News & Politics

Trump: Schiff's New Partisan Investigation Amid a Pandemic Will Just 'Build Up My Poll Numbers'

President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump condemned House Democrats for starting a “partisan investigation” into his response to the coronavirus, claiming that the investigation will only serve to “build up my poll numbers.” He slammed previous investigations that led to his impeachment, condemning “witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt” that yield no real results but end up with “the people doing the witch hunt… losing.”

“In recent weeks, as the virus has spread and economic hardship has followed, we have seen Americans unite with incredible selflessness and compassion. I want to remind everyone here in our nation’s capital, especially in Congress, that this is not the time for politics,” Trump said at his coronavirus press conference on Thursday.

“Endless partisan investigations — here we go again! — have already done extraordinary damage to our country in recent years,” the president argued. “You see what happens, it’s witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt, and in the end the people doing the witch hunt have been losing, and they’ve been losing by a lot.”

“It’s not any time for witch hunts, it’s time to get this enemy [the coronavirus] defeated,” Trump declared. “Conducting these partisan investigations in the middle of a pandemic is a really big waste of vital resources, time, attention … and we want to fight for American lives, not waste time — and build up my poll numbers because that’s all they’re doing because everyone knows it’s ridiculous.”

Trump’s remarks came after Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and one of the leaders in the impeachment, announced he was working on a bill to launch a “nonpartisan commission” to review Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“After Pearl Harbor and 9/11, we looked at what went wrong to learn from our mistakes. Once we’ve recovered, we need a nonpartisan commission to review our response and how we can better prepare for the next pandemic. I’m working on a bill to do that,” Schiff tweeted.

While America should learn from the coronavirus crisis, it seems rather premature for Schiff to launch into this investigation in the middle of the crisis itself. Given Schiff’s recent partisan history, Trump’s complaint that this call for an investigation is motivated by partisanship makes a great deal of sense.

In fact, sources familiar with the discussions told NBC News that it is unlikely an investigation would gain bipartisan support in Congress or from the White House.

“I don’t know that you would get administration buy-in for something like that,” a senior administration official said. “Then, if the Democrats do one, it’s all one-sided.”

That sounds like a prophecy. As PJ Media’s Rick Moran noted, “Democrats in the House don’t need approval from anyone. They can set up their own little star-chamber investigation and go from there. They will have the power to subpoena witnesses, hold them in contempt if they don’t testify, and will no doubt get wall-to-wall, gavel-to-gavel coverage from the media.”

Yet Trump’s swift action and daily press briefings during the coronavirus crisis have led a majority of Americans to say they approve of his response to the pandemic. While Trump remains a polarizing figure, his leadership during the crisis has led Democrats and left-leaning pundits to give him surprising praise.

The president’s response has not been perfect, of course. He sent mixed messages about the danger of the virus early on — but so did New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Trump took early decisive action that saved lives, however, and it seems a Democrat investigation would likely ignore the positives and focus on the negatives. Furthermore, while Trump and Republicans compromised to push an economic stimulus bill to help Americans amid this crisis, Democrats stalled the bill and tried to stuff it with their own liberal pet projects. Joe Biden, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, cheered on the obstruction.

It’s time for Democrats to ditch Team Anti-Trump and get on Team America to fight this crisis. Voters should remember this partisanship in November.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.