House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a Tuesday interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer that the United States is suffering from the “Trump virus.”
“I think with the president’s comments today, he recognized the mistakes he has made by now embracing mask-wearing and the recognition this is not a hoax, it is a pandemic that has gotten worse before it will get better because of his inaction. And, in fact, clearly, it is the Trump virus,” Pelosi said.
“What do you mean when you say the Trump virus?” Blitzer asked.
“The Trump virus: If he had said months ago, let’s wear masks and let’s not – let’s socially distance instead of rallies and whatever they were, then more people would have followed his lead,” Pelosi replied. “He’s the president of the United States.”
There are a number of falsehoods in Pelosi’s claims.
For starters, Trump never called the coronavirus a hoax. In fact, while Pelosi was distracted by impeachment, the Trump administration was busy addressing the coronavirus outbreak, taking various measures to limit the spread of the virus in the United States, that were quickly politicized by the Democrats once impeachment was over. Trump’s travel ban with China, for example, was described as an overreaction, and Democrats accused him of trying to scare the public. “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia — and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science,” said Joe Biden, who (like many others) has since flip-flopped on the travel ban.
President Trump responded to these allegations during a rally in South Carolina, calling the Democrats’ politicization of the coronavirus “the new hoax.” The media jumped on this line, claiming that Trump called the virus, not the Democrats’ reactions to it, a hoax. The lie spread like wildfire and Joe Biden even used the lie as a talking point on the stump. There was quite a stir when a story from Politico repeating the false claim that Trump called the virus a hoax was flagged by Facebook fact-checkers as fake news, but other fact-checkers couldn’t deny that the claim was false either.
In fact, Nancy Pelosi herself downplayed the coronavirus. On February 24, the same day Trump requested at least $2.5 billion from Congress for combatting the virus, Nancy Pelosi visited San Francisco’s Chinatown section and told Americans that “everything is fine” and “all is well,” and encouraged Americans to shop and eat there. “Come to Chinatown,” she said. “We just want everybody not to be afraid to come to Chinatown.”
She didn’t wear a mask.
On February 24, Nancy Pelosi didn’t want Americans to be afraid of the coronavirus and toured SF’s Chinatown district WITHOUT A MASK and declared “Everything is fine” and “all is well.”pic.twitter.com/HaGHeSb7tG
— Matt Margolis 🇺🇸 (@mattmargolis) July 22, 2020
Pelosi also faulted Trump for wanting to hold rallies but didn’t connect the nationwide BLM protests to the rise in cases, nor did she fault herself for participating in a BLM protest in Washington, D.C., in June. Maybe we should call it “the Pelosi virus” since she downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic from the beginning.
Nancy Pelosi clearly cares more about politicizing the coronavirus than doing what’s right for America. Perhaps this is as much about covering up her original downplaying of the virus as it is about trying to ensure Trump doesn’t win reelection, but whatever her motivation it’s not good for the country. The only beneficiary of rhetoric like this is China, which doesn’t seem to get any blame for its role in the pandemic.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis