The number of North Carolinians infected with coronavirus keeps growing each day and we continue to lack adequate testing, equipment and supplies across the state and across the country to fight the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, GOP Senators like Sen. Thom Tillis continue to defend Trump’s raiding of military projects for border wall construction amidst a global pandemic. Donald Trump’s request of $18.4 billion for border wall money that could be going to COVID-19 response, seems to have no objection from Sen. Tillis.
It’s clear that the national effort against COVID-19 should be our singular focus during these trying times. Yet President Trump’s border wall obsession continues, wasting precious resources that are critical to containing this epidemic.
As a must-read op-ed in The Hill from Gail Emrick published this week, executive director of the Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center, reminds us:
The Trump administration has a staggering $18.4 billion border wall budget, most of it diverted from other federal agencies’ programs that are intended to protect national security. Wall construction money should instead be used to save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19.
At the same time, the administration has undermined our capacity to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak through staff and budget cuts. In 2018, the administration disbanded the National Security Council’s pandemic unit, and have also disastrously diminished the Center for Disease Control staffing.
Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice, said:
At a time of uncertainty and fear, North Carolinians expect elected officials to do everything they can to protect human life and help fight this pandemic. Instead, as the number of coronavirus infections keep growing, Sen. Tillis continues to rubber-stamp President Trump’s wasteful border wall that has taken billions of dollars from emergency preparedness funds, which are sorely needed and lacking today.
The border wall is a symbol of waste, fraud, and xenophobia. And the diversion of funds has created a Trump-Tillis healthcare crisis in North Carolina. As the Trump administration remains “wary” over spending $1 billion for desperately needed ventilators in American communities, they want to spend almost twenty-fold on an unnecessary border wall that won’t protect us from this virus. And where is Sen. Tillis? He is not standing up to this administration or standing up for North Carolinians.
In times of crisis, we all need to come together, but instead Sen. Tillis continues to allow the administration to push anti-immigrant rhetoric in order to distract North Carolinians from the utter failure of the Trump crisis response. North Carolinians and the country deserve better.