Schumer Floor Remarks Condemning President Trump’s Disgraceful Remarks That The Lives Lost To Coronavirus In Blue States Do Not Count

September 17, 2020

Washington, D.C.— Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor condemning President Trump’s comments that lives lost to coronavirus in “blue states” do not count. Senator Schumer also reflected on President Trump’s failure to lead in the midst of this historic crisis despite promising the American people “I alone can fix it.” Below are his remarks which can also be viewed here:

This morning, I was planning to address a number of topics...but the President held a press conference yesterday afternoon that was so callous, so uninformed, so egomaniacal, so divisive that I am compelled to respond to it this morning.

We are in the middle of a global pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans, far more than the number of Americans who died in World War I. More than any other nation on God’s green earth. More than countries with larger populations and more than countries with mere fractions of our wealth and power.

And here’s how the President spoke about the number of American deaths yesterday at his press conference: “If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at.…[If you take the blue states out] we’re really at a very low level.”

Yes, Mr. President, if you don’t count the total number of Americans who have died, you might think it’s not so bad. If you close your eyes and pretend that half of the country doesn’t exist, maybe some might think you didn’t do such a spectacularly awful job.

What kind of president looks at the number of dead citizens in the country he is supposed to lead—and in attempt to glamorize himself—dismisses every American who died in a state that didn’t support him politically?

What a disgrace. It’s monstrous. Not a shred of empathy. Not an ounce of sorrow. What kind of president do we have?

The president just wants you to see a graph about how his catastrophic failure to fight COVID-19 could’ve been worse.

I suggest President Trump spend some time reading the stories of the men and women across the country who have passed away from this terrible virus. This isn’t about a number—oh no. It’s about the people that families and communities have lost, whether they be in red states or blue states. Many of these families have been unable to hold funeral services to properly mourn their loved ones for fear of spreading COVID to another member of their family. 

That’s why these remarks by the president are so horrific. What does the outcome of an election have to do with determining if these lives should be counted? Isn’t that awful. Why does the outcome of an election determine if these lives should be counted? 

Does he mean the loss of Americans who lived in states with Democratic governors shouldn’t count? If that’s the case, President Trump is saying that the deaths of David Pittman of Somerset, KY, and Patrick Manamy in Ypsilanti, MI and Virgil Sutton of Dallas, NC don’t count. Don’t count.

How about Ralph Davis, the high school basketball coach in Milwaukee, WI? Did his life not count because he lived in a state with a Democratic Governor?

What kind of demented person would say that those American lives didn't count?

The President also said:  “But some of those states, they were blue states and blue state-managed.

I suppose that means that the life of Dennis Wilson shouldn’t count, because he was an educator in Lenexa, Kansas. If only Mr. Wilson had lived seventeen miles east in the Hickman Mills neighborhood of Kansas City, MO. Maybe the President would think his life should’ve counted.

How about Captain Doug Hickok? If he lived, I don’t know, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, I suppose the President  might have valued his life. Unfortunately for Captain Hickok , he lived  1700 miles East, in Bangor, Pennsylvania…so President Trump says his life isn't worth counting.

Maybe I’m giving the President too much credit. You never really know what the heck he means when he talks so it’s possible that his definition of blue states isn’t limited to states with Democratic governors. Maybe his definition of blue states includes states with more Democrats than Republicans in their Congressional delegations. 

That would mean  Valentina Blackhorse’s life  didn’t count because she lived in Kayenta, AZ, nor would the life of the Des Moines toddler who died from COVID in June.

What kind of demented person would make that calculation?

President Trump, that’s who. 

Of course, there is no bottom with President Trump. He is so contemptuous of every virtue, so dishonorable, so dishonest, that the vices parade themselves forward, one after another.

At the press conference, after his disgusting comments about ignoring American lives from blue states, President Trump lied, once again, about his support for Americans with pre-existing conditions. A lie he has told and retold while his Administration is in court suing to eliminate those very protections.

Don’t worry, though, President Trump promised a brand new, fantastic Republican health care plan is just around the corner—you’ll see it in two weeks! Just like he told Fox News in July, when he said he’d “sign a health care plan in two weeks, a full and complete health-care plan.” And again in August: just two weeks away.

Just like his infrastructure bill, a new middle class tax cut, lower prescription drug costs, a new stimulus package, a report on COVID-19’s impact on minorities, and new COVID tests—all of which the President said would be “two weeks” away, but in fact, never materialized, not in two weeks, not ever. 

He must think the American people are chumps, that he can say anything he wants with no accountability, not do it, and then do it again and again and again.

For centuries, American presidents have faced challenges with honor, with courage. They have stepped up to the podium and used their bully pulpit to give honor to American lives. But when this president, President Trump, stands at that great podium, he reveals his cowardice, his callousness, his selfishness, his ignorance and, most of all, his insistence on dividing us. 

His inability and unwillingness to unite a grieving nation will be his legacy.

When Donald Trump took the stage at the 2016 Republican National Convention, he painted a false portrait of a country in crisis and declared “I ALONE CAN FIX IT.”

Four years later, the country faces actual crises—the greatest economic crisis in 75 years, the greatest public health crisis in a century. And President Trump now says “it is what it is.”

Could you have done more to stop it? “I don’t think so!” he says.

“If you take the blue states out, we’re really at a very low level.”

“I don’t take any responsibility at all.”

“It’s going to disappear.”

“A lot of people think the masks are no good.”

“When it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

“Then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. Is there a way we can do something like that by injection? I’m not a doctor, but I’m like, a person that has a good you-know-what.”

This man, who said all these ridiculous, harmful things, is leading the country through the worst public health crisis in a century.

Americans don’t have to ask themselves, as Reagan once asked, if they are better off now than four years ago.

President Trump has told everyone exactly what the score is.

When Donald Trump said he was running for office, he said “I alone can fix it.”

When President Trump is running the country during the worst pandemic in century, he says “it is what it is.”

Five words. Both times. Five words. Five words that sum up an approach to government and leadership that is completely antithetical to everything those words truly mean.

Promise big, deliver zero: that’s President Trump’s view of government.

Boast when you don’t have any responsibility, shrink from it when you do: that’s President Trump’s view of leadership.

It has diminished our institutions and our democracy. He has cost our country its moral standing in the world. He has threatened the future of our planet and he has cost Americans their health care, their jobs, and their lives.

But it’s not so bad if you don’t count the numbers.

I yield the floor. I note the absence of a quorum.