Bernie Sanders Slams Trump Administration For Lack Of Science-Based Reopening Plan, ’50 States Going It Alone’

Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign event.
Scott Eisen / Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is taking aim at the Trump administration for not having a national approach to allowing states to reopen, saying instead it has “50 states going it alone” to decide how to begin lifting restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Appearing on ABC News’ This Week, the Vermont senator slammed Donald Trump for not having a science-based approach on how to reopen state economies that have been heavily restricted for weeks since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. The White House released guidelines for states but has not enforced them, and Trump has at times spoken in contradiction to these guidelines, calling for states to reopen more quickly.

When asked about Trump’s claims that former President Barack Obama was engaged in an undisclosed scandal that included criminal activity that the president dubbed “Obamagate,” Sanders said the real scandal was in the current White House and its lack of a plan to reopen the economy.

“The scandal of the moment is that we don’t have national policy,” Sanders said. “We should have national policy based on science. We should have testing going on all over this country so that when we reopen the economy, workers understand that they’re working in a safe environment.”

“Instead, you got 50 states going it alone because we don’t have that national protocol based on science.”

Sanders is not the only one who has criticized the White House for what is seen as a lack of a coherent national plan to start lifting coronavirus restrictions. States have taken differing approaches, with some keeping restrictions in place through at least early summer and others moving forward with lifting restrictions and allowing businesses to reopen — even as coronavirus cases continue to rise there.

In Wisconsin, where this week the state Supreme Court struck down the governor’s stay-at-home order, the state just saw its single largest one-day increase in cases. Texas, which began its own phased-in approach at the start of May by letting some businesses reopen, also saw its highest one-day death total this week.

In his interview, Sanders also expressed support for the $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package passed late on Friday by the House. While Sanders said he had “some disagreements” with the legislation as passed, he credited House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for ushering it through and said he would like to see the Senate improve on it before it is passed.

Sanders said that working Americans are in need of help during the crisis, noting that 35 million have lost their jobs since the start of the outbreak.