19 Groups Demand Trump, Pence Relinquish Control of Federal Coronavirus Response to Public Health and Medical Experts

'Your Callous Disregard for Human Life is Appalling and Must Cease’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence must give up any role in leading or communicating about the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic due to their deadly and failed leadership, 19 consumer advocacy, public health, civil society and other groups said today in a letter to the administration.

The letter highlighted the White House’s incompetent response to and mismanagement of the crisis, including failing to secure and coordinate a sufficient testing and contact tracing program and encouraging states to ignore the administration’s own guidelines for safely reopening the economy and relaxing stay-at-home restrictions, among many other inexcusable actions.

The groups, including Public Citizen, Coalition on Human Needs, Center for Study of Responsive Law, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women’s Health Network and Social Security Works demanded Trump and Pence step aside and hand authority of the federal response to the pandemic to public health and medical experts within the agencies of the U.S. Public Health Service.

“Under your failed leadership, the White House’s response to the pandemic has been inept and incoherent in nearly every respect,” the letter said. “Your callous disregard for human life during the still-raging coronavirus pandemic is appalling and must cease.”

The groups also noted that Trump and Pence’s “words and deeds have encouraged millions of Americans to flout the guidelines on social distancing, avoidance of large indoor gatherings, and wearing face masks – key proven public health measures for containing the pandemic and saving lives until a vaccine or breakthrough treatment is developed and widely available.”