An Arizona rep wants the WH Coronavirus Taskforce 'disbanded'?

Given the conditions in his district, Andy Biggs calling for the demise of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce seems bonkers.
Andy Biggs
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.,gives his opening statement during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.Patrick Semansky / AP
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By Steve Benen

In recent weeks, few states have struggled more with the coronavirus crisis than Arizona, where infection rates are soaring to tragic heights. Maricopa County has had it especially rough, with far more cases than any other county in the state, and roughly half of Arizona's COVID-19 fatalities.

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) -- chair of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus -- not only resides in Maricopa County, he also represents part of it in Congress. Given the public-health crisis in his community, common sense suggests the GOP lawmaker would focus almost entirely on addressing the pandemic.

It's against this backdrop that the Arizona Republican issued a curious statement this morning.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on Thursday called for the White House to dissolve its coronavirus task force so that health officials like Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx are prevented from contradicting many of President Trump's "stated goals and actions" when it comes to the economy.

The written statement, published online as a press release, is largely about the latest monthly job totals -- which appear encouraging at first glance, but which come with all kinds of discouraging caveats.

Nevertheless, Biggs' statement added that it is "imperative" that the president not be "undermined in his mission to return our economy to greatness." The far-right congressman complained that Fauci and Birx "continue to contradict many of President Trump's stated goals and actions for returning to normalcy," which in turn causes "panic that compromises our economic recovery."

The Republican concluded, "It's time for the COVID-19 task force to be disbanded so that President Trump's message is not mitigated or distorted."

So to recap, a congressman from Arizona, representing an area that's being brutally slammed by a deadly pandemic, wants to see the White House Coronavirus Taskforce eliminated -- not because the fight's over, but because the public-officials who help lead it are interfering with Donald Trump's misguided happy talk.

Andy Biggs' position would be tough to defend under normal circumstances, but given the conditions in his district, his position seems absolutely bonkers.