PHOENIX—Rep. Greg Stanton issued the following statement today in advance of President Trump’s visit to Phoenix on Tuesday.
“It is a moral failing that the President will visit Arizona during a time he has ignored the urgent pleas from Navajo leadership. He has the power to make a difference, and he has done nothing. The Navajo Nation is in crisis, and the Navajo people are getting sick and dying at staggering rates. And though they’ve heard time and time again that help is on the way, the support they desperately need to combat the coronavirus still hasn’t arrived.
The Navajo Nation continues to be one of the hardest hit areas in our country, and yet the President is unmoved. This Administration’s slow and inadequate response has dire consequences for tribal members—it is quite literally a matter of life and death. The President is visiting Phoenix to applaud workers who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in this time of need; it’s well past time he followed their lead and did his job.”
In the recently passed CARES Act, Congress directed $8 billion in emergency relief to tribal governments. More than a month later, not one dollar of that aid has been dispersed. Last month, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez requested President Trump eliminate the local cost share on FEMA funds to help with their response efforts—and more than a month later, they haven’t received a response.
Since President Nez made that request, the Navajo Nation has experienced a more than 700 percent increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and a more than 800 percent increase in deaths. It has become one of the hardest hit areas of the country with the third-highest infection rates nationwide after New York and New Jersey.
On Saturday, the Navajo Nation reported 81 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of positive cases is now at 2,373. [Source]
Stanton again raised President Nez’s concerns to President Trump in a letter last week.