WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, on Friday, released the following statement on President Trump and the First Lady’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis:
“Today, my thoughts are with President Trump, the First Lady, and any other White House staff who have been infected, and I wish them a quick recovery from this insidious, deadly virus.
“The president's positive test is a reminder of the consequences of failing to adhere to public health guidelines. We won't know the exact method by which the president contracted the virus until a full, transparent contact trace is done, but it has been crystal clear for months that Trump, his family, and his staff have been deliberately ignoring CDC advice, putting themselves and anyone they come into contact with at great risk. Trump's rally in Tulsa, where virtually no one was wearing a mask and attendees were prohibited from social distancing, led to an outbreak of the virus in that city, and former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who attended the rally, contracted the virus shortly thereafter and died.
“There is a real risk that the White House is now a superspreading site, risking the health of anyone who works at or visits the building. In the Senate, Leader McConnell needs to require immediate tests of every Senator and staff member who has visited the White House over the last two weeks. A large group of Senators were with the president last weekend, when he could have been able to transmit the virus, and this could pose a major threat to the safety of the Capitol complex. Furthermore, Senator McConnell needs to finally move forward with a mandatory mask policy in the Capitol complex and implementation of a regular testing program for all Senators and all Senate staff, including the Capitol police and cleaning, postal, and food service staff. Failing to do so puts thousands of people at risk as senators continue to conduct business, take meetings, and travel back and forth to their home states. The White House may not be taking this public health threat seriously, but we at least have the responsibility to safeguard the health and safety of the legislative branch of government and the people we interact with. No business should move forward in the Senate until we implement these protocols and have a full understanding of the scope of the White House spread.
"The president's diagnosis, and his failure to protect the nation from the pandemic, present a serious national security vulnerability that our adversaries may attempt to exploit. Thus, the United States must monitor threats closely and remain incredibly vigilant in the coming days. America can beat this virus, but only if we all engage in the behaviors that have proven to be effective at stopping transmission. The president has waged a nonstop war on mask wearing and social distancing, which has been the largest contributing factor to the failure of our nation to overcome this pandemic. Until we have a vaccine, and as long as President Trump continues to thumb his nose at public health precautions, America cannot beat COVID-19. But just because he won't set an example doesn't mean that the rest of us can't.”