CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s mayor expressed her disappointment with President Donald Trump’s behavior after his coronavirus diagnosis and what she called his “performance” while he was hospitalized at Walter Reed and his return to the White House.
“I do think it’s unfortunate. Given the super spreader event sponsored by the president and that the White House is refusing to provide information to do basic case investigation and contact tracing. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen from this White House is a repeated effort substantially undercut, not just the public health guidance but public health officials themselves,” Lightfoot said. “I think it undermines even more, if it’s even possible, but certainly undermine even more, the credibility of the president and White House leadership on the issue that affects all of us.”
Lightfoot added “every single resident of this country and truly globally has been nothing but impacted by COVID-19 and to say ‘don’t fear.’ I don’t even know what that means in the context of over 200,000 Americans dead. I don’t know what that means in millions who have been infected. And then even more for individuals, families, communities neighborhoods that have been themselves impacted by COVID-19, not the least of which is the disproportion impact on communities of color.”
The mayor said Trump’s actions undermine what others have done to keep themselves safe from the coronavirus.
“To say the things that he said, to do the things that he’s done; taking a little cruise to see his fans outside of a hospital when he is getting the best possible care on the planet, when many people are struggling and fearful every single day that they won’t have the kind of access to care that they need. There’s not a lot of good things I could say about that. It’s depressing. It is disparaging of the hard work of so many who have sacrificed and continue to every single day, to try to keep themselves face, and family safe.
“I think the President’s performance, and that’s I think probably the most apt word, just adds to people’s feeling that he is not in control, that he is understating the gravity of this horrible situation that we find ourselves in every part of our lives, that has been affected by this every part of our lives, has been upended.”
She said the best thing anyone can do to prevent from getting infected is to follow the information put out by the government and it’s information she said wasn’t adhered to during the White House events.
“Follow the guidance of the CDC, follow the guidance of the CDPH. Wear a mask. Social distance. Don’t be stupid. That’s that’s what they could have done.”
Doctor Allison Arwady, of the Chicago Department of Public Health was also dismayed with Trump and what he did after his diagnosis.
“When I saw the president, who is in his infectious period for COVID, making a point of taking his mask off, I don’t know what message that could possibly send it could bring this country forward in the time of COVID. We can debate timing. We can debate priorities. But seeing someone in leadership, absolutely going against the most basic public health guidance that we need everybody to take part in while they are going about their lives is disturbing. And frankly, it makes my job harder,” Arwady said.
Mayor Lightfoot and Dr. Arwady made the comments during a news conference announcing an $8 million annual grant for 32 community-based organizations to help with mental health services.
According to the mayor, the money will help provide “trauma-informed mental healthcare in the city’s areas of highest need.” The 32 centers will work with the existing Chicago Department of Public Health mental health clinics where people can get help, “regardless of ability to pay, health insurance status or immigration status.”
“The Framework for Mental Health Equity is a clear commitment to creating an effective, accessible and inclusive mental health system that cares for and heals the whole person,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This unprecedented $8 million investment will do just that and move this framework forward by providing tens of thousands of additional Chicagoans in our under-resourced communities with the care they need.”
“For too long, the people most in need of mental healthcare have not been able to access it when and where they need it, and the consequences of this can be tragic,” said Dr. Arwady. “That’s why we were so deliberate in making sure these investments are going to communities where they are needed most and to publicly funded organizations who are the experts doing this work on the ground.”