Sen. Amy Klobuchar and her husband, who is recovering from COVID-19: The disease is 'incredibly lonely'

"I found out what it's like for so many families," the senator said.

April 28, 2020, 11:45 AM

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and her husband's experience with coronavirus was like every other American's, the Minnesota senator said on ABC's "The View" on Tuesday.

"It's so scary how this disease is going to take a turn. I kept calling him. I was in Minnesota. He had a temperature," said Klobuchar, who has been actively campaigning for former Vice President Joe Biden." I found out what it's like for so many families, you can't hold the hand of your loved one. The health care workers are holding the phone up to their ear and for so many people the story is worse, that don't take a turn for the better, the health care workers are the last one with their husband or wife or mother or dad. That's the hardest thing about this disease. It is so incredibly lonely, and I'm just so happy he's back."

Klobuchar announced in an official statement late last month that her husband, John Bessler, who is 52 and has no underlying conditions, had been released from the hospital and was recovering at home after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks with "Good Morning America" about the coronavirus outbreak, March 24, 2020.
ABC News

He had been suffering from a bleeding cough and "dangerously low" oxygen levels, the Minnesota senator told Good Morning America host Robin Roberts in an update after he was diagnosed.

Klobuchar said she was also told that she would not qualify for a test.

Bessler urged Americans to continue following social distancing practices, because someone could have the disease, be asymptomatic and spreading COVID-19 to others.

"This can really impact people who do have those underlying health conditions as well as people who really don't," Bessler said. "And so you just don't know. It's sort of a lottery, this coronavirus, in terms of what your symptoms are going to be like. So people just need to follow the rules, make sure they're engaging in that social distancing even though it's hard. Make sure that other people don't get infected and so you flatten that curve."

Klobuchar said her husband is now going to donate plasma, since he has the immunity, and participating in a study which would use the plasma from those who tested positive.

Whoopi Goldberg asked Klobuchar and her husband about their feelings about some of President Trump's recommendations to Americans amid the pandemic.

"So many people watch the president. He's the leader of our country, and when you see him, whether he's joking or not, literally looking at people and saying, basically implying, 'You can chug bleach or, you know, maybe we can inject some light into you,' that is the exact opposite of what a leader should be doing," Klobuchar told Goldberg. "It's also what he hasn't done, and that's what's starting to become glaringly clear as you see the governors taking the lead in each state, but not every state has a mayo clinic like we do. You've got to have a national testing strategy and get those national tests out to every state in the country," she said.

Co-host Sunny Hostin asked Bessler and Klobuchar what they recommend for those who may be getting stir crazy under their stay-at-home orders."We've got to be really vigilant about this because this doesn't take the weekends off. The virus is there and it's highly transmissible," Bessler said.

"I think stepping back and being grateful for everyone around you, and calling those seniors that you know. As different as it is in visiting like my own dad, remembering to call, skyping in, making sure people get their groceries, and thinking about your day in a different way, and making a plan for your day that involves helping other people, as hard as your own situation might be," Klobuchar said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined "The View" with her husband John Bessler.

Klobuchar said that same thoughtfulness may be missing from the White House as the nation grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

"I just keep going to the fact that we need both confidence and compassion in the White House right now," Klobuchar said. "When you look back in time, I think back to Donald Trump at the Republican convention when he said, 'I alone can fix this.' Remember that? He was talking about government. Now you fast forward to this major international crisis and he's saying, 'I'll take a back seat to the governors.'"

Hostin asked Klobuchar if she thinks some of the president's advisers on the coronavirus task force, namely Dr. Deborah Birx, are legitimizing some of President Trump's inaccurate claims during the almost daily White House briefings.

"She's someone that has worked under Republican and Democratic presidents and has a lot of credibility, she and Dr. Fauci. You know, do I agree with everything they say every day when they're responding to Trump? No," she said. "But do I think it's important that they're there and we have some medical sanity, and we have people that are actually trying to get the facts out? That is so important. To me that goes beyond politics."

Co-host Meghan McCain asked what Klobuchar thinks Democrats need to do to give Republicans "understanding and reassurance" that they can take the lead on something like an economic downturn in light of the pandemic.

"I think this is about coming together and not blaming people. We were able to successfully pass legislation by working across the aisle. You know I do that all the time and I think that's got to be a big part of this," Klobuchar responded. "So we need to do this together with a long-term plan and compassion and confidence. I believe we can do that. The answer is the election."

Klobuchar has been a prominent supporter of former Vice President Joe Biden since her exit from the race, saying his economic experience is what the country needs.

"That's why I think Joe Biden would be such an amazing president, because he's someone that has actually overseen major government programs. He's someone that made sure the money got where it was supposed to be when we had that recovery act during the last economic downturn, and he's someone that certainly has compassion for the people of this country," said Klobuchar, a former 2020 presidential contender who has been considered by many to be on the shortlist for a possible Biden running mate.

In a recent interview with ABC News George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," Klobuchar said amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the country is suffering from a lack of national leadership in the White House.

"Like every state in the country, George, we are suffering from one important thing, and that is a lack of national strategy," Klobuchar told Stephanopoulos. "You know, we can tune out this president’s rants about chugging bleach, but we can't tune out the fact that we have a lack of protective equipment, that we do not have enough testing."

During the 2020 election cycle, vote-by-mail expansion has been a topic of contention as states scramble to troubleshoot voting during a pandemic. The quarrels center on expanding mail voting as states adjust to the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, particularly in key battlegrounds that could tip the scales of the upcoming presidential contest.

Klobuchar is co-sponsoring a bill to set aside federal funding to expand vote-by-mail programs.