Political News

New Jersey governor calls for 'postmortem' of federal response to coronavirus

Posted April 2, 2020 6:52 p.m. EDT

— New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday called for an assessment of the federal response to the coronavirus once the crisis itself is handled, as states continue to scramble for much-needed medical supplies to combat the spreading virus.

When asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer what the lagging maintenance on some of the federal government's ventilator reserves revealed about national preparedness levels, Murphy noted that the ventilators New Jersey received from the federal government "had a high rate of functioning."

"On the one hand, I'll leave history to the historians in terms of how we got here," Murphy said. "But on the other hand, we've got -- all of us have to do one of the biggest postmortems, when the dust settles on this, in the history of our country."

"We've got to figure out how the heck we got into this spot and make sure we never get in this spot ever again," he added.

Murphy's comments echo those of congressional Democrats calling for a commission to investigate what happened in the onset of the coronavirus crisis, with the number of US cases going higher than 236,000 on Thursday and continuing to climb.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced earlier Thursday the creation of a bipartisan House select committee on the coronavirus crisis that will exercise oversight of the federal response to the pandemic and be chaired by Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat.

When asked if she would support a commission to investigate what had unfolded at the start of the crisis, Pelosi said there is "absolutely" a need for one, that it's "something that we should discuss" and it would have to be bipartisan.

Anything that affects this many Americans, the California Democrat added, needs an after-action review -- "not to point fingers, but to ensure that it doesn't happen again in the manner in which it happened."

Murphy also said Friday that while New Jerseyans are "grateful for" the federal support they've received battling the coronavirus, "we need a lot more."

He cited his state's efforts to buy personal protective equipment from foreign and domestic sellers and to build hospitals.

"But in all of those channels, in all of those avenues, we can only do so much. Any one state can only do so much," Murphy said. "Again, we need our federal partners with us."

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