California Rep. Ami Bera Gives President Trump C-Minus on Virus Response

April 20, 2020
Everyone, from experts to average voters to even President Trump himself, has graded the federal response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The president's grade for himself is invariably optimistic and self-congratulatory: a 10 out of 10.
Experts have been harsher, with grades ranging from B-minus to D-minus.
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif. 7th District), a doctor himself, added his voice to the chorus of experts on Monday, giving the commander-in-chief a C-minus.
"That might be generous," Bera he told Cheddar.
The main criteria Bera used in making his judgment was the lack of widespread diagnostic testing for the coronavirus, something that experts have routinely pointed to as a necessary component for re-opening large swaths of the economy.
"There's no way we can start to lift the stay at home orders until every community has abundant diagnostic testing," Bera said.
Confusion and mistakes in the federal bureaucracy reportedly delayed the federal testing effort for weeks early on in the outbreak, and while the administration has recently touted the number of tests reaching four million, that still represents just over 1 percent of the U.S. population. 
The White House faces increasing calls from governors for federal help on testing, while the administration insists governors can do more on their own.
"To try to push this off, to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just get to work on testing — somehow we aren't doing our job — is just absolutely false," said Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) on CNN on Sunday. "Every governor in America has been pushing and fighting and clawing to get more tests, not only from the federal government but from every private lab in America and from all across the world, and we continue to do so."
Bera emphasized the importance of deferring to governors when it comes to things like testing.
"I would listen to the governors," he said. "They're closer to what's happening in their states."
Getting into the politics, the congressman also contrasted how the president has responded to the crisis with how he estimates former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, would handle it. Bera endorsed Biden in December.
He predicted that the electorate in November would judge the president harshly for his coronavirus response.
"I think we're going to look at the incumbent, Donald Trump, and recognize that he got us into this mess," Bera said. "He didn't create the virus, but his lack of ability to get ahead of this, his lack of ability to prepare the country. He wasted and squandered time."
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