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Trump hasn’t shown ‘human understanding’ of suffering caused by coronavirus crisis, Warren says

Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Senator Elizabeth Warren.Jordan Gale/The New York Times

Senator Elizabeth Warren sharply criticized President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying Monday that he’s shown a lack of competence and values that’s harming the American people.

“Our values are not about improving Donald Trump’s [TV] ratings. Our values are about saving lives, our values are about reducing the pain that people are experiencing,” Warren said during an interview on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio, referring to Trump’s weekend tweets that highlighted the viewership of his daily press conferences.

Warren said Trump has shown no “human understanding” of the suffering that people are experiencing as tens of thousands of Americans have become sickened by the coronavirus, nearly 3,000 have died, and millions more are out of work. But beyond that, Warren said, there was the problem of “plain old basic competence.”

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“States and individual hospitals, and medical centers, and even cities are bidding against each other to try to get masks," and other equipment, Warren said. “And after they do all the work and get it all organized and find a place where they can get them, then there are allegations that the federal government then comes in and seizes it and sends it where they think it is either most needed truly or most needed politically.”

Massachusetts is among the states that have seen orders of medical supplies impounded by the federal government — in one case, a shipment of 3 million masks — even after the Trump administration told states that they should try to order supplies on their own.

“It’s not only the worst form of politics, it’s also just the worst form of incompetence,” Warren said. “We need the masks.”

Asked if she was worried if Trump has the ability to solve the crisis, Warren responded, “Yes, I am.”

Warren has been speaking out frequently during the coronavirus crisis, even after her presidential campaign ended on March 5. Warren released an update to her campaign plan for dealing with the outbreak and was a major factor in pushing for reforms to the oversight provisions of the massive $500 billion corporate bailout fund created by the stimulus package signed into law last week.

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Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.