As President Donald Trump continues to refer to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as “the China virus” — despite widespread backlash — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week flipped it around in an attack of her own.
In a Tuesday interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Pelosi reacted to Trump’s latest coronavirus briefing at the White House and argued that, despite his more somber tone earlier in the day, he had exacerbated the pandemic in the U.S.
“If he had said months ago ‘Let’s wear a mask, let’s socially distance’ instead of having rallies and political-whatever-they-were, then more people would have followed his lead as the president of the United States, instead of being a bad example making it like a manhood thing not to wear a mask,” she said.
“A briefing on the coronavirus should be about science and that is something the president has ignored,” Pelosi, 80, added. “So I think a good deal of what we have suffered is clearly the Trump virus.”
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway appeared on Fox News Wednesday and responded to Pelosi’s comments.
Conway said the California congresswoman has “hardly been a profile in courage on this virus.”
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Alex Wong/Getty Images; Mark Wilson/Getty Images From left: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump
“She’s the one encouraging people to go out into Chinatown in San Francisco. She trips over the poor homeless population in her own San Francisco, I guess, to make these silly appearances a couple [of] times a week,” Conway told host Martha MacCallum, referring to something Pelosi did in February, before the coronavirus pandemic was declared.
“I think it’s really disappointing to hear the speaker of the House — the highest-ranking woman in our nation’s government — call this the ‘Trump virus’ and not the ‘China virus,’ ” Conway added, referencing the president’s favored term for the coronavirus, which has been widely condemned as inflammatory and racist.
Health experts also caution against linking illnesses to ethnicity or geography.
“Ethnicity is not what causes the novel coronavirus,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a congressional hearing in February.
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Nancy Pelosi Says Trump Shouldn’t Take Unproven Hydroxychloroquine Because He’s ‘Morbidly Obese’
“I think it’s not a good idea,” said the House speaker about the president’s choice to take the drug before it’s been officially approved to treat coronavirus
Trump has continued to use “the Chinese virus” to refer to the ongoing pandemic, despite widespread backlash and the reluctance of some of his own aides to use similar language.
There have been multiple reported instances of violence against Asians in various countries in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus, underlining the risk of attaching a virus or disease to a particular place or people, experts say.
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