President Trump on Monday ripped House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the White House has bungled the response to coronavirus.
“As the president fiddles, people are dying,” Pelosi said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The president, his denial at the beginning, was deadly,“ she said. “His delaying of getting equipment to where — it continues — his delay in getting equipment to where it’s needed is deadly. And now I think the best thing would be to do is to prevent more loss of life, rather than open things up.”
Trump on Monday called Pelosi a “sick puppy” during a phone interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”
“She’s got a lot of problems and that’s a horrible thing to say,” Trump said. “I stopped some very, very infected, very, very sick people, thousands coming in from China, long earlier than anybody thought, including the experts, nobody thought we should do it except me.”
The president said the Speaker is still “playing the impeachment game.”
“There’s something wrong with the woman,” he said. “She focused on impeachment, and she lost, and she looked like a fool.”
“It unified our party, and I have to say this, it’s never pleasant, but my poll numbers are the highest they’ve been because of her,” Trump said.
In her CNN interview, Pelosi questioned when Trump was told about the coronavirus and its possible impact. “I don’t know what the scientists said to him, when did this president know about this, and what did he know? What did he know and when did he know it? That’s for an after-action review. But as the president fiddles, people are dying. And we just have to take every precaution,” she said.
Asked by host Jake Tapper if she thinks Trump initially downplaying the crisis has cost American lives, Pelosi said, “Yes, I am. I’m saying that.”
“Because when he made the other day when he was signing the bill, he said just think 20 days ago everything was great. No, everything wasn’t great,” she said. “We had nearly 500 cases and 17 deaths already. And in that 20 days because we weren’t prepared, we now have 2,000 deaths and 100,000 cases.”
Asked about Trump optimistically saying the U.S. could possibly re-open by Easter, Pelosi said, “His delaying of getting equipment to where it — it continues his delay in getting equipment to where it’s needed, is deadly. And now I think the best thing would be to do is to prevent more loss of life rather than open things up, because we just don’t know.”
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said he’s “not against releasing the restrictions as long as the proper measures such as efficient testing are in place.”
“I’m actually for it, in an appropriate place. But I don’t recommend it unless we have the tools in place in real time to do the things I just said,” Fauci said. “If we can do that, we can keep things contained without slipping into the need of having to mitigate the way they are in New York, in New Orleans, and other places now. So it’s doable. But it’s only doable if you put the tools in place.”
On Sunday, Trump announced that the federal guidelines on social distancing would remain in place throughout the entire month of April. “The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks, so I will say it again, the peak, highest point of death rates, remember this, is likely to hit in two weeks,” Trump said in a televised address Sunday. “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won. That would be the greatest loss of all. Therefore, the next two weeks and during this period, it’s very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines … that our great vice president holds up a lot.”
Video: After noting models show death rate will peak in 2 wks, President Trump says: "Therefore, the next 2 wks and during this period, it's very important that everyone strongly follow the [CDC] guidelines…We will be extending our guidelines to April 30th" #coronaviruspandemic pic.twitter.com/p8mM071CAG
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) March 29, 2020