Jeet Heer, national affairs correspondent for The Nation spoke with America’s Work Force Radio Podcast on May 21 to discuss how President Trump has been absent during this time of crisis.
Heer first spoke about the lack of initiative from President Trump during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time when people are scared and unsure of what is going on, they look to their leaders for answers. Heer said President Trump has fallen short. Heer said that rather than addressing pandemic issues head on, President Trump has constantly blamed others, saying it is their fault nothing has been getting done and out of all presidents, he has done the most work. He went on to say that other political figures have been absent during the pandemic as well. Heer said that even though it is President Trump’s responsibility to be a leader in a time of uncertainty, other political figures, such as Joe Biden have not been showing signs of help. Lastly, he spoke about how the President is calling the pandemic a “war.” Heer said if it is a war, he believes the President is a war criminal. Heer said if this is the case, the President should be charged with “war crimes” for putting money into Wall Street rather than personal protective equipment for hospitals, essential businesses, frontline workers and underserved communities.
Pat Gallagher, Director of United Steel Workers (USW) District 1 joined the show to talk about political candidates the USW will be endorsing in the 2020 election. He said Joe Biden has the endorsement of the USW because of his views on labor, investment in America’s infrastructure, medicare and other worker related issues. Gallagher then explained why investing in infrastructure is so important for workers. He said hundreds of jobs could be created to build, repair and maintain bridges and highways around the country. But rebuilding infrastructure was just another empty promise made by President Trump to workers. Gallagher explained his frustration with how the President said he would invest in infrastructure. Workers around the country were excited about the job opportunities, only to be disappointed when he never followed through. Finally, Gallagher discussed how he feels regarding workplace safety standards and if they are going to change drastically in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc spoke about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) not doing enough to set appropriate safety standards to help protect workers from COVID-19.