Illinois's junior senator, Tammy Duckworth, blasted President Donald Trump and his administration Tuesday for the response to the coronavirus pandemic, calling Trump "delusional" after he's made comments recently suggesting the virus will eventually just go away and that testing isn't as important as some critics are saying it is for reopening the country.
"The man is delusional, and has no basis in his thinking in any type of science... Here's the deal, if we want to reopen the economy, we need to test. We need to have enough testing for everyone," Duckworth, a Democrat, said during an appearance on "The View." "It's not just enough for the president to make sure that those around him get tested on a daily basis. You know, he needs to stop worrying about what's inside the White House and start worrying about all the Americans outside the White House who need testing."
"I just rely on what doctors say. They say it's going to go," he said. "That doesn't mean this year. Doesn't mean it's going to be gone, frankly by the fall or after the fall, but eventually it's going to go away. The question is will we need a vaccine? At some point it will probably go away by itself."
Trump has touted the amount of testing done in the United States and claimed that the "quality of our tests is the best anywhere in the world." With two confirmed cases among staff in the White House, senior officials are being tested daily, and on Monday, ABC Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl asked the president when Americans across the country can also be tested daily as people try to return to work.
"Very soon. I mean, really very soon," Trump said. "There is nobody close to us in the world and we certainly have done a great job on testing. Testing is a big -- is a very big important function. By the way, some people consider it more important than others, to be honest with you, but testing certainly is a very important function and we have prevailed."
For Duckworth, who in April was appointed to the White House's Opening Up America Again task force, testing is a crucial first step to getting the economy going again.
"We could go back to work when there is widespread and free testing -- when anyone who needs a test can get it -- that's when we can start reopening the economy," she said on Tuesday, adding that in other countries that have started to reopen, that's been the approach taken.
The Democratic senator was highly critical of the administration task force she was appointed to, saying there have only been two phone meetings so far, and during the first one, Trump spent the first 45 minutes "bragging about how well he was doing and how well the United States is doing compared to other countries in terms of" testing, which she said wasn't true.
"He's spent his time trying to spin the task force into some sort of a publicity tool for him. And when asked -- when asked how many tests are we going to be able to do by the end of this week, they've had no answers for it," she told "The View" co-hosts. "I've been pretty frustrated with this task force. I keep asking them tough questions but we're not getting any good answers."
Duckworth was also asked about the 2020 election, and the possibility she'll be vetted as a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who has pledged to choose a woman as his vice president.
"Just having my name mentioned in the same breath as... Tammy Baldwin and the likes of Amy Klobuchar is really breathtaking for me," she said, naming two other senators considered to be on Biden's VP shortlist.
Duckworth, who is Thai, added that it's "long overdue" for a person of color to be chosen as a vice presidential candidate.
"I think that it's long overdue to have women and people of color to have equal representation in our nation's government," she said. "Only when we have true diversity in our government will America be as strong as she could possibly be. Because then she would truly reflect the people who live here and all the strength that all of us bring to the table."
The senator was also asked to respond to the allegation of sexual assault facing Biden, which he has repeatedly denied, including on "Good Morning America" Tuesday. The woman accusing the former vice president, Tara Reade, said in an interview last week that she felt Biden should end his presidential bid.
"I've consistently said that all victims should be heard. I've also said that these allegations should be investigated and that is what's ongoing now," Duckworth said. "I do think we should continue with the investigation but I think he has addressed these allegations directly and I'm glad that he's done that."