Mike Holmgren Lashes Out at Trump's COVID Response: 'He Doesn't Have a Plan'

Former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Holmgren has strongly criticized President Donald Trump's response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, blasting him for not having a plan to get the virus under control months into the outbreak.

Holmgren, who won Super Bowl XXXI during his seven seasons in Green Bay, spoke out against Trump on the same day the Packers announced plans to welcome fans back at Lambeau Field were on hold indefinitely because of the rising number of COVID-19 in the state.

As of Wednesday morning, almost 145,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Wisconsin, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the outbreak using combined data sources. Of those, almost 11,000 cases and 69 deaths have been reported in Brown County, where Green Bay is located.

Over 7.5 million cases of coronavirus and almost 211,000 deaths have so far been reported in the U.S.—both figures are by far the highest tally of any country in the world.

"Today's announcement makes one thing very clear—President Trump's failure to mount a forceful response to the coronavirus pandemic has had profound consequences for Green Bay's economy," Holmgren said a statement issued through the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris presidential campaign.

"Small businesses in the community are paying dearly. We are now months into the crisis, cases are surging and President Trump still doesn't have a plan to get the virus under control. It didn't have to be this bad."

Holmgren, who last coached in the NFL in 2008, threw his weight behind the Biden-Harris campaign last month, explaining the November 3 election was different from any he has experienced in his lifetime.

"I've never done this before—talked to anybody prior to a campaign [...] This election is different," Holmgren said last month. "It's really different than any other election in my lifetime.

The former Packers coach has also previously warned about the impact playing games behind closed doors would have on the city of Green Bay.

The Packers are a quirk in the NFL world as they are the last of the so-called "small town teams" that dominated the league's geography in the NFL's infancy and play a major role in their city's economy.

Speaking at a press conference last month, Holmgren and Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich illustrated the economic damage facing the city if games were played without fans.

They estimated each Packers home game adds $15 million to the city's local economy and $160 million to Wisconsin's economy as a whole.

"To start the season tomorrow with nobody in the stands, nobody in the parking lot and not having it be what it always has been it has to be very, very hard for those folks," Holmgren said at the time.

"It didn't have to be this bad—it really didn't. And now, we find out, he knew all along—the president knew how bad it was, and kept it from the American people."

While a number of NFL teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, have allowed a small number of fans in the stadiums in the opening four weeks of the season, the sight of spectators at Lambeau Field remains unlikely in the foreseeable future.

"We are very concerned with the rate of infection in our area," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement Tuesday.

"We are trending in the wrong direction in terms of hospitalization and positive cases, and based on recommendations from community healthcare and public health officials, hosting fans at the stadium for games is not advisable at this time.

"We'd all like to resume safely attending games at Lambeau Field. We know enjoying gameday is an integral part of our community and recognize how important it is to our area."

Mike Holmgren, NFL
[File photo] Mike Holmgren, then team president of the Cleveland Browns, stands on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Jason Miller/Getty