Kansas governor criticizes federal government’s response to pandemic

photo by: Associated Press

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions about attempting to check the spread of the new coronavirus during an interview with The Associated Press in her office, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly strongly criticized the U.S. government Thursday as unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic and said her state hasn’t gotten needed supplies despite multiple requests approved since mid-March.

The Democratic governor said Kansas has sought “hundreds of thousands of everything,” including masks, gloves, gowns and testing kits, to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19. The state also has been overwhelmed by questions and claims from jobless workers seeking unemployment benefits.

Asked about requested supplies, Kelly said, “The shipments have just not come in,” and that she and other governors “haven’t really gotten a good answer” as to why. Her remarks were her most pointed to date, coming after her stay-at-home order took effect Monday in a GOP-leaning state that Donald Trump carried by nearly 21 percentage points in the 2016 presidential race.

“They didn’t have the stockpiles on hand to meet the demand when the demands came, and then, quite honestly, whatever system they have for delivery isn’t working,” Kelly said during a daily briefing. “I think, honestly, they just were not prepared.”

Trump said Wednesday that his administration was waging “all-out war to defeat the virus” and is backing up governors.

“And there’s never been a backup like we’ve given them,” he said.

But Kelly painted a far different picture, saying the U.S. government “just didn’t take (the virus) seriously enough soon enough.

“And I think we’re all paying the price for that now,” Kelly said.


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