ABC News Corona Virus Political Impact

Amid pandemic, country lacks national leadership: Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar has been actively campaigning for former Vice President Joe Biden.

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the country is suffering from a lack of national leadership in the White House, said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who has been actively campaigning for former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Like every state in the country, George, we are suffering from one important thing, and that is a lack of national strategy," Klobuchar told ABC News Chief Anchor George 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."

Klobuchar, whose name has been circulated as a possible vice president pick for the presumptive Democratic nominee, said on ABC’s “This Week,” Sunday, “We need to put someone in the White House who is going to have that long-term vision and isn't going to spend, day after day, dividing people."

Democrats, including Klobuchar, seized on what they see as President Donald Trump’s lack of leadership.

"And I think that story to me is all about you, but it's also about what we need in this country right now. We need competence to run this in a big way and get that money out, but we also need a president, that's able to lead and to -- even if it's virtually -- hold people's hands, and we're not seeing that right now in the White House,” Klobuchar said at an event last week.

She said Sunday that despite claims from the Trump campaign that Minnesota could be in play for Republicans in November, she doesn't think her state is up for grabs.

"I don't believe so. Not if I have anything to do with it," she said. "No, I don't think Minnesota is in play, because we want a real leader in the White House. The president in my mind has never done enough when it comes to rural America."

Klobuchar didn’t dismiss Biden’s recent claim that Trump may try and delay the election due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying that she believes Biden is concerned about the pressure Trump puts on some governors regarding coronavirus management.

“Well, I think he's concerned because of what's been going on in some of the states and how the president pushes some of these governors,” she said. “And he's concerned because of what just happened in Wisconsin.”

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Klobuchar, like many other lawmakers across the country, is pushing for the expansion of voting by mail in light of the coronavirus pandemic and Wisconsin’s recent in-person elections, which have been linked to 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Klobuchar said that if Trump was able to vote by mail in Florida’s election last month, then every American should have the same opportunity.

“So let's look at it, while President Trump was in the White House ordering a mail-in ballot to vote at home in the luxury of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in his slippers -- I don't know if he had on slippers, but that's my image -- people in Wisconsin are standing in garbage bags with masks on their face getting off of work at hospitals, standing in line having to choose between their health and their right to vote. And now nearly 20 of them are sick -- including a poll worker -- of the coronavirus. We can't let that happen in November,” she said.

"That's why Ron Wyden and I are pushing for our bill, with the support of Michelle Obama, the civil rights groups -- to keep pushing, to make sure that we have both by-mail and early voting, as well as (in-person) voting," she said.

State lawmakers in Minnesota have called for the expansion of mail-in voting, though changes have yet to be made.

What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the US and Worldwide: coronavirus map