Martha Fuller Clark: Granite Staters deserve better than Trump’s incompetence

For the Monitor
Published: 7/10/2020 10:28:06 AM
Modified: 7/10/2020 10:27:55 AM

In times of crisis, Granite Staters, along with the rest of America, have always turned to the White House and our president for unity, direction, and help. Now, in the midst of a worsening pandemic, more than ever we deserve a president with the capacity to lead our country through some of the hardest months we’ve ever faced.

At every turn, Donald Trump has failed to be that leader. And every Republican in New Hampshire and elsewhere who stands by and enables Trump — including Chris Sununu, Corky Messner, Don Bolduc, Matt Mowers, and Matt Mayberry — own Trump’s failures on COVID-19. Trump continues to downplay the virus, ignores his own advisors, and has allowed the pandemic to spiral out of control, claiming the lives of hundreds of Granite Staters, along with thousands throughout the country and leaving tens of thousands in New Hampshire and millions more without work.

Now, instead of working to contain a still-spreading virus throughout the country and revive a cratering economy, he’s heading to Portsmouth for a rally.

Granite Staters don’t need another photo op, and we certainly don’t need yet another threat to our health. We need tests, we need equipment, and we need a president capable of living up to this unprecedented moment.

My husband and I have seen the reality of this pandemic up close. We’ve felt the anxiety of a positive test result and the exhaustion of high fevers, continuing fatigue, loss of appetite and punishing coughing spells over seven weeks. This virus is no small threat, and it demands every ounce of our leaders’ time and energy.

For months, Granite Staters have done our part to combat this pandemic. We’ve stayed home, we’ve kept our distance from one another, and many have worked selflessly on the front lines. Each of us has made sacrifices with the expectation that our state and federal leaders would do everything they could to protect us. We knew our efforts alone wouldn’t be enough — we could only buy time to build a national, full-government response to the virus. Now Sununu and the Republicans who stand by Trump are willing to jeopardize the health and safety of Granite Staters, all for a photo op!

Four months into the pandemic, the Trump administration has continued to leave us on our own. Cases continue to rise nationally, more lives are being lost — especially in our long-term care facilities — and working families are still struggling to survive the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression.

From the beginning of this pandemic, Trump has failed to deliver on Granite Staters’ most basic needs — without a word from Sununu and New Hampshire Republicans who have defended his chaotic response at every turn.

That failure has wreaked havoc on those who need help the most. Frontline health care workers were forced to put themselves in harm’s way, while Trump allowed personal protective equipment to be shipped overseas. And as the virus devastated New Hampshire nursing homes, Trump proposed a plan that would provide tests for just 2% of Granite Staters and sent defective personal protective equipment that led the head of the New Hampshire Health Care Association to say, “It’s basically representative that they’re treating health care workers like garbage.”

Even now, rather than live up to the most basic responsibilities of his office, Trump would rather pretend nothing is wrong. Fully prepared to sacrifice our health to advance his own reelection campaign, he has even slashed federal support for testing sites and admitted to directing officials to “slow the testing down.” Sununu and New Hampshire Republicans have refused to speak out against the president’s failed leadership, preferring to remain loyal to Trump even though his rally will endanger the health of Granite Staters.

It didn’t have to be this bad. If Trump had been willing and able to do his job, lives could have been saved and livelihoods could have been spared. Granite Staters deserve better; this November, we must bring his failed presidency to an end and send every single one of his enablers — Chris Sununu, Corky Messner, Don Bolduc, Matt Mowers, and Matt Mayberry — into retirement.

(Martha Fuller Clark is a state senator from Portsmouth.)

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