Pelosi on Trump & COVID-19: ‘His Delay Has Caused So Much Harm’

Getty House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic during an appearance on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, where she called Trump a “very dangerous person” and said that his delay was responsible for “so much harm.”

Pelosi was responding to revelations from Bob Woodward’s book, “Rage,” that Trump intentionally played down the virus because he “didn’t want to create a panic,” according to the Washington Post. Mitchell played one of the audiotapes of Trump, which was recorded as early as February 7, where Trump could be heard saying, “It goes through air, Bob, … so that’s a very tricky one, a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly, you know, than your strenuous flus.”

Pelosi also slammed Republicans about their latest bill, which included no money for direct stimulus check payments to Americans.

Pelosi Slams Trump Over Accusations From Bob Woodward That Trump Knew About the Danger of the Virus in January

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell played one of the audiotapes, where Trump could be heard saying in March, “I wanted to always play it down. I like to play it down because I don’t want to create a panic,” to which Pelosi said that she was not surprised Trump denied the danger of the virus early on and called Trump a, “very dangerous person.”

“He understood better than when he led on when he called it a hoax, “his deflection … is responsible for many of those deaths,” she said, “that could have been prevented.”

“He didn’t know how to cope with the challenge to the country,” she said, calling his response a “total disregard” for the impact on American families. “Imagine losing a loved one to the virus that they didn’t even know about seven or eight months ago.”

Pelosi also said she wasn’t buying Trump’s claim that he wanted to avoid a panic.

“And to have the president use that as an excuse?” Pelosi said incredulously. “What he is actually saying is, ‘I don’t want anybody to think that this happened on my watch,'” she said. “His denial, his distortion, his delay has caused so much harm.”

“I feel very sad,” Pelosi said about Republicans in Congress supporting Trump, “with how willing (Trump) is to squander the health and well being, economic security, the food security, the housing security of Americans’ families, and for what?”

Pelosi Says Republicans Should Pass the HEROES Act

“As we go forward, let’s just talk about what we should be doing,” Pelosi told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “We should be passing the HEROES Act, which has in it … a strategic plan to crush the virus. Instead of crushing the virus, the president used his time to crush the Affordable Care Act.”

Pelosi said that the HEROES Act is about testing, treatment, isolation, mask-wearing and sanitation, while the Republican plan offers very little and represents a “poor excuse for governance and a resistance to the science.”

“It does nothing,” she said. “There are millions of kids who are food insecure, he has nothing for that. There are families that are going to be victims of evictions because they can’t pay the rent, they don’t care about that.”

“This isn’t about, ‘we want to negotiate, we want to do a few things and let’s do it.’ No, it’s about the kitchen table needs of the American people. And for those people saying, ‘well, a little bit is better than nothing,’ no it’s not. It’s a missed opportunity to do what’s best for the people.”

Pelosi Has Been Sparring With Republican Negotiators Over Stimulus Package Legislation Since August 7

In May, the Democratically-controlled House — led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — passed a $3 trillion bill called the HEROES Act, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to pass. Later in May, Republicans responded by introducing the HEALS Act, which would cost around $1 trillion.

Pelosi has demanded that Republicans meet in the middle and settle for $2.2 trillion in spending, Forbes reported. “We have said again and again that we are willing to come down [and] meet them in the middle,” Pelosi said. “That would be $2.2 trillion. When they’re ready to do that, we’ll be ready to discuss and negotiate. I did not get that impression on that call.”

Talks between Pelosi and other negotiators — White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — quickly broke down on August 7, just a week after the supplemental unemployment benefits expired. Pelosi has repeatedly said she would not accept a “skinny” stimulus package bill or even bring it to a vote, telling Forbes, “We are not budging,” she said on the size of the bill Democrats want to pass.

After Republicans released their statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Pelosi said that Republicans were to blame for the delay in a joint statement.

In May, while the American people and small businesses were crying out for help in dealing with a pandemic and recession, Sen. McConnell dismissed their needs, saying that Senate Republicans would ‘take a pause’ and ‘wait and see.’ … As they scramble to make up for this historic mistake, Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere.”

When Meadows attempted to pressure Pelosi into an unscheduled meeting with him in August, she refused to see him. Pelosi has also described the Republicans’ proposal as unacceptable, telling the Post, “His list is very deficient.” However, she did say that if Republicans consider adding money for state and local governments, schools, testing, evictions and other issues, negotiations might be restarted.

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