Pelosi: Trump and McConnell 'reject science and governance'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered blistering criticism of President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Friday, saying the two Republicans “reject science and reject governance” in the face of the coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed more than 50,000 Americans.

Pelosi delivered her remarks at her weekly news conference in the nation’s capital one day after the House of Representatives passed a $484 billion relief bill to ramp up coronavirus testing and to aid small businesses and hospitals affected by the pandemic. The measure was passed on Tuesday in the Senate, after which McConnell said in an interview that he would be “in favor” of letting states declare bankruptcy rather than receive more federal aid.

“Speaking of Mitch, what’s gotten into him?” Pelosi said Friday. “The president is asking people to inject Lysol into their lungs, and Mitch is saying that states should go bankrupt. It’s a clear, visible [example] within 24 hours of how the Republicans reject science and reject governance. If you don’t believe in science and you don’t believe in governance ... that’s their approach.”

Returning to Trump’s suggestion Thursday that disinfectants and light might be used to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, Pelosi piled on what has been a torrent of criticism of the president.

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing Republicans make comments with zero connection to science and facts. Let’s just put that behind us and let’s go forward in a way that gets the job done for the American people,” Pelosi said before paraphrasing Trump’s off-the-cuff medical opinion the night before. “‘We can kill the virus by injecting disinfectants like Lysol into the body.’ Clearly and sadly, the president is not listening to medical experts, and I don’t know which ones he is listening to, if any. As I said to my colleague a few days ago last week, I said America must ignore the lies and start to listen to scientists and other respected professionals in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

Trump told reporters at the bill-signing ceremony for the relief act that he was speaking “sarcastically” in speculating about using disinfectants to treat COVID-19.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Friday, April 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a news conference on Friday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

During the past week, Trump has — in an effort to counter criticism that he did not take the threat posed by the coronavirus seriously as it first began spreading in the U.S. — lashed out at Pelosi for a Feb. 24 appearance in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

“You know, I put on a ban on China before anybody in this country died. I put on a ban. And so you tell me. Nancy Pelosi was having — she wanted to have a street party in Chinatown in San Francisco at the end of February,” Trump said at a coronavirus task force briefing Monday. “That’s a month later. … Nancy Pelosi is holding a street fair. She wants a street fair in San Francisco, in Chinatown, to prove — you know what the purpose of it was — to prove that there’s no problem.”

While Pelosi did declare that it “very safe to be in Chinatown” on that visit, she never proposed a street fair. The purpose of her visit was to promote Chinese-American businesses that had taken an economic hit in response to news reports about the virus spreading out of China.

Pelosi and McConnell have been at odds over how much federal funding states should receive to counter economic losses from the pandemic.

“We’re going to push the pause button here, because I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated,” McConnell said in an interview Wednesday with radio host Hugh Hewitt.


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