John Oliver targets GOP governors, Kushner for coronavirus response

On Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Sunday, Oliver ripped Republican governors who have been slow to respond to the growing coronavirus crisis in the United States, particularly those who have resisted issuing stay-at-home orders. As of Sunday, nine states had yet to issue such orders.

One governor Oliver singled out was Alabama’s Kay Ivey, who finally issued a stay-at-home order on Friday. When originally refusing to do so, Ivey stated that Alabama is not California or New York. Oliver, while showing a graph of new COVID-19 cases in Alabama compared to California, pointed out that Alabama actually has a higher growth rate of new cases per capita than California.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was also late to issue a stay-at-home order, and even after doing so, he kept the state’s beaches open. Kemp received backlash and ridicule last week after he said during a press conference that he’d just learned that even those without symptoms can pass the virus to others, even though that information has been out for months.

“We didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” Kemp said at the press conference. “No, you didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” Oliver responded. “Most of the rest of us have known that since February. And that information, much like COVID-19, has spread around a bit since then.”

Then Oliver got to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who resisted issuing a statewide stay-at-home order because he was waiting for direction from the White House, even as new COVID-19 cases in his state skyrocketed last month. Even while issuing the order, DeSantis exempted religious services.

“That’s actually even stupider than it sounds,” Oliver said, “because DeSantis not only exempted churches from bans on large gatherings, he also exempted them from social-distancing requirements and made it impossible for localities, even in hotspots, to override him, which is clearly dangerous.”

It’s because of governors in states like these and others that some, like the leading infectious disease expert in the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, are calling for nationwide orders. As Oliver pointed out, success in defeating the virus is contingent on the cooperation of all states.

“The problem is, as a nation, our success in containing COVID-19 is only going to be as good as our worst governor,” Oliver said, “especially with the federal government abdicating so much responsibility. That is what is so infuriating here.”

Oliver also took aim at presidential advisor, and President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who said last week that the Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies weren’t for the states to use. The Department of Health and Human Services even changed its website to echo what Kushner had said.

“The notion of the federal stockpile was, it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner said. “It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

“Wait, ‘Our stockpile?’ It’s not your stockpile,” Oliver said in response. “It’s a national stockpile for use by the United States, you f***ing moron. And here’s the interesting thing about the United States, it’s almost entirely made of states. There’s states everywhere. I’d say more than 40 of them, Jared. And some parts of them badly need supplies right now.”

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on HBO.

Watch Tucker Carlson attack medical experts over the handling of the coronavirus:

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