Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) spoke Wednesday about the management of nursing homes during the pandemic, admitting they should have been addressed “quickly,” a comment that comes as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) continues to face scrutiny for her policy decisions surrounding the homes.
Tlaib made her remarks during a Zoom call — a screen recording of which was obtained by Breitbart News — for an event called “MI Sisters and Friends: Conversations That Count!” alongside Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI).
A speaker asked, “Thinking about nursing homes and all that happened with nursing homes, what changes do they see happening with nursing homes in light of COVID?”
“I mean, I think, I think we, we, I think we all recognize we could’ve, something should’ve been done quick— quickly in regards to addressing them. I think we all can agree to that,” Tlaib responded. She added, “Of course, you know, I’m not here to blame.”
The Michigan Democrat said she was “just recognizing that as a public servant that is something I assure you the CDC and others will continue to hear from us and House Oversight Committee about, you know, what we could be doing now to prepare.” She then conceded, “But I agree, there needs to be a better plan for how we address this.”
Whitmer was one of a handful of governors who instituted a policy when coronavirus began spreading last year that required nursing homes, formally recognized as “long-term care facilities,” to accept patients from hospitals who could be COVID-positive.
Former President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) requested data in August 2020 from four states run by Democrat governors — Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — as it considered probing the states over their nursing home policies.
Under President Joe Biden, however, the DOJ in July dropped its consideration of the investigations. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) in March also declined a request from state Republicans to investigate the policy, claiming they did not present sufficient evidence for the investigation and that the investigation would only serve as a “political attack.”
Tlaib, a Whitmer ally who once praised the governor’s stringent lockdown orders during coronavirus surges as “bold” and the “right precaution,” did not mention Whitmer’s name when discussing nursing homes, but continued during the virtual meeting to say her colleagues grappled with shortages of masks, sanitizer, and other supplies.
Tlaib concluded her remarks by emphasizing the challenge she found in working with privately run nursing homes (almost all of which are, in fact, privately run):
Many of these nursing homes, y’all, are privately run, and there’s a layer of bureaucracy and a layer of trusting what that information is coming out of those institutions, and I know that for a fact. One of them I had to deal with consistently. So just, I want you to know and to acknowledge that I think this was a huge lesson learned for myself personally — I don’t know for my colleagues — that we need to be better prepared in a situation like this and again with our most vulnerable.
Michigan’s record of long-term care facility deaths caused by coronavirus comes from self-reported data and shows 5,690 deaths of residents of the facilities as of August 18.
Tlaib’s office did not respond to a request from Breitbart News for comment about her opinion on Whitmer’s nursing home policy and the state’s data collection methods.
Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected].