In a scathing statement, Rep. Maxine Waters on Thursday lashed President Donald Trump’s “heartless” inaction against the coronavirus pandemic raging through several states as he instead focuses his energies on protecting statues honoring dead traitors and slaveholders.
“One would hope that the president of the United States would rise to the level of leadership that our country needs in confronting the deadly uptick in coronavirus cases in America,” the California Democrat said. “Instead, we are left with Donald Trump, an incompetent and heartless man who is more focused on saving statues of slaveholders, Confederate generals, and racists than protecting the health of living and breathing Americans.”
Waters’ older sister, Velma Moody, died last month of COVID-19.
Waters issued her harsh attack after the nation tallied its highest number of new cases in a single day since the outbreak. Across the nation, 38,115 new infections were reported by state health departments Wednesday. The previous single-day record of 34,203 was set on April 25.
Texas, where the number of COVID-19 patients has more than doubled in two weeks and hit nearly 6,000 new cases on Thursday, suspended business re-openings in a desperate bid to stem the skyrocketing spread of the virus in the state. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) also said Thursday that his state will not be moving to its next re-opening stage, as new cases there soared to a record 5,500 on Wednesday.
“The United States remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 2.4 million cases” and a death toll surpassing 120,000, Waters noted. “My home state of California [as well as] Arizona, Texas, and Florida have seen their coronavirus cases skyrocket in the past two weeks.”
As the danger rages, Trump’s “negligence and lack of care for the American people is contemptible,” Waters said.
The White House did not respond to a request from HuffPost for comment.
Trump said earlier this week that he would soon issue an executive order aimed at protecting public statues and monuments from being pulled down or vandalized. He said he hoped to impose jail time of up to 10 years for damage to statues and monuments on federal property.
The push for removal from public spaces of statues honoring various Confederate political and military leaders has intensified as part of the widespread demonstrations against racial injustice sparked by the police killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. In a few cases, protests have included the toppling of various statues.
Trump and Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, have a history of trading barbs and insults.
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
- Stay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemic
- What you need to know about face masks right now
- How long are asymptomatic carriers contagious?
- Lost your job due to coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know.
- How to switch off from work when home is your office
- 8 sleep tips if coronavirus anxiety is keeping you up at night
- How long does coronavirus live in the air?
- The HuffPost guide to working from home
- What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.
- Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today