Republican U.S. Senate candidates on the issues: The federal government’s response to COVID-19

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Last month, we asked our readers what issues they wanted to hear the candidates running for office address ahead of this summer’s primary elections. Based on the input we received, we developed a five-item questionnaire for Republican candidates running for the United States Senate seat.

We’ll be publishing the candidates’ responses to one item per day each day this week. Today we’re publishing the candidates’ responses item three:

Are you satisfied with the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Why or why not?

David Lindstrom

When we are faced with unprecedented times, as we have been with the COVID-19 pandemic, there will always be criticism on how we respond. Overall I am happy with the Trump administrations response and commend President Trump on closing the borders early to stop the spread. I am disappointed with Democrats in Congress who are using the covid outbreak to push their socialist agenda.


Kris Kobach

President Trump was exactly right when he shut down travel from China and then from Europe to the United States. In times of pandemic, borders matter. If you can’t control who gets into our country, you can’t protect our country.

His administration was also correct in issuing federal guidelines for dealing with the pandemic, because a one–size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for a country as large and diverse as the United States. The COVID response in Manhattan, New York, for example, should be much different than the response in Manhattan, Kansas.

There are, however, still important lessons to be learned from the pandemic. First, we can’t protect the country by shutting the front door if the back door is wide open. A secure border is essential in our defense against not only crime and terrorism, but also pandemics. We need to build the wall.

Second, this crisis has illustrated how dependent we are on China for essential pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics. That has to change. Yesterday. We must immediately act to bring those supply chains back to America.

Roger Marshall

I was the first member of congress to talk about the COVID-19 Pandemic way back in January. My experience as a physician made it clear that China was lying, and this virus was a serious threat. I sounded the alarm early. President Trump made the right decision when he closed our borders from the Chinese, while Nancy Pelosi scheduled a vote to repeal this travel ban and jeopardize millions of American lives. Ultimately, President Trump’s swift actions saved lives.

Since the beginning of this pandemic I’ve been working to protect your family’s health. I have successfully secured thousands of tests for the state of Kansas with President Trump’s assistance. Every call I’ve made to the White House has been answered, and my requests have been granted.

I’m pleased with the federal government’s immediate action to save our economy from collapse, including the $1200 stimulus checks, and the Paycheck Protection Program. These policies have helped everyday Americans, and allowed small businesses to remain open. I’m so proud of our local hospitals and their incredible doctors and nurses. They have been at the forefront of this virus providing quality care to patients by utilizing the lifesaving treatments we’ve helped accelerate.

Brian Matlock

I have a mixed level of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding the economy: let me give credit where credit is due–consider the differences between this stimulus and those of the Global Financial Crisis. Almost all of the aid for the GFC went to bail out banks and corporations while average Americans suffered and faced foreclosures and joblessness. This stimulus has had considerably more money and attention given to average working class folks and small businesses. This is a testament to the widespread fury and activism by the populace in response to the handling of the GFC. That said, the stimulus was insufficient and the partisan fighting over it makes me pessimistic about what a second round of stimulus will look like.

Overall our government has not done enough. We should have used our crisis plan (which was ignored). This crisis showed from the start the weaknesses of our healthcare system that does not encourage people to use services and stay healthy- from the start everything should have been covered. We should have mobilized much more quickly to provide testing, better economic stimulus so that people didn’t feel they had to choose between survival and health/safety, rationing and price fixing of essentials to make sure there was enough to go around. Honestly, the results speak for themselves in terms of containment and treatment- we are far and away the worst country for cases of COVID and for quickly and efficiently dealing with the problem. The only countries that could rival us are in extreme poverty with crowded living spaces and nowhere near the healthcare infrastructure. We could have done much better on almost every front.

The crisis has highlighted how deep the economic challenges most Americans face are that they see the only option is to let the pandemic terrorize their communities without precautions. It highlights the deep partisanship where even in the wake of a global pandemic we have no shared narrative or sense of shared purpose. Conspiracy theories and misinformation abound, and every aspect of the pandemic is politicized. It shows how our politicians are more concerned with gaining power and being rulers than public servants.

We can’t change how we have dealt with the crisis up to this point, but I hope we can learn from it.

Lance Berland

Did not respond.

John Berman

Did not respond.

Derek Ellis

Did not respond.

Bob Hamilton

Did not respond.

John Miller

Did not respond.

Steve Roberts

Did not respond.

Gabriel Mark Robles

Did not respond.

Tomorrow we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to item four:

In response to the national protests following the killing of George Floyd, President Trump has signed an executive order addressing police reforms. The order calls for improved credentialing of police departments, better tracking of complaints about officers who use excessive force, and better services to address issues like homelessness, mental health and drug addiction. Will this adequately address concerns about police brutality? If not, what other steps should be taken?

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