Donald Trump is refusing to authorize FEMA to release money that would help families in desperate need cover the cost of funerals for their loved ones who died of coronavirus.
As MSNBC’s Chris Hayes pointed out on Thursday, “FEMA does not have the independent ability to turn on the programs at will. It has to come from Trump.”
Hayes added, “Approximately 30 states and territories have requested the funding, but Trump will not free up the money.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) May 1, 2020
It is the least we can do, but Trump will not do it. He doesn’t need to go through Congress. I want to be clear here. He just needs to authorize FEMA to release the money. As former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate told ProPublica, FEMA does not have the independent ability to turn on the programs at will. It has to come from Trump. In fact, approximately 30 states and territories have requested the funding, but Trump will not free up the money. Now the president is refusing to take this very simple action as a small, small grace towards the citizens of this nation. It’s unconscionable. And that small little bit of inaction, of utter cold heartedness, it says everything you need to know about the way he has navigated this crisis from the beginning as the bodies pile up at funeral homes and the cemetery workers become overwhelmed and the death toll crosses that of the Vietnam war, the president is rage tweeting in unhinged fashion in the middle of the night. … He just said, the president of the United States just said today our deaths per million are really very strong. More than 62,000 Americans gone. Thousands more every day, day after day after day after day. He’s very proud of the job he’s done. They just do not seem to think Americans dying en masse as the federal government looks on is that big a deal.
According to ProPublica, “FEMA paid about $2.6 million in response to 976 applications for funeral costs of victims of three 2017 hurricanes, or an average of about $2,700 per approved application.”
For some reason – perhaps because many of the victims happen to live in blue states – Trump isn’t approving the same funds.
Trump is incapable of providing moral leadership in a time of crisis
Being a president doesn’t just mean setting an agenda and having the policy and political knowledge to carry it out – both of which Trump lacks, by the way. It’s also about being a moral leader who can heal the country during times of crisis.
It was one of Barack Obama’s strongest skills as a leader, one he demonstrated time and again in moments of national crisis, whether it was after mass shootings or natural disasters.
As the country continues to reel from this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, America no longer has that type of president sitting in the Oval Office. Instead, the nation is led by a man whose sole focus is his own political survival.
Tens of thousands of families are grieving and their president has shown no sign that he even cares.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.