Schumer Floor Remarks Laying Out How President Trump’s “It Is What It Is” Approach To The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Responsible For Republicans’ Refusal To Reach A Bipartisan Agreement On COVID

August 10, 2020

Washington, D.C.—Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding President Trump’s comments in an Axios interview last week that “it is what it is” that 1,000 Americans are dying a day from coronavirus, explaining that this attitude extends to Senate Republicans and that this failure to grasp the scale of the coronavirus economic and public health crises has driven their refusal to support the serious, bipartisan action needed to confront the pandemic. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Now before I yield the floor, I want to take a step back and talk about the core problem in our negotiations over the past several weeks: President Trump and the Republican Party are not alive to the suffering of the American people.

The response from the White House to the greatest domestic challenge of the 21st Century can be summed up in five words, issued by President Trump in an interview last week: “It is what it is.”

President Trump was challenged to defend his claim that COVID-19 is “under control.”

“How?”—he was asked—“A thousand Americans are dying a day.”

President Trump said: “it is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

That’s how the president of the United States of America responds to the harrowing fact that more than a thousand Americans are dying every single day from a virus his administration has failed to contain. Not a morsel of empathy. Not an ounce of sorrow. Not a shred of remorse for the many mistakes his administration has made. The president says: “It is what it is.”

What a shocking admission of presidential failure. We live in the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. And yet countries around the world managed to test their citizens, isolate cases, stop the spread of the disease. Countries with bigger populations than ours and countries with a mere fraction of our resources and knowhow. President Trump’s response to this crisis is a national and an international embarrassment. The president says: “it is what it is.”

President Trump is not the only one who dismisses the gravity of COVID-19. The lack of empathy and understanding starts at the top, but it goes all the way down. The president’s Chief of Staff said that COVID-19 isn’t such a big deal for schoolchildren compared to the flu. Leader McConnell put the Senate on ice for four months, in the middle of a global pandemic, because his party didn’t “feel the urgency of acting”—his words. And now, by the Leader’s own admission, more than a third of the Senate Republican caucus doesn’t want to vote for anything—anything—to help the American people.

The economy is failing.

Small businesses are closing.

State and local governments are cutting essential services.

Americans can’t pay the rent and will be thrown out of their homes.

Families can’t afford to feed their children.

Essential workers don’t have PPE.

We’re sending our kids back to school without a plan.

The number of Americans we’re testing is going down.

The disease is ravaging our nursing homes.

And Americans are dying—so many, in so short a time—that funeral homes and morgues are storing the dead in refrigerated 18-wheelers.

And yet the president says: “It is what it is.”

The president, his aides, his party in Congress are not even awake to what’s happening in our country. That is the reason why Senate Republicans delayed for four long months, and that is the reason why we’ve been unable to find agreement with the White House.