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RALEIGH, NC — Army veteran Cal Cunningham said today that North Carolinians deserve the facts on why critical PPE equipment was sent to China when the state is facing its own supply shortage, and demanded North Carolina’s senators hold the federal government accountable for their failure to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
“The lack of steady leadership at the highest levels of our federal government has hurt North Carolina and states across the country and we need the facts about this failure to prepare for and respond to the coronavirus,” said Cunningham. “That starts with an investigation into why the United States shipped supplies to China instead of planning for the need we’d have here in North Carolina and across the country. This is the type of oversight and accountability North Carolinians deserve, but that’s not what we are getting from Thom Tillis or Richard Burr.”
Last week, Senator Thom Tillis claimed we need to hold China accountable for the COVID-19 pandemic, yet for months, he’s stood behind President Trump, praising his “decisive leadership” even as Trump himself praised China. Though Tillis said he was briefed on the coronavirus on January 24, he sat back and did nothing when the Administration shipped China nearly 18 tons of supplies two weeks later. Tillis also didn’t respond to a request for comment to a WBTV investigation this week that found the Defense Logistics Agency had been auctioning off equipment as recently as April 7 “as states competed for shipments of personal protective equipment, including face masks and shields, from the strategic national stockpile.” Now, our national stockpile is nearly depleted and states across the country, including North Carolina, are competing with each other to get what they need to keep their health care workers and residents safe.
Tillis’ continued praise of the Administration and attempts to shift blame to China also fail to mention that Trump’s China travel ban was only imposed after major airlines and several other countries had banned travel from China, and that more than 430,000 people traveled from China to the United States after the virus surfaced, including 40,000 after the ban was implemented. Cal supported the decision to ban travel from China, but he believes the policy would have been more effective if implemented sooner and with tighter restrictions.
Cal’s campaign is following recommendations of health officials and Gov. Cooper, postponing in-person events and teleworking. Click here for the most up-to-date information about North Carolina’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services or call 866-462-3821.