, Sanders suggested that certain key states, whose electoral votes could easily go to either Trump or to the eventual Democratic nominee in November, might be seeing more than their share of federal dollars for coronavirus relief.
“If you think that during a campaign, you’re not going to see a lot of money from the Trump administration going to battleground states Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, you would be grossly underestimating the venality of this president,” Sanders said.
Writing in The Atlantic, Peter Nicholas suggests that there appears to be a connection between the political affiliation of the state’s governor and how Trump responds to their requests for medical supplies. Trump has made it clear that governors who publicly feud with him will have a hard time getting his attention, Nicholas says, pointing to a statement previously made by the president.
“If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said.
Still, that’s not to say that Democratic governors have been completely shunned. California Governor Gavin Newsom, for example, said that the administration has been “responsive” to his requests for help.
Beyond the matter of whether or not Trump is showing favoritism to how he responds to various state governors’ requests, Sanders said that the 45th president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been nothing short of harmful.
“We have a president who has done so much harm in this entire process… His actions or inactions, in not listening to the scientists, spouting off ridiculous ideas, is going to cost the lives of many thousands of America,” he said.
Maher asked Sanders how he would respond to the coronavirus pandemic, specifically the economic hardship it’s creating. Sanders responded that he believes the U.S. should do what Norway, France, and a couple of other European nations have done: guarantee that all workers get 100 percent of their paychecks during the crisis, as well as get healthcare.
He also suggested that the number of unemployed Americans could reach 30 million to 40 million, creating an economic crisis unmatched since the Great Depression.
As an acting Senator, Sanders voted for the recently-passed $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. However, he criticized some aspects of the bill, particularly the fact that it provided $500 billion for major corporations. Sanders suggested that the bill provided the money with little means of accountability for how it’s spent.